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WATCHOUT 5.1 - MIDI Show Control and DMX inputs in cluster mode, show report


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Announcement: WATCHOUT 5.1 now available




Control of Inputs (DMX, MIDI and Generic) is now managed by the display software when production computer isn’t online.

MIDI Show Control is now handled by the display software when production computer isn’t online.



Had a chance to use these two new enhancements under fire last week

in Show Sage's WATCHOUT trade show exhibit at LDI.

BTW LDI awarded WATCHOUT 5.1 best new product release - Projection category.


During the show, we ran a single screen / single Win 7, WATCHOUT 5.1 display computer -

no production computer (cluster mode).

We could have just as easily played back six output channels from one computer / one WATCHOUT License,

with the same independent control of the outputs, in groups or standlaone.

Or controlled a group of WATCHOUT Display computers in the same manner,

still with a single point conneciton to the controller.


A simple command file (ref: WATCHOUT 5 User guide, pg 247-249, File-based Control)

was used to automatically load the show on power up of the display computer.


From there, all actions were triggered via an external controller.


A Highend Systems Road Hog Full Boar lighting console was used as the controller.


The Road Hog Full Boar was programmed with three cue lists.

MIDI Show Control was used to trigger three independent auxiliary timelines using the list parameter

and “Map to Auxiliary Timelines” setting.

i.e. each independent cue list in the Hog Full Boar was

locked to its own independent auxiliary timeline in WATCHOUT.

There is no limit on auxiliary timelines, three were adequate to demonstrate the function.


Connection was via a simple MIDI cable from the lighting console's MIDI jack

to a MOTU FastLane MIDI–USB interface on the display computer.


During programming / testing / rehearsal, the MIDI interface was connected to the production computer.

MIDI Show Control was enabled and the device ID entered in the WATCHOUT Production's Preferences - Control Tab.

This setting enables the same function on the display when it is run in cluster mode via the startup command file.

No specific command is needed in the command file to enable MSC, enabling it in production’s preferences is all that is needed.


For playback, the MIDI-USB interface was moved to the display computer and the production computer removed.

Once production is complete and removed, operation was - turn it on, wait to the show loads,

and control all function from the lighting console. Posted Image

The show is locked down without a production station and

can not be changed during performance - solid, repeatable, reliable.

Show elements we had designated as live control during production,

retain interactive control from the lighting console in standalone playback (cluster mode).


This really worked great - from the lighting console - we jumped cues, backed up cues,

and triggered cues randomly from the available lighting console cue lists.

WATCHOUT was quick to respond and tracked flawlessly. Posted Image


We also connected the Full Boar console's ethernet/ArtNet output to the WATCHOUT network

to provide an ArtNet (DMX) connection.

The DMX universe was entered into Production’s Preferences Control Tab to enable this signal.

We used faders on the console and WATCHOUT’s DMX input function with tween formulas

to live control aspects of graphic objects called up from two of the auxiliary timelines.

As with MSC, the ArtNet production setting is saved to the display and

no additional commands are needed to enable it when functioning in standalone playback (cluster mode).

i.e. the setting is stored to the display with the show.

The ArtNet / DMX input for live control also worked solid as a rock too. :D


Great work Dataton!

And a public ‘thank you’ for adding this enhancment.


Jim Kellner

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  • 1 year later...



Can anyone advise me on the following 

Setting on both the Watchout 5 & GMA2 fullsize 

2 x GMA2 fullsize 

1 x Watchout 5 Master 

30 x Watchout 5 slave 


The GMA2 will be using MSC to control Watchout System and DMX to control Moving Lighting Fixtures of 300pcs



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