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Show Control (Production Computer) halt or run on `gotoControlCue`

Daniel B Chapman

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I'm new to Watchout and --perhaps-- this is more of a feature request than a questions, but

I'm trying to construct a router between ETC Eos consoles and Watchout so that my lighitng operators can run the media server. (I'm used to a bit more cue-centric/theatrical style of creating shows and we often have to move back in time during technical rehearsals.) What I'd like to see is when I send `gotoControlCue ${id}` the timeline respects the control cue's action. Right now if I send "gotoControlCue 3" to my timeline while it is running the pause action is ignored:


Additionally, if I want to execute cue I need to send two commands `gotoControlCue ${id}` and `run`. Additionally I would expected a paused timeline to start when going to a control cue that plays:


Because I do not have a way to query the state of the media server from the lighting console I don't have a great way to handle this choice. Any ideas for how to construct a time line without building a separate control timeline would be appreciated. 

Perhaps I'm asking for another command such as `executeControlCue ${id} <...options>` to be available. My shows typically have between 100-200 control cues so being able to operate in a linear fashion is really important (and part of the reason I've chosen Watchout for my next set of servers). I'm sure I can "make it work" but I would really prefer a more elegant solution such as "executeCue 6" and having it play/pause/trigger based on what the control cue is.

-Daniel B. Chapman

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Thanks for the thoughts, I do think that would work. I went the other route and just built a router. Hopefully this helps someone else out. I really need a more fine-grained show control over the network for my operators. They're used to being able to move back and forth as called by a stage manager so I need something a bit more nuanced. I really think the idea of a "executeCue" command in the console would solve this issue, but I've broken it into OSC commands on ETC EOS with `/watchout/${do}/${target}`.




A show control platform/router that converts OSC messages to telnet console commands for Dataton Watchout


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What you built already exists. The ETC Eos has the ability to output MIDI Show Control (MSC). WATCHOUT supports synchronising to MSC. You can designate any control cue with a cue number that matches a cue number in the EOS. Anytime the EOS executes a cue, WATCHOUT will jump to the control cue with the matching number and run. In normal show the cues would be in sequence so it is resting on the matching cue number, response is immediate. During rehearsal when you jump around, the timeline will stay in synch with the EOS, but when you jump there will be a brief period while the mew media is loaded. No different than discrete goto and run, maybe a bit quicker.

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I’ll have to mess around with MSC, but I specifically need a  TCP/IP solution. Most of us are using OSC for control at this point. I’m sure there’s an IP midi solution that’s reliable (I’m open to a recommendation), but in my experience the topology was UDP and dropped packets. I don’t have the luxury of locating my operators next to the console all the time so I didn't really consider MIDI an option.

Again, just because it exists in one control protocol doesn't mean it wouldn't be nice to see it opened up to the telnet control protocol. Realistically I need the synchronization because I don't have control over my operators in a lot of houses and I'm just looking to increase precision. I was just surprised to find out Watchout was so simplistic for show control. I'm migrating off QLab server which had a plethora of control options so I'm expecting quite a few bumps in my workflow, but TCP/IP show control is a must-have in my toolkit.


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41 minutes ago, Daniel B Chapman said:

.... I don’t have the luxury of locating my operators next to the console all the time so I didn't really consider MIDI an option. ...

i am probably misinterpreting what you mean by that. MIDI is essentially RS-422 (a balanced line) at a reasonable data rate and you can run it quite a long distance without issue. Longer than a twisted pair ethernet hop for sure. WATCHOUT is commonly used in theatre today (well, before the pandemic) without an operator and without the production computer, triggered from the lighting console via MSC.

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No, you didn't misinterpret that, what I mean by it is I don't often have the ability to run infrastructure in regional theatres so running a midi cable to my media server isn't usually an option (it depends on the theatre). In most situations I can tap the lighting network at the tech table, FOH, or wirelessly in a pinch and use it for show control. OSC is robust over TCP connections so it is just a very flexible protocol. I also run a lot of real-time graphics that take show control triggers over OSC (Unreal, some other custom stuff I run) etc... so getting this working and robust is a priority for me. 

I appreciate the information, I'm reworking most of my workflow to accommodate Watchout and multiple forms of simple show control is one of my top priorities. 

EDITED: After MSC Test

JFK--thanks for pointing me to the MSC options, it does seem to jump commands without much effort. I'm definitely looking for a finer grain of control that just "go to control cue and play" (it is nice that it will pause on a back button command). I really appreciate the quick responses to my questions, it looks like I might just need to mix and match show control techniques here for the edge cases.

Edited by Daniel B Chapman
Post MSC Test
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  • 7 months later...

Are you trying to use MIDI Show Control to run the main timemine (ignore cuelist value) or aux tumelines (map cuelist value)? You can not do both with ETC. The setting of the MIDI Show Control “MSC Cue Lists:” popup is critical to how cue lists are mapped.

I also seem to recall an offset in a value when using an EOS, but it has been so many years i can not remember which one.

I also ran across ETC consoles where the user interface provided MIDI settings, but the internal MIDI module was not installed, but again in excess of 5 years ago.

Also, WATCHOUT performs a string comparison for cue values, not a numeric comparison. This is done to support cue vales like 2.6.1, which some consoles permit, and there is no numeric value for a number with two decimal points / dots. So if the console transmits cue number 3 as 3.0, you must enter the control cue name as 3.0 to string match. (Can’t remember which console does it that way. Flying Pig comes to mind though.)

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