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Version 5:Who can tell me how to use generic input?


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Version 5:Who can tell me how to use generic input?

Pretty generic question.

How to set one up in the WATCHOUT input window?

How to use one that is already setup?

The format for the command sent from a controller?


Generic input is only available when commanding a Production Computer via Production Computer Protocol

(ref: WATCHOUT 5 User Guide - Appendix D - pg 241)

No Display Cluster Protocol equivalent.


The generic input accepts an unsigned floating point value to WATCHOUT Production via IP command from a controller supplied by others.

So it only accepts a value.


Use a generic Input when you want to control its value using the network

control protocol of the WATCHOUT production computer. The default range of

a generic input is 0 through 1, although you may set the upper limit to any

positive value using the Limit field in the Generic Input’s dialog box.

To control a generic input, use the setInput command (see “setInput” on page



setInput Sets the value of a named input (see “Inputs” on page 187):

setInput "uno" 0.5


The value is generally in the range 0 through 1, but may be extended to cover

a wider range using the Limit setting of the Generic Input (see “Generic Input”

on page 187).

NOTE: While you would typically use this command to set the value of a

Generic Input, you may use it to set the value for any input. If data is also

provided by a MIDI or DMX-512 source, the latest data will take precedence.

I like the ability to override a DMX or MIDI controller input if need be. :thumbsup:


From there you use the name you assigned when you made the input

as a value in the expression string of live tweens or in the task window condition field.

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Hi Jim,


Could you recommended on some simple TCP/iP "Input Device" (sensors) for easily controlling the AUX TLs?

The short answer is - no.


TCP/IP Generic input is not the way to approach that, you have to connect and obtain permission,

most simple sensors are not that smart

and would require an intermediate device (Medialon, Mediamation, Crestron, AMX etc.)

to interpret the input to the IP format and manage the IP connection.


I would think sensors that transmit MIDI notes or MIDI continuous controllers would be the easiest way,

that should be straight plug and play.


Once you know what you want the "sensor" to do,

post on the The Show Control Mailing List,

you should find some good input there.



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This probably verifies Jim's rationale above, i.e. the need for an intermediate device/software.


Following this thread, it gave me the idea that Aux Timelines could be triggered by a Generic Input apart from the Main Timeline, and I tried it today with a Genovation 681 (programmable serial keypad). Alas, the Gen 681 does not work connected to Com 1, and using a mapper to re-map Com 1 to Com 3, and the freeware HWVSP3 to re-direct Com 3 to TCP/Ip port 3040 of the Watchout PC.


However, the same connections and software work when I have the Gen 681 sending generic commands to another software (VenueMagic DMXAV ) which in turn has a Timeline programmed to output the serial commands required by Watchout (eg. setInput V 1$0D or setInput V 0$0D). Needless to say, run, halt and gotoControlCue all work as well.


So now, I am able to program a key on the Gen 681 keypad to output a generic serial command such as playAuxT1 in my case, and send this via Com 1 to VenueMagic DMXAV (I'll call it VM from here on). In VM, I enable its serial input to accept the command playAuxT1 and play a VM Timeline called AuxT1 when such command is received. In this VM Timeline, I have an Event cue to output the serial string setInput V 0[CR][LF], immediately followed by another cue which sets the generic input V to the value 1. This is because the Aux Timeline in Watchout will not start to play unless the generic input is set to 0 value. These serial commands from VM are sent out on Com 3 re-directed to TCP/Ip port 3040 on the Watchout PC. Com1 is also mapped to Com 3 with another software re-director. (All these tests can be done on the one laptop using the free Windows Loopback Connection, ie. no need to connect to another PC)


Additionally, in VM I assign the Timeline AuxT1 to a virtual button provided by VM, and also assign this button to be triggered by an external source such as my keyboard's letter A. So now, I have the option of triggering Watchout's Aux Timeline(s) from 5 possible sources - the Genovation 681 keypad, a virtual button in VenueMagic, my keyboard's keys, click and drag of the generic input in Watchout's Input Window, or clicking the green play arrow icon in the Task window.


Obviously, in Watchout, I have to create a generic input (called V in my tests), assign it to Opacity, and whatever else I want, and life's sweet! Without the intermediate, remote would not work.

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A correction to my post above. Since then I have been able to get my Genovation 681 programmable keypad to send commands direct to the Watchout Prodn PC without going through another application like VenueMagic, though that is also a workable option (in order to send other commands like MIDI to a Pearl 2000 Lighting Controller, and serials to a Matrix switcher like the Kramer VP-88ETH - both of which I have done successfully, via VenueMagic).


My earlier mistake, I think, was using a serial mapper. I've since successfully used the TCPclient setup in Virtual Serial Ports Emulator from Etherlogic.com directing the Gen681 Com 5 to TCP port 3040 of Watchout. VSPE 32-bit is free, 64-bit is payware, though it is working on my 64-bit Win 7 install at the moment without paying...probably will ask me to pay after a number of starts or lapse of days.


So basically now, I've got -

Gen 681 -> virtual Com 5 USB-Serial cable -> re-directed by Etherlogic VSPE TCPclient option -> TCP/IP port 3040 -> Watchout Prodn PC


I could not use the other freeware HWVSP3 from HW-group.com because it creates a virtual Com port that conflicts with that of my USB-Serial cable. I could use it to create, say, Com 3 that does not conflict with my Com 5, but would need to re-direct any signals from Com 5 to Com 3 in order to reach TCP port 3040. A roundabout way, which I did once, but cannot seem to repeat it. So a direct route with a Com to TCP client re-director that does not create a conflicting Com port, but merely uses an existing Com port, seems to be a more efficient solution.


With this, I can program the Gen 681 keys to run, halt, etc...as well as trigger Aux Timelines with the setInput command (and reset to value 0 with another key)..

Wish I had a sensor to try.


BTW, one can use a freeware virtual programmable Serial Buttons from http://www.audiovisualdevices.com.au/software/serialbuttons/index.php instead of the Genovation 681 keypad. In such case, you do not need the Etherlogic VSPE to re-direct Com 5 -> Com 3. Just HWVSP3 to create the virtual Com port that Serial Buttons will use, and HWVP3 will direct com signals to the tCP/IP port 3040 that Watchout will listen on. With Serial Buttons, just have to watch one's syntax especially when mixing ASCII and Hex codes in the same command line.


[em][strong](edited for errors in procedure many hours after initial posting)[/strong][/em]

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  • 2 years later...

ThomasL Can you give some more info on how you configured the VSPE.


Im trying but I cant route the serial data to the TCPserver.


Been using a serial monitor, so I can see that the serial buttons are sending data.

Been using a UDP tester, so I know watchout is receiving commands.


On VSPE I first create a new comport, after create a TCP client, and assign the virtual comport to the IP and port from watchout production (ex.  3040)


But.... not working,


I get a double serial message on the serial monitor when using tcp client on VSPE.


Any help appreciated


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Hello Alex,


Need a bit more info from you first -

1. Is your serial source external to the Watchout Prodn PC, or is the serial source installed on the same pc as Watchout Prodn PC?

2. You mentioned 'serial buttons'. Is this the same 'serial buttons' software I mentioned in my posts - from audiovisualdevices.com.au?




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Hi Thomas,


Thanks for the support.

Ive decided to leave the serial buttons from audiovisualdevices.com, and start my own project.

This way I got no "middle man" software, converting protocols. 

Im using visual basic to send UDP generic inputs and production protocol.  


Going good so far.

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