Live@Work - 23_CW51 - Wedding in the fifth try with DMXC 3.2.3

A little bit about the background

For several years we have been providing music and lighting in the beer garden of the Knodschen Haus in Aurich / East Frisia on the market square during the town festival. They were always exhausting days because of the set-up and dismantling. But it was always a lot of fun with the guests. We already had a small fan base there. Some from the region kept coming back to us. A few also came especially for the city festival to dance in our beer garden.

The wooden box with the monitor on it was our lighting control system for some time before the usage of DMXControl. It was a PC with plug-in cards for DMX out, analog in for the faders and a digital I/O interface for the button and LED displays. I had written the program myself using Turbo Pascal. The whole thing is on the 48-channel dimmer rack.

A beautiful event under adverse circumstances

One of these guests was getting married. As he had enjoyed our performances at the town festival so much, he wanted us to provide the music and lighting here too. This was originally planned for May 2019. For family reasons, this date was unfortunately canceled and, as life goes, a new date could not be realized due to the Corona pandemic in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, one date was canceled because the selected location was closed, and another date was canceled because an important guest could not come.

Final date and location have been found

Then a new date in a new location in 2023. The special thing about this location for us is that the owner has invested in lighting and sound equipment. Just to give you an idea: the mixing console on site is an X32 rack with a Stagebox S16 from Behringer, amplifiers from Dynacord and speakers from Electro Voice.

A truss system is installed on the ceiling for the lighting technology. I will describe the individual devices here later. Just at this point - a Eurolite DMX Move Control 512 is normally used here to control the lighting system. Being spoiled by DMXControl 3.2.3, I naturally didn't want to use it. Overall, I was under a bit of pressure. On the one hand, I had to create the special wedding project and, at the same time, prepare and implement everything for a village festival where we would be playing music and lighting on two evenings. The project and the technology were in place for the village festival, so we took a fairly relaxed approach. But there was still some time missing for the wedding project.

Let's see what's possible

The bride had seen videos of the lighting system we usually use on tour and wanted to have something similar at her wedding. There was already a lot of lighting technology installed on the ceiling. Now the anxious question: Do I get enough information to control the whole thing? When I asked the owner, I was sent an Excel spreadsheet by e-mail. They had really gone to a lot of effort to list the devices, how many channels they use, the selected channel mode, how many devices and which start address the devices are set to. That's quite a lot of information. Almost more than I would have expected.

First to the DDFs

Two Stairville Octagon Theater 20x6W CW/WW/A are installed for the white light. I only found a DDF in 5-channel mode for a similar fixture online, but I needed the 4-channel DDF, so I quickly wrote the DDF myself. How to integrate warm white, cold white and amber here was not entirely clear to me at first. I was able to clarify this with the help of the forum and the Wiki. This is entered in the DDF under RGB. Everything else can be found in the Wiki article at https://wiki-de.dmxcontrol-pro…e=Color_(DDFSyntax)_DMXC3 (currently only available in German).

I prepared the DDF with DDFCreator 3 and then finalized it with Notepad++. I couldn't find any online for the two Stairville Mini Stage Par CW/WW/A, so I created the DDF for the 5-channel mode myself in the same way.

Also installed for colored light are

  • 5 Fun Generation SePar Quad LED RGBW IR
  • 5 Fun Generation LED Pot 12x1W QCL RGB WW 40°
  • 3 Fun Generation SePar Quad LED RGB UV IR

These were all operated in 8-channel mode, but had different functions, so a DDF was converted for each type of spotlight.

There are also a few moving heads. I found a suitable DDF in 15-channel mode online for the two Varytec Hero Wash 712 Z WH RGBW Zoom. The Varytec Hero Spot Wash 140 2in1 RGBW+W is a hybrid moving head. On the one hand a spot with color wheel and gobos, on the other hand a wash with RGBW color mixing. Someone had already taken the effort to create a DDF for each of the two functions. Unfortunately, these were only for the 23-channel mode. However, the whole thing was needed in 16-channel mode. So, we reworked the DDFs we found.

To complete the set, we wanted to use two fog machines from our stock. These are two small Eurolite NH-30 MK2s. We already had this DDF in our custom DDFs. We only had to change the DMX addresses on our devices, as the addresses we normally use were already occupied in the set.

Now it's time for the project

Once I had collected all the DDFs, I was able to start the project. I added the spotlights and moving heads to the stage view and adjusted everything. I also created effects for the devices for testing purposes.

Another test in the location

Logically, I didn't have the lighting system to control at home, so now came the exciting moment: would the DDFs and effects work? So, I made an appointment with the manager so that I could try them out on the lighting system. To my surprise, this was no problem. I was allowed to connect to the system with my PC and interface and was able to try it out extensively for two hours on a Saturday afternoon. Fortunately, the DDFs for the moving heads have worked great before. No problem with the DDFs for the spotlights for the colored light either. The problem with the one DDF for the white light spotlights was that when I wanted to activate cold white, I always got amber. After a bit of trial and error, I discovered that there was still a fault in the DDF. However, I was able to rectify this on site. Once all the DDFs were working, I tried out a few more effects and was able to see how the system reacted. I made a note of the zoom values for the moving heads and the appropriate focus values for the gobo wheels.

The project gets bigger

The next hurdle was overcome, and I was able to program more effects at home and start working on the input assignment. The cuelist groups could also be created and so on. The project had already grown a bit, but it wasn't finished yet.

Recreation and yet it goes on

In the week before the wedding, we took the train to Bremen to relax - thanks to the €49 ticket. It was a bit of an ordeal, a suitcase, a small rucksack, a bag for my SLR camera with accessories and, as a bonus, the bag for my laptop. I wanted to continue working on the project. It was only about a two-hour drive from us, and the hotel was opposite the train station. I then spent two evenings working on the project. One evening I worked on programming the fog machines. This included effects for duration and timer as well as fog flash. I can control the fog intensity with a slider via a parameter master. I implemented the timer using a trapezoid effect and two speed masters. Format nodes and labels in the softdesk were used to display the intensity, fog duration and interval times. With the entry for Phase 0 > 180, only one machine fogs at a time.

I have also created two layouts. One for programming and one called Show on which, for a better overview, only two elements are visible. The stage view on the left and the softdesk on the right.

On the second programming evening, I then took care of a few more effects. I built a few more chaser effects for the RGB devices. I also created a few color lists for the color chasers. I also created some color and gobo effects etc. for the moving heads. It already looked good and worked well.

Final preparations

On Friday, after the eventful stay in Bremen, it was time for the return journey. Now the project still had to go onto the "working PC". As our large lighting control PC could not be used here for reasons of space and transportation, I used a smaller solution. This had already been used with a scaled-down version of our "big project" at a wedding in Edewecht.

The light PC

The PC is an older Dell Optiplex 5040 with Windows 10. I bought a Cherry keyboard with touchpad for the keyboard and mouse. I use a 19.5" ASUS touch monitor. I built a stand for the monitor. This consists of a piece of wooden plate with rubber feet. The monitor holder is screwed onto this, bent from an old speaker bracket and a perforated plate connected with rivets. The base plate of the home-made stand happened to fit the PC exactly. The whole thing can therefore be set up very compactly. In retrospect, the whole thing looks a bit like a cash register PC.

Now transfer the project to the PC and set up the interface. Because the monitor has the same resolution (1600x900) as my laptop, I didn't need to make any further adjustments to the display. A little more testing and the preparations are complete. As the monitor has a 10-point multi-touch function, several buttons on the softdesk could be pressed simultaneously. A great function.

The day of the party

On Saturday, I went to the location early enough to have a little time to test the project. So far, everything worked as planned. Shortly before the couple's dance of honor, I noticed that I had programmed a lot of colored light for the moving heads. Somehow, I had forgotten about effects with white. So, I briefly switched to the programming layout and made the appropriate settings, saved the effects and linked them in the input assignment. Then I switched back to the show layout and could continue.

Briefly about the project

I created different effects for each spotlight group (white and RGB+) so that I could combine them flexibly. For the moving heads, I divided them into movements, colors, and gobos. Separate effects have been created for each area so that they can also be flexibly combined here. The buttons for the switch modules can be switched independently of each other.

There are four buttons and three sliders for fog. The buttons can be used to switch off the fog effects and activate the timer function, whereby the machines then run alternately in a time-controlled manner. The "Fog duration" buttons activate an effect for both machines, where they fog with a set intensity. When the "Flash fog" button is pressed and held, both machines run at 100%. The blue slider determines the intensity of the timer and continuous fog effects. The red slider is used to set the duration of the fog output and the green slider is used to set the interval time, i.e. the pause between two secondary bursts.

A well-rounded affair

The whole project worked really well. If we perform at the location again, the project will be expanded a little. The groundwork has already been done. DMXControl 3.2.3 ran without any problems. All in all, it was a great party. Once again it was great fun. The staff at the venue said that they had never seen anything like what we got out of the lighting system. The bride and groom and the guests were thrilled throughout.

Your Steff