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Tracks vs one large channel grid

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I have 80 channels this year. Can someone please give me the pros and cons of using 5 tracks cvompared to one large channel grid? In other words what are the tracks mostly used for?

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I recommend even if you have 20 tracks that your first track have all your channels in it.

I have over 400 channels in my # 1 track. I almost never do any programming in my first track.

The tracks I use are.

All White right to left, All Red right to left, All Green right to left, All Blue right to left, All White front to back, All Red front to back, All Green front to back, All Blue front to back, Mega Tree, Mini Trees, Z trees, Fire Fli, CCR.

In the "Right to Left" tracks I have all my channels listed in the order of the way the items (channels) are in my display. Makes side to side color changes easier to program. The "front to back" tracks all the channels are listed starting with the top of the house going in order to the item (channels) that are closest to the viewers. Makes the front to back color changes easier to program.

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Ditto Paul. One track with every channel and no timings.
Instead of by color I do mine by element. Mini trees, mega, each CCR gets its own track. And I also duplicate the CCR macro channels in their own tracks.

So I do my programming by element. I decide which light set will be the dominant feature, program that one track to the end of the song. Then the other tracks/elements compliment it. Often the compliment tracks have different timings with a multiple or fraction of the beats.

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So I have to say, I'm still, for lack of a better term, somewhat "befuddled" by the concept of tracks.

Am I correct to assume tracks are more of an element management tool than anything else?

I don't see where tracks change the way a sequence will function, but rather, it is a method of grouping elements of the display in a more intuitive manner. Is that correct? If I create a sequence with 3 tracks, when I start that sequence, all 3 tracks play, right?

As I look thru the help documents (section 4.1.8 in the latest 2.8.8 help), one thing that has me wondering a bit is the example..I see the timing differences, but what is the relation of the two tracks? Is it the same point in the sequence just with different timing intervals? Why would I do what the example shows? Would it be because I may have more elements added to track 2, and what to be able to reference the activity of the two elements shown as I define what I want other elements to do?

I'll freely admit I am still truly a newbie with the software, and worst yet, spending more time with the hardware side..but I'm at that point with tracks where I think I understand the concept, but not sure I know when to apply it.

Any other threads or docs that anyone can point me to on this topic is appreciated..

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DonFL wrote:

So I have to say, I'm still, for lack of a better term, somewhat "befuddled" by the concept of tracks.

Am I correct to assume tracks are more of an element management tool than anything else?

At this point in time - with the advent of interchangeable timing grids - the answer is YES, they're more a management tool than anything else. A track is a place where you keep your channels. Every sequence has at least one. If you want to subdivide your channels into groups rather, than keeping them all in one long list, that's what multiple tracks are for.

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Thanks for the link (not done reading it all..), and the insight.

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I am by no means an expert. Still so many short cuts still to learn, and best practices to implement. But I do use 8 tracks at this time. As you ask, yes I use tracks to group my elements. And not all elements in a track need to be on the same controller. Also I have two tracks to group items that are on the same controller. Best way to say it is that it makes it more logical to group certain elements, makes it easier to find a certain element or group of elements. Also lets say I am programming something in track 2 and track 6. I can hide all tracks between so I can hopefully see the channels in both tracks while I turn on and off different channels. Once I am done with that, I can un-hide those tracks. IF all was on one track, I would be spending a lot of time scrolling up and down to see the channels / elements.

My biggest mistake is that I did not make all of my tracks the same at first. Different times on the same track between different shows. This messes up my ability to make a change in one show and then when I export channel info and import it into a different show. Well things got crazy. So, if you add an element to a track in one show. Right away export it and import it to all other shows to keep thing uniform from show to show.

Hope this was of help.

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I have 7 tracks for my 512 channels, and they are divided by my elements: (Mega Tree - 40 Channels, Weber Tree - 96 Channels, Mini Trees - 40 channels, Mega Arches - 45 Channels, Mini Arches - 40 Channels, Streamers - 216 Channels and Misc - Snowflakes, Eaves, Deck, Railing, Strobes).

But I like Pauls's idea of adding a few tracks by color...that would REALLY help speed things up (for me anyway) as I like doing a lot of sequencing by color!!

And totally agree with Max-Pauls' statement:

So, if you add an element to a track in one show. Right away export it and import it to all other shows to keep thing uniform from show to show.

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George Simmons wrote:

the answer is YES, they're more a management tool than anything else.

The one exception is animation sequences. In this case, each track can have different loops, which can result in different parts of different tracks playing at the same time.

It is strongly recommended to not have the same channel in different tracks with loops.

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Steven wrote:

George Simmons wrote:
the answer is YES, they're more a management tool than anything else.

The one exception is animation sequences. In this case, each track can have different loops, which can result in different parts of different tracks playing at the same time.

My bad - I don't use any animation sequences and know next-to-nothing about them.

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Steven is very much right about being careful when using tracks and loops in an animation sequence. They are an organization tool for your sequences in which a channel can be used in more than one place depending on how you set up the tracks. The thing to make sure is that you use the right click and COPY to a track option when moving them around. You can't just add a channel and assign it to the same controller and channel within a new track, without risking creating conflicting commands to the hardware. It also won't know that the channel assignments are the same when it comes to the animation screen.

One of the best things you can use tracks for is arches, because you can set your start and stop times across a leap and use the chase feature to fill it in nicely

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I go along with Max_Paul. Once I finally decided that 64 was the total channels this year I grouped elements into tracks. Since I have several singing characters I have them on their own track and use the tapper wizard to just set the vocal and then I use the wizard for the music in the other tracks. It takes me a little extra time but so far it has worked. I sequence one track at a time and look at it and then decide how I want the other tracks to be done. Sometimes on a slow song they are just fades. On an up beat song I try to put a pretty good mix of things in the sequence. I hope it all turns out good since this is my first year.

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Terry Hurrle wrote:

I hope it all turns out good since this is my first year.

I'd say that there is an excellent chance that it will. You've already invested more time and effort into your holiday display than 99% of everyone out there ever will. As long as you nail the beats, people will love it. Be sure to take videos.

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Max-Paul wrote:

I am by no means an expert. Still so many short cuts still to learn, and best practices to implement. But I do use 8 tracks at this time.
I still have some 8 tracks , but no player.
:dude:

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I found a old 8 track tape player at my mother-in-law's house, but had no tapes, so i trashed it.

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Terry Hurrle wrote:


Max-Paul uh I think you are on the wrong "track"

Uh Terry, I think you are mistaken as to whom is on the wrong track. See last post 1st page, I think this is whom you might be wanting to talk to.

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I still sit on 1 track with 192. I should try the tracks. I use a 24' screen so it fits about 60 channels on the screen at once. I do have to redo all the songs to add the mega tree and light sticks. So maybe I will try it.

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friskybri wrote:

I still sit on 1 track with 192. I should try the tracks. I use a 24' screen so it fits about 60 channels on the screen at once. I do have to redo all the songs to add the mega tree and light sticks. So maybe I will try it.

I need to get one of these 24 foot screens, I could fit hundreds of channels on that

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You know, with my eyes slowly going bad. I bet a 24 ft screen would be great. :D

friskybri,
how much did that screen set you back? Bet you have one of those houses with the family room on the 1st floor but it goes all of the way up to the 2nd floor and a cathedral ceilings to boot.

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I was wondering why everyone was going crazy. I have really good eyes but i get it on a 24 inch screen. SORRY guys. MY sister has one of the living rooms that the ceilings are 20'+ tall. I would have to try that on her house. I have been begging my sister to let me do the light show on her house its like Holdmans house. I said you buy it all and let me design it and make the sequences.

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