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lightningrod4life

Upgrade to pro or stay at advanced?

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Was curious to get some input before I click the button to "purchase". I currently have the advanced version through S3, yes I know a bit behind on the times but.. I was wondering before I renewed to get me up to date should I consider going to pro? Is there much of a difference between advanced and pro within s4/s5?? Input is appreciated. Thanks!

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Mr. P    303

If you are planning to stay with LOR for the foreseeable future I would say just go for the Pro. Get it over with now and you will have access to PE, enhanced networks and intensity files, all worth it especially if you ever plan on going to pixels.

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k6ccc    500

First of all, a truth in advertising statement.  I upgraded to Pro within something like 45 minutes after it was announced, so maybe I'm biased.

I would agree with Mr. P, bite the bullet and go for Pro.  Even if you don't ever use Pixel Editor, if you have a lot of channels, intensity files will keep things moving smoothly.  I played with PE during the S4 beta and never could make it do anything useful, but I did use intensity files for almost everything in my show in 2015.  I replaced the two old controllers with Gen-3 controllers in the spring sale of 2106.  After that, everything for Christmas and Halloween is running under intensity files.  Most of my year round landscaping sequences are not intensity files only because they are old and were sequenced in Sequence Editor.  One of these days, I will re-do those in SuperStar and then they will be using intensity files as well.

S5 disclaimer.  This the way I understand it once S5 comes out of beta - I could be wrong.  Even though Pixel Editor is integrated into the S5 sequencer, you will not be able to use the Effects Generator functions unless you have the Pro license.

 

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23 hours ago, k6ccc said:

First of all, a truth in advertising statement.  I upgraded to Pro within something like 45 minutes after it was announced, so maybe I'm biased.

I would agree with Mr. P, bite the bullet and go for Pro.  Even if you don't ever use Pixel Editor, if you have a lot of channels, intensity files will keep things moving smoothly.  I played with PE during the S4 beta and never could make it do anything useful, but I did use intensity files for almost everything in my show in 2015.  I replaced the two old controllers with Gen-3 controllers in the spring sale of 2106.  After that, everything for Christmas and Halloween is running under intensity files.  Most of my year round landscaping sequences are not intensity files only because they are old and were sequenced in Sequence Editor.  One of these days, I will re-do those in SuperStar and then they will be using intensity files as well.

S5 disclaimer.  This the way I understand it once S5 comes out of beta - I could be wrong.  Even though Pixel Editor is integrated into the S5 sequencer, you will not be able to use the Effects Generator functions unless you have the Pro license.

 

Can you explain it a bit more or is there a video anywhere that explains the intensity files at all? I have heard/seen about them several times but have yet to fully understand what they are/do. I currently still am using just AC control but am looking to add pixels this year in a couple places. It sounds like due to this, Pro will make pixel sequencing much easier? Also what is the enhanced network options? From what I believe I have read this is simply being able to set faster baud rates for the standard LOR network to communicate at so you can use more channels? Is there more to it than this?

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k6ccc    500
1 hour ago, lightningrod4life said:

Can you explain it a bit more or is there a video anywhere that explains the intensity files at all?

Let me explain intensity files a bit.  First I have to get into some background (some of it a bit technical).  In a conventional LOR sequence, the files .las or .lms are in a human readable format that is VERY wordy for what it needs to do.  LOR software has the option to create a compressed version of that file - a .las.lcs or .lms.lcs that is far smaller, and no longer human readable.  In either case, when the show player is going to play the file, it has to read the entire file into memory, analyze and process the data and then start sending out the commands out one or more USB ports for LOR or DMX networks, or ethernet for E1.31 networks.  Because of the way that DMX operates, there can be a large amount of processing required prior to being able to send out the data to the controllers - I'll get to why later.  Every time that same song plays, the show player has to do all the processing all over again.

In the case of intensity files, that processing is all done once when the intensity file is created, and the only thing that the show player has to do is read the data off of disk and send the commands out the various USB and/or ethernet ports.  The only processing it to route the data to the correct data port.  If you are at all computer programming aware, it is similar to the difference between an interpreted vs compiled language.  Let me give an example.  In 2015, with a modest channel count increase from the previous year and the addition of one REALLY fast paced song, during pre-season testing, my show was not able to keep up during fast parts of the song.  Because of my networking, I did not believe I had a network congestion problem, but one look at the Windows task manager and the problem was obvious.  My old and slow Windows XP show computer simply was maxing out on CPU.  I already had the Pro license, so I simply re-exported that song from SuperStar as an intensity file and played it.  No problems with lag and the CPU was topping out at about 18%.

Why DMX takes more processing?  In a LOR sequencing file, a channel might have a command that is:  At time 1.00 seconds, start at 0% and fade up to 100% over the next 2.3 seconds.  When the show player sends that command out to the controller via a LOR network, it pretty much sends it out the same way.  The controller then processes that command to set the instantaneous light levels.  DMX is really very dumb and all it knows is the level right now.  Every refresh cycle the show player has to calculate the level at that instant and send the level.  The Refresh rate for DMX is about 23 milliseconds.  So for that same fade up command, the show player has to send something like this:  At time 1.00 it sends that channel a level of 0, at 1.023 it sends a level of 2, at 1.046 it sends a level of 5, at 1.069 it sends a level of 7, etc.  There is far more data being sent (a major reason why you can put FAR more channels on a LOR network than a DMX network), and the show player has to calculate all those levels, so it has to work harder.  In my case for Christmas I have almost 5,000 channels of DMX over ethernet - also known as E1.31.

The other big reason for the Pro level license is Pixel Editor (if you want to use that).

 

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1 hour ago, k6ccc said:

Let me explain intensity files a bit.  First I have to get into some background (some of it a bit technical).  In a conventional LOR sequence, the files .las or .lms are in a human readable format that is VERY wordy for what it needs to do.  LOR software has the option to create a compressed version of that file - a .las.lcs or .lms.lcs that is far smaller, and no longer human readable.  In either case, when the show player is going to play the file, it has to read the entire file into memory, analyze and process the data and then start sending out the commands out one or more USB ports for LOR or DMX networks, or ethernet for E1.31 networks.  Because of the way that DMX operates, there can be a large amount of processing required prior to being able to send out the data to the controllers - I'll get to why later.  Every time that same song plays, the show player has to do all the processing all over again.

In the case of intensity files, that processing is all done once when the intensity file is created, and the only thing that the show player has to do is read the data off of disk and send the commands out the various USB and/or ethernet ports.  The only processing it to route the data to the correct data port.  If you are at all computer programming aware, it is similar to the difference between an interpreted vs compiled language.  Let me give an example.  In 2015, with a modest channel count increase from the previous year and the addition of one REALLY fast paced song, during pre-season testing, my show was not able to keep up during fast parts of the song.  Because of my networking, I did not believe I had a network congestion problem, but one look at the Windows task manager and the problem was obvious.  My old and slow Windows XP show computer simply was maxing out on CPU.  I already had the Pro license, so I simply re-exported that song from SuperStar as an intensity file and played it.  No problems with lag and the CPU was topping out at about 18%.

Why DMX takes more processing?  In a LOR sequencing file, a channel might have a command that is:  At time 1.00 seconds, start at 0% and fade up to 100% over the next 2.3 seconds.  When the show player sends that command out to the controller via a LOR network, it pretty much sends it out the same way.  The controller then processes that command to set the instantaneous light levels.  DMX is really very dumb and all it knows is the level right now.  Every refresh cycle the show player has to calculate the level at that instant and send the level.  The Refresh rate for DMX is about 23 milliseconds.  So for that same fade up command, the show player has to send something like this:  At time 1.00 it sends that channel a level of 0, at 1.023 it sends a level of 2, at 1.046 it sends a level of 5, at 1.069 it sends a level of 7, etc.  There is far more data being sent (a major reason why you can put FAR more channels on a LOR network than a DMX network), and the show player has to calculate all those levels, so it has to work harder.  In my case for Christmas I have almost 5,000 channels of DMX over ethernet - also known as E1.31.

The other big reason for the Pro level license is Pixel Editor (if you want to use that).

 

So based off of this explanation it sounds like this would really explain why the sequencer would lag when trying to play a larger sequence. Sounds like this really helps eliminate some major points that LOR struggled with in the past.

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k6ccc    500
3 hours ago, lightningrod4life said:

So based off of this explanation it sounds like this would really explain why the sequencer would lag when trying to play a larger sequence. Sounds like this really helps eliminate some major points that LOR struggled with in the past.

Correct.

 

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Also another question that just came to mind. when I do the upgrade vs. license renewal will that also do the renewal at the same time since I am paying to do so?   What about this question? If I do the $50 upgrade is this also a renewal to get me up to a year renewal with the upgrade or is it strictly an upgrade only?

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k6ccc    500

Correct.  An upgrade also serves as a renewal for no additional cost.

 

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