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Feature Requests: Tim's Top 10


Tim Fischer
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Is there a way to "play along" and basically record "lights on" from the keyboard while watching an existing sequence? The most primative implementation of this would be to select a channel, and then go into some kind of "play along" mode where every time you want a certain light to go on, you could press the spacebar ... and than it stays on till you depress it. I see that as a fun way to add fluff in a sort of adhoc way. Does this (or similar) capability already exist in LOR II ?

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  • Tim Fischer

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taybrynn wrote:

Is there a way to "play along" and basically record "lights on" from the keyboard while watching an existing sequence? The most primative implementation of this would be to select a channel, and then go into some kind of "play along" mode where every time you want a certain light to go on, you could press the spacebar ... and than it stays on till you depress it. I see that as a fun way to add fluff in a sort of adhoc way. Does this (or similar) capability already exist in LOR II ?


You can do exactly that with the tapper wizard, using "toggle a channel..."

-Tim
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LightsByGreg

Another request: When you hit the theoretical "pause" button the lights do not turn off, they stay in the same spot they were when you hit the button until you hit play again

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MattCole wrote:

Push Eject wrote:
A “play from current selection” which goes to end of sequence.
This specific request could be handled like this:
- do away with the "Play range" menu item
- playback should always happen from your current spot in the time line
- we already have the "home" key to take us to the top of the sequence for playing from start
- use the space bar to start and stop playback
- if a range is selected playback should start at its beginning and stop at its end

So click somewhere in the time line and hit the space bar to start playing from there and hit the space bar again to stop.

Coming from a video editing background, I agree completly. The back and forth to the play selection/screen/whole sequence is driving me batty (not that I'm not already there).

Coming from a MIDI sequencing background, I too agree. Going crazy with the back and forth thing here too.
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I likes Tim's list and also like the Freeze idea a lot. The potential to trash things is always there ... and yes, there is undo ... but the Freeze idea is a good one.

I also find myself wanting more usability options in the animator window, especially when the grid is very large and the cells are so small. I know its not a full fledged paint program and shouldn't be ... but my wish list of animation tools I would like are:

(1) Add a line tool, instead of just having the pencil only.
(2) A line tool draw between two points, but can have the following options:

(2a) leave every (n) cells removed, or every (n) cells filled

(2b) multi-color drawing options (animator only) when using line tool, can define the multi color sequence, similar to how christmas lights planner does it.

(2c) optionally, the ability to make a channel have different colored lines in it, so that a channel with half red and half green could actually be drawn that way.

(3) A zoom capability for drawing up close to get it right a lot easier

(4) It would be nice if you could have a "show" mode, where it would simply show you what was drawn for .

(5) Provide a toggle to only show the unmapped items in the drop down list, unless you toggle the "show all channels" checkbox or something. This would make adding things a lot easier and avoid using things already drawn onto the grid.

I suspect maybe none of this will happen if the long term goal is to control a 3rd party christmas light program instead -- but I think these simple enhancements would make the animator window much better. I'm talking LOR II/S2 here.

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taybrynn wrote:

... none of this will happen if the long term goal is to control a 3rd party christmas light program instead

I, for one, certainly hope that is not the case. I like the stripped-down nature of the lor suite.

Charlie
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Push Eject wrote:

taybrynn wrote:
... none of this will happen if the long term goal is to control a 3rd party christmas light program instead

I, for one, certainly hope that is not the case. I like the stripped-down nature of the lor suite.


I agree. I've played with Holiday Lights Designer and it's a pretty frustrating piece of software.

I, like tay, would just like the animator in LOR to be just a little more robust in it's features.
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Push Eject wrote:

taybrynn wrote:
... none of this will happen if the long term goal is to control a 3rd party christmas light program instead

I, for one, certainly hope that is not the case. I like the stripped-down nature of the lor suite.

Charlie


I agree 100% -- it need not be fancy, just more functional.
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Well the deal for us is that there's no way I can take a single picture and have it show all, or even most, of items we animate via LOR. We decorate along a 200' frontage and to some degree along a second 200' frontage (we live on a corner, although a tree-lined pond blocks most of the view from the second road).

While I love having a large canvas to decorate, it does get frustrating that I can't take a single picture to "show off" the display, and it makes video very difficult. Most of you can park a video camera across the street and essentially capture your entire display (think Carson). This year I videoed 3 of our songs from 3 fixed angles, and still didn't capture all of the display, and I still need to do some tricky "multi-camera" editing to piece it all together...

Anyway, what I'm saying in a rambling way is this makes having a picture of the display in the animator pretty much impossible to me. So I stick with the "abstract" method I've used since 2003: blobs for everything, not necessarily in any relationship to how the display is acually laid out (My animation window stems from my original 2003 40-channel display, so the vast majority of the screen is a huge representation of our Mega-Tree, which was 32 of our 40 channels back then... since then we've bumped up to 144 channels but the mega-tree still dominates the animation window by far ;) )

-Tim

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Tim,

Your point is well taken.

I think the only hope for someone (like you) with such a huge display is to someday have a multi-window animator, where you could break the animation into as many individual windows (just like the current one) as you like. Then you would pull up a roadside window(1) or a front house (east), or a front house (west), or a mega-tree only window ... and just view it like that. In a perfect world, you could shrink these down a display a quad of 4 at the same time or something.

But I think for a lot of us, yeah, we can almost make it realistic in LOR II, but we need better tools than just a pencil ... allthough it works and is significantly better, IMHO than LOR I !!

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LightORamaDan

In addition to putting suggestions/feature requests here in the forum, I suggest that you also email them to wishlist@lightorama.com .... The reason is to use the wishlist@lightorama.com email is simple. I may see a suggestion here AND in my mind it isn't all that important or not necessarly a good idea. HOWEVER if I see the same suggestion listed 10 times in the wish list then I know that this is more important and should be reconsidered!

Dan

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I like the idea of using a track for the beat wizard.. HOWEVER, my problem is I can't get two tracks on the screen.. It works with 2 channels per track, but with several hunrded channels, it jumps from track to track... I'd posted earlier that I wish the window could break into two sections, each scrollable.... Or am I missing something?

Also, the Channel Property grid is great for making tons of changes to the organization of channels... That wasn't there before was it?

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History Window like Photoshop
The history will record every event you have placed in the sequence, by clicking on a particular effect you can undo it, and if you want to delete something a few steps up, click on that event and everything from that point on will be undone.

Dock
The ability to dock the Fade and Intensity (and History) properties Windows somewhere on the screen (top, left, right, bottom, whatever) so they do not lose focus but are also out of the way of the sequence. Take a hint from Visual Basic. Also it would be nice to have a small version of the animation window somewhere on the main screen.

Sliders
Instead of having to use the keyboard to adjust set intensity and fade up/down levels, have them on sliders so they can be done by mouse.

Greg

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randallr wrote:

I like the idea of using a track for the beat wizard.. HOWEVER, my problem is I can't get two tracks on the screen.. It works with 2 channels per track, but with several hunrded channels, it jumps from track to track... I'd posted earlier that I wish the window could break into two sections, each scrollable.... Or am I missing something?


I just created each track with all of my 144 channels in it.

There are TWO vertical scrollbars when you use tracks (and have more channels per track than a screenful). One switches from track to track, the other scrolls within a track.

-Tim
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Right- but if I create a track and put a couple of channels on it, perhaps a beat or VU wizard channel, I can't look at it along with my other track. I used to copy my beat track around in the sequence... The idea of tracks with independant timing events was interesting, but it would be nice to see them and my other track at the same time- in the same viewing window... As it is, when you get a lot of channels, it's one track at a time.

Tim Fischer wrote:

randallr wrote:
I like the idea of using a track for the beat wizard.. HOWEVER, my problem is I can't get two tracks on the screen.. It works with 2 channels per track, but with several hunrded channels, it jumps from track to track... I'd posted earlier that I wish the window could break into two sections, each scrollable.... Or am I missing something?


I just created each track with all of my 144 channels in it.

There are TWO vertical scrollbars when you use tracks (and have more channels per track than a screenful). One switches from track to track, the other scrolls within a track.

-Tim
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randallr wrote:

Right- but if I create a track and put a couple of channels on it, perhaps a beat or VU wizard channel, I can't look at it along with my other track. I used to copy my beat track around in the sequence... The idea of tracks with independant timing events was interesting, but it would be nice to see them and my other track at the same time- in the same viewing window... As it is, when you get a lot of channels, it's one track at a time.

Tim Fischer wrote:
randallr wrote:
I like the idea of using a track for the beat wizard.. HOWEVER, my problem is I can't get two tracks on the screen.. It works with 2 channels per track, but with several hunrded channels, it jumps from track to track... I'd posted earlier that I wish the window could break into two sections, each scrollable.... Or am I missing something?


I just created each track with all of my 144 channels in it.

There are TWO vertical scrollbars when you use tracks (and have more channels per track than a screenful). One switches from track to track, the other scrolls within a track.

-Tim


I'm going to make a "tutorial video" for tracks in the upcoming weeks. It will at least help us get a dialog going on how to use them more effectively...

I found them indespensible for the 1 'real' sqeuence as well as the 8 'bumper spots' I did with LOR II this season...

-Tim
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Push Eject wrote:

I use an audio editing program called Pro Tools all day at work and I find myself wanting to translate its commands to the Sequence Editor.

This specific request could be handled like this:
- do away with the "Play range" menu item
- playback should always happen from your current spot in the time line
- we already have the "home" key to take us to the top of the sequence for playing from start
- use the space bar to start and stop playback
- if a range is selected playback should start at its beginning and stop at its end

So click somewhere in the time line and hit the space bar to start playing from there and hit the space bar again to stop.

This behavior makes sense to me... what do you guys think?

Got a demo done: http://lightorama.mywowbb.com/view_topic.php?id=16014

Charlie
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Tim Herberger

Another request: Power Use Utility

While figuring out how many more controllers I am going to order this summer and doing some load per channel calculation's,I started thinking about a power use utility would be a great addition to LORII.

Maybe under the channel property grid there could be a column for the amp load on each channel .Then when running a sequence in the editor you could open the "Power Use" window and there would be a bar graph for each side of all your controllers that would move like a VU meter with a peak hold function as the sequence was playing.

It would help a lot especially when running near or maybe even over the limit. On several of my controllers with all channels full on pull 16.5 amps per side, but when the show is running they bounce around between 6-12 amps. I know that there are some out there that are running much higher loads per controller or even a couple of controllers per 15 or 20 amp breaker, the Utility would certainly save some time and maybe some ceramic fuses by seeing the power use before the show is up and running and allowing you to make changes while programing

Tim H.

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Tim Herberger wrote:

Another request: Power Use Utility

Maybe under the channel property grid there could be a column for the amp load on each channel .Then when running a sequence in the editor you could open the "Power Use" window and there would be a bar graph for each side of all your controllers that would move like a VU meter with a peak hold function as the sequence was playing.



I love that idea. Just knowing what the peak amps for the entire sequence would be would be nice. A graph showing a power utilization might also be helpful, maybe where it shows the % of time the entire sequence spends in each power range and for each 8 channel bank.

lorpowerusagegraphmockup1.jpg
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randallr wrote:

Right- but if I create a track and put a couple of channels on it, perhaps a beat or VU wizard channel, I can't look at it along with my other track. I used to copy my beat track around in the sequence... The idea of tracks with independant timing events was interesting, but it would be nice to see them and my other track at the same time- in the same viewing window... As it is, when you get a lot of channels, it's one track at a time.

So the more I think about tracks the more convinced I am that
a) they are a great concept and
:D they could be implemented more simply...

What do you guys think of getting rid of the multiple tracks and instead, have a selectable grid in the one (and only) editor window? Does that make sense?

In other words, you could choose to view the Grid in mins:secs or BPM or any other value... you could have custom timings galore and switch the grid around with a simple pull-down or quick key... Basically all the timing lines would move, but your screen would simply stay stationary.

The more I think about this, the more sense it makes to me. Like switching between timecode and bars|beats in a sound editor.

Am I being crazy here? Should I put together a demo of what I'm saying or does it make sense?

Cheers,
Charlie
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Push Eject wrote:

randallr wrote:
Right- but if I create a track and put a couple of channels on it, perhaps a beat or VU wizard channel, I can't look at it along with my other track. I used to copy my beat track around in the sequence... The idea of tracks with independant timing events was interesting, but it would be nice to see them and my other track at the same time- in the same viewing window... As it is, when you get a lot of channels, it's one track at a time.

So the more I think about tracks the more convinced I am that
a) they are a great concept and
;) they could be implemented more simply...

What do you guys think of getting rid of the multiple tracks and instead, have a selectable grid in the one (and only) editor window? Does that make sense?

In other words, you could choose to view the Grid in mins:secs or BPM or any other value... you could have custom timings galore and switch the grid around with a simple pull-down or quick key... Basically all the timing lines would move, but your screen would simply stay stationary.

The more I think about this, the more sense it makes to me. Like switching between timecode and bars|beats in a sound editor.

Am I being crazy here? Should I put together a demo of what I'm saying or does it make sense?

Cheers,
Charlie



Hey Charlie,
You've got another excellent idea there. And, If you wanted, you could even select to show more than one grid at a time. The pull-down menu would show a check mark beside each available grid that is presently showing.

One nice thing about tracks is the ability to hide them. Perhaps along with your idea, the ability to select any number of channels to hide and in their place show one "condensed" line of combined channels with it's display representing the combined events of all the "hidden" channels. At any time you could then select that line and re-expand them to full view.
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Tim Herberger wrote:

Another request: Power Use Utility

While figuring out how many more controllers I am going to order this summer and doing some load per channel calculation's,I started thinking about a power use utility would be a great addition to LORII.

Maybe under the channel property grid there could be a column for the amp load on each channel .Then when running a sequence in the editor you could open the "Power Use" window and there would be a bar graph for each side of all your controllers that would move like a VU meter with a peak hold function as the sequence was playing.

It would help a lot especially when running near or maybe even over the limit. On several of my controllers with all channels full on pull 16.5 amps per side, but when the show is running they bounce around between 6-12 amps. I know that there are some out there that are running much higher loads per controller or even a couple of controllers per 15 or 20 amp breaker, the Utility would certainly save some time and maybe some ceramic fuses by seeing the power use before the show is up and running and allowing you to make changes while programing

Tim H.


I like that idea, I thought about that the other day when I was doing my controller load spreadsheet with my new additions. It would be nice to be able to see exactly what each of your controllers is pulling and ranging at so you can get a visual.
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Regarding the power usage utility ... I asked for a similar thing with my sprinkler system software ... where I asked to add 'gallons per minute' to each zone, if you knew it ... and then we knew exactly how much water was being used each day, week and month. Useful when validating the bill, or determining when/how to conserve.

Even if this power usage idea was implemented in a really simple way, it would achieve 90% of its potential usefulness, I feel.

So even if it only showed the max amps required by the entire sequence and by each 8ch controller bank, that would be huge. The icing would be to know when those peaks occured per 8ch controller bank.

So just knowing this (in the form of a report) would be helpful:

Max for sequence (all controllers) = 34.5amps @ 01:35 **

Max for controller 1,ch1-8 = 4.2 amps @ 01:10

Max for controller 1,ch9-16 = 13.1 amps @ 01:35 **

Max for controller 2,ch1-8 = 12.1 amps @ 00:45

Max for controller 2,ch9-19 = 15.5 amps @ 01:35 **

This would only be available if you had entered and enabled this power estimator option and had entered amp loads for every channel. This information could be measured with a 'watts up / kill-o-watt' ... and be entered at any time.

I would say another enhancement would be the additional of some kind of built-in inventory database. This need not be overly complicated. One of the attribute of an item would be its power consumption (in amps) and # of lights. It would be really cool to be able to enter your entire display and some attributes about each item. I'm talking about the things that eventually plug into controllers and take power. Perhaps other items could be entered, but would be purely informational, like how many 20' extension cords you have. The main thing would be to enter in the lights/display items. But then being able to map this inventory into the channels would be pretty neat ... especially after the initial entry work was done. I know this kind of overlaps with other ideas already mentioned.

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I really like all these power ideas and it would give you a real bearing of what is going on with your display and maybe even help out with GFCI trips to pinoint them. I got to thinking about this further though, and while you could do a software update I was thinking that maybe the controllers would need to be designed to receive and output this kind of data before it would work. Dan is this something that is fesible without a hardware update as well?

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I was thinking that maybe the controllers would need to be designed to receive and output this kind of data before it would work


I was just thinking you could simply enter in the amps for each item, as measured using a standlone device like the kill-o-watt or watts-up. Then the LOR (software) would basically estimate the demand each second by adding up everything on at that moment in the entire sequence and also by channel+bank. I'm sure its not that easy, because you would need to figure out how you want to estimate the shimmers, twinkle, fades and intensities ... but if it cannot be really exact, I'd at least like to assume that any kind of "on" = full on, for estimating purposes ... at least you'd get a number which is safe .. but likely a little higher than actual, if you counted some fades and 80% stuff as 100% on ... but at least your able to gauge concurrent loads within the sequence. Obviously, some kind of plug in module (to the controller) to measure power consumption would be kind of cool ... but probably cost prohibitive?? Another variation on that theme would be a future LOR board design that can accept a plug in electrical monitoring daughter board ... and you'd plug it into the board your trying to monitor (figure out). This could be removed or moved to other controllers as needed. Without it, you could still enter amps into the software and use the overestimates capability instead of actuals.
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