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Show background animation not playing properly during shows


ajtenney
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For some strange reason I cannot get a background animation to play correctly during either a scheduled or an on demand show.  If I create a new show and only have the background sequence added it will play fine but as soon as I add musical sequences it stops playing the background sequence.  There are no indications of errors in the control panel.  If I let a show with music sequences play long enough eventually the background sequence will play for a short time then it will stop playing but the music sequences will continue to play as normal.  As I was typing this up I was also troubleshooting and trying to find a pattern to when it plays and does not play.  It looks like the background will start playing exactly 5 minutes after the show starts (my background was set at 5 minutes long with a loop) then it will play until the end of the current music sequence.  I am essentially running the same show as last year so very little has changed and it all worked last year.  The background animation is set to turn on my tune-to sign, blowers for inflatables and the transmitter.  All the background items are on different controllers.  

My current setup has four CTB16PC-G3 and one CMB24D.  I have 50 feet of cat5e going from an old windows 10 laptop that I used last year to run the show with S5 v5.5.16 to the CMB24D first then out to the other controllers.  The CMB24D has firmware version 1.05 and three of the CTB16PC-G3's are running v1.09 one is running v1.11.  I am using the red highspeed usb dongle.  I tried upgrading and downgrading the firmware to see if that was part of the problem but it did not help.  I have about 50 feet of cat5e running between each controller.  Everything with the music sequences works fine it is just the background sequence that will not run.  I even tried removing all archived props but that did nothing.  I was unable to get it working for Halloween so I could not do a show and I do not want to miss Christmas this year due to a software problem.  I uninstalled everything and reinstalled it.  I even tried installing an older version but still have problems.  Before you ask, yes the background sequence is added under the background tab of the show controller and the music sequences are under the music tab.  Again this is the same show as last year the only difference is a change in outputs the lights are plugged into (remapped in S5) and the version of S5 I am using.

While troubleshooting I discovered that the background is delayed by however long it is, hence the 5 minute delay with my 5 minute long background.  So, if I create a background animation that is one second long it will be delayed by one second then play.  However at the end of the music sequence the background sequence is shutdown.  This causes my tune-to light, inflatable fans and transmitter to shutdown for the background length (in this case 1 second) that delay isn't helpful for the inflatables and is annoying with the tune-to sign, the big problem is the transmitter that takes 5-7 seconds to reinitialize after losing power.  So there is a delay and static at the beginning of each song.  Is this a new "feature" in the software or am I doing something wrong?  I do not know what I would have changed since last year when everything worked fine.

After more troubleshooting I set the background animation length to 0.01 seconds.  This is short enough that the transmitter does not power down however I fear I am flooding the line with unnecessary signals.  Is there a better way to fix the background animation problems?

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Sounds like whatever channel(s) you are using for the background sequence is configured on both the regular sequences and your background sequence. Which means the software is sending out conflicting signals to the channel(s) in question.

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So it turns out changing the background animation length to 0.01 seconds will not work.  It still turns off the background at the end of each musical sequence and the 0.01 second interval overwhelmed the network and caused everything to go haywire.  It created quite a show, lol.

Don, thanks for the suggestion.  In the design preview window none of the channels have conflicts and I did not have a problem like this last year.  Also, I thought I read somewhere that background sequences take priority over other sequences, is that not the case?  I also made sure that there are no entries for any of the background items in the music sequences.

Maybe I created my shows incorrectly.  I created a preview and drew out all my decorations (including the tune-to, transmitter, blowers) then I mapped them to controllers and channels.  I then used that preview to create sequences, including the background sequence.  Every year I would copy last years folder to a new folder and duplicate the preview, then I would adjust it according to what I would be doing that year.  However, this year I made very few changes according to last year.  So I am confused how/where the show broke.

At this point should I create a new design preview with only the background items, then remove them from the design preview used my the music sequences?  If that is the work around that will make managing channels a nightmare.

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59 minutes ago, ajtenney said:

At this point should I create a new design preview with only the background items, then remove them from the design preview used my the music sequences?  If that is the work around that will make managing channels a nightmare.

That is the work around.

LOR has never been able to send two commands to a channel and have one take priority. (At least not in 15+ years I'm aware of.) I don't see how it makes managing channels a nightmare, though. You remove them from the Preview of one and add them to a new Preview for Background.

And I wouldn't call it a work around, now that I think about it. That's the way it's always been. It's not a work around, it's how you are supposed to do it.

 

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Try running the LOR Verifier against your show and schedule.  That should tell you if you've got any channel conflicts or other errors.  I made the same mistake this year (channel conflict) when I added my matrix.

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1 hour ago, ajtenney said:

Don, thanks for the suggestion.  In the design preview window none of the channels have conflicts and I did not have a problem like this last year.  Also, I thought I read somewhere that background sequences take priority over other sequences, is that not the case?  I also made sure that there are no entries for any of the background items in the music sequences.

The channels having conflict is not the issue, but your last sentence tells the tale.  You background channels not only need to be off, but they need to NOT EXIST in the musical sequences.  Same thing with your background sequences - they must not have any of the channels in your musicals sequences - again, not just off - they must not exist.  This means that you need to have two (or more) previews.  One has only the channels used in the background sequence, and the other preview has everything EXCEPT the channels in your background sequence.  Since you have a preview with all the channels, In the Preview Editor list of preview, copy that preview twice.  Edit one of the copies to take out everything except the channels used in the Background sequence.  Save that Preview with a name something like 2020 Background.  Then edit the second copy and take out the background channels, and save that with a name something like 2020 Christmas without background.  Then change preview used for the background sequence to the 2020 Background preview.  Then change all your musical sequences to use the 2020 Christmas without background preview.  Note that in theory if you changed the existing sequence to make that the without backgroun, it SHOULD automagically update all the sequences, but I don't entirely trust that to work.  I prefer to do it manually.

BTW, this the same as in S4, but what you did to accomplish it in S4 was substantially different.

 

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34 minutes ago, jfuller8400 said:

Try running the LOR Verifier against your show and schedule.  That should tell you if you've got any channel conflicts or other errors.  I made the same mistake this year (channel conflict) when I added my matrix.

Thanks for the suggestion jfuller8400, I ran the Verifier and it only gave me warnings about channel conflicts (Msg 43) but no errors.

 

59 minutes ago, Don said:

That is the work around.

LOR has never been able to send two commands to a channel and have one take priority. (At least not in 15+ years I'm aware of.) I don't see how it makes managing channels a nightmare, though. You remove them from the Preview of one and add them to a new Preview for Background.

And I wouldn't call it a work around, now that I think about it. That's the way it's always been. It's not a work around, it's how you are supposed to do it.

 

Thanks Don.  The reason I would consider it a nightmare is because with all channels in the same preview it is easy to see if there are any conflicts (the software makes it easy by showing a nice green checkmark if all is mapped correctly).  By moving 5-10 channels to a different preview I will now have to go back and forth between the previews to be sure there are no conflicts between the two.  Unless there is a way to check that I am unaware of.  Also, does LOR send an off command to a channel that is already off, or does it only send commands when there is a change?  I will remove the background channels from the main preview to see if that helps.

LOR must have made changes to the software, I have been setting up the shows the same way for years and this year is the only year I have had problems.

 

 

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1 minute ago, ajtenney said:

LOR must have made changes to the software, I have been setting up the shows the same way for years and this year is the only year I have had problems.

15+ years it's been like this.

And it's no different than having 5-10 channels in a different LCC file.

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As I said in my earlier post, the method to accomplish this segregation was different in previous versions, but the requirement to have no duplicated channels has always been there.

15 minutes ago, ajtenney said:

By moving 5-10 channels to a different preview I will now have to go back and forth between the previews to be sure there are no conflicts between the two.

Why?  You know what channels will be used in the background.  You build one preview with the background channels and another preview with everything else.  Done.  What I have done for my landscape lighting preview (I need three), is build a preview with all channels, then copy that preview and remove the un-needed channels.  For my landscape lighting, I have one preview that has only three RGB channel sets, one preview that has everything EXCEPT those 9 channels, and a third preview that has all the channels.  In my case the special channels are for interactives - but the concept is the same - can't duplicate channels in multiple sequences playing at the same time.

 

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Thank you all for your help.  I guess I was just lucky the past 5 years and must have been exploiting a bug or something and it finally caught me this year.  I will rework my show and get the background channels separated from the musical sequences.  Jim thanks for the suggestion on copying and then removing channels, that will make it easier to coordinate channels.

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