When are we getting a decent fixture builder?

With the amount of Chinese gear flooding the market, the need for a fully powered fixture builder is higher everyday.

Is one in the pipe works?


  • ejberendsenejberendsen Registered User, Hog Beta
    It would really help when we can create an virtual dimmer on led fixtures.
  • Strobie1Strobie1 Registered User
    ummmmm we have one
  • Fixture Builder is there and works. I have used it in anger many times :-). But it does rely on these manufactures providing good, (and complete detailed) DMX Protocols.
  • LeggyLeggy Registered User, Hog Beta
    Whilst I agree that the fixture builder does work, it can be difficult to get to grips with. I also do think that the point about virtual dimmers is valid.
  • inthe128inthe128 Registered User, Hog Beta
    The builder works for sure, somewhat of a time vampire though. Most of the time I would be just attempting to correct a personality in the library which happens to be needed more than is acceptable in my view. I think being able to by pass real world values when needed to speed up a process by some sort of continuos function which I can do on a colour wheel for example (as my colour encoder never works and the tool bar is useless when the personality is off)

    Building from scratch: I think its okay, really its only real world values that slow the process down, nothing seems sorted in alphabetical order, I build line by line as nothing is more soul destroying than the load of nonsense error messages after doing a 40 channel fixture as doors draws close.

    I have a new year eve event where they seem to have a couple of items not currently involved with the library, I know that can be rattle out in 10 minutes on the event console (Chamsys) and I will look like a confused old man as I waste too much time fumbling around with the fixture builder. It would be also nice if whatever you created was not connected with the show file another time vampire. Also would be nice to write rude words into fields as you could with the wonderful number 2.
  • Simon LXSimon LX Registered User
    Agreed, it would be nice to be able to create a function that didn't already exist in the lists - just type a parameter's name into a box?
  • MLorenzMLorenz Registered User, Hog Beta
    Problems with all this (I guess) are the real-world parameters, and the way the console handles the translation between them and the DMX values.
    Parameters sorted in alphabetic order or a search field would help even more. Most stuff exists already. And the problem is more often a DMX charts that does not tell any valuable informations. Most of the times I go then with continuous 0..255 0..100% or so...
    This gives you at least the chance to get the fixture working.

    Andy: For you the VL4000 would be the fixture of you choice when starting a show... Hell lot of gobo and color-wheels ;-)
  • inthe128inthe128 Registered User, Hog Beta
    edited January 2015
    Can I actually get a continuous parameter on anything? I can do this with colour, but never managed it on "everything"

    +1 on sorted alphabetically.

    A VL4000 is not enough Marc, I get more colour problems that anything else, so I have a profile fixture and wash fixture that I program with that has CMY, 3 colour wheels, amber and white channels etc along with 3 rotating gobo wheels. I think they both where made to cover anything I had come across in the past 2 years.

    I am interested in your thoughts on the following as I thought it rather long winded and wondered if I was getting it wrong. Arrived at the gig which s about far up north in the UK as you can go and perhaps limited in what they have. As suspected a couple of LED par can things not in the library cropped up. Same problem for the event console and dealt with in a few minutes, I took a while longer.

    Have built line by line and patched the fixture to find out that it needed to be edited a bit, I found that having to edit (copy) that fixture and re-patch it a bit of a chore, one of the par cans certainly had a nice config of channels placed randomly and took 4 attempts before it behaved how I felt it should.

    At this point being able to copy something, add and insert more channels or reassign an actually DMX number seems not possible.

    Personally I think a section in the manual or a Colin video giving some guidance, some proper tuition on using the builder is needed, it seems a dark art. I say this as currently I find the library quite bad, simple stuff, zooms inverted, a clay paky fixture with 4 tilt channels and daft stuff, thats very easy to fix, but a better understand of real world values seems something to know about.
  • Strobie1Strobie1 Registered User
    ive built media server profiles on it before. i dont know why you are saying it doesnt work. it does.
  • inthe128inthe128 Registered User, Hog Beta
    Not sure people are saying it doesn't work, only that it is not very easy, that it can be confusing, long winded. Personally I think it needs a re-work, make it less daft to interrogate, update from the edit, make everything user sortable for example i amber and i white together to at least in alphabetical order, options to make quick continuous routes in desperate times. I managed to fluff my way through a 6 week tour of China, building new ones, editing the incorrect ones already in the library.

    I don't see much instruction stuff on using it, I think a lot of us would benefit to being let into the ins and outs. I say this as I think it sort of works in a time vampire way, but a lot of people seem to think it does not who I meet along the road, so that ratio should be lessened. I rattle files out for H2, Chamsys, MA and Martin without to much bother, but this one and more real world values is a right old 'mare most times
  • MLorenzMLorenz Registered User, Hog Beta
    Andy, I´m with you.
    Fixture builder is for sure something that should find its place in advanced trainings (and videos) and you know it has its place in my trainings.
    When you edit a custom fixture, you need to log off and back into the show, otherwise the changes wont be avialable. You dont need to copy and rebuild/repatch. Lib-infos are read during show-load or when a new fixture is added. So thats why you need to this after changing an already patched fixture.

    Problems with fixtures are often on the side of manufacture as well, because libs had been changed or not all values are shown in the available documents...
    This happens also to major brands... e.g. Clay Paky B-Eye K20... Simply not correct what you can find on the website
  • Marty PostmaMarty Postma Registered User
    I think what it all boils down to is the double-edged sword we call "abstraction".
    the abstraction layer is what makes it so easy to change types...move programming around to different fixtures and different rigs relatively easily (Festival/touring LDs know what I'm talking about....the Hog programmers onsite usually have done in minutes what it usually takes hours to do and verify on other console platforms).
    The downside of abstraction is that it requires a bit more work and skill to create a fixture profile.
    The builder works just fine for a quick situation, but proper profiles need to be created by the developers.
    At least the Hog console comes loaded with profiles that have been checked as best they can and the library contents are ever growing......
  • inthe128inthe128 Registered User, Hog Beta
    Abstraction is what the super computer "The Abstractor" does, when not solving the worlds problems, answering all the questions of the universe and everything it tries the impossible and create fixture files. In my mind this beast is in a room on top of a mountain, it has valves and a low fog machine for ambience where data sheets are presented in the hope of acceptance into the library of enlightenment and within a time frame of two week be sent out to the churches of light where priests will baptise these files and insert them into the bellies of the Hogs. It may look half green and pink but it is red, you are an unbeliever.

    This summer I ran 3 festival systems, all with RH4's . This country has a number of festivals where the same bands will crop up again and again. The systems are all 48 moving heads, 12 strobes, some 2 lites and front. The fixtures in the system are different, so Viper, VL300, Clay Paky Alpha Beam, Mac 700 wash, Atomic, X-5. I programmed on Mac 700 wash and Clay Paky, then fixture swapped to the other 2 systems. The Robe's zoom was inverted and as its rotating gobo wheel is on the second wheel updating that palette had no effect in programming, no biggy as its just six scenes to deal with and the zoom effects seem to look better that way. From using an M Series and a Chamsys I would say the process is not quicker or slower to lets say have a quick butchers at the results as you would surely do.

    Cutting to the incoming LDs who seemed split between MA, Chamsys and Hog, I would say the Chamsys lads won the quickest up and running, by that from the time I give them a patch sheet to the look of smugness. The MA's are truly mystical beasts that arrive FOH via a sea of Angels, take up to much room and seem to get on with life and I am quite sure they will reveal the answers to life, the universe and everything when V4 comes out. The incoming Hogs are fine. The Chamsys had a problem with a fixture, very quick to sort out and within 10 days that was in a fixture update drop, I liked that when the request was made via bug tracker that we saw its progress at all stages, very good system. The Hog didn't get on with Robes zoom inversion which was more of a problem for the incoming chaps, the palettes in one show where updated, but the LD felt the playback of the show did not reflected that, also non of the Hog guys managed to get any rotating gobo action, again updating the palette seem to not make any difference.

  • inthe128inthe128 Registered User, Hog Beta
    Run out of room there. One chap with LED things had some bother with his white point as he used HSI and although we managed to get a better white via CMY+W er, RGB+W as the 2 are not connected again the update failed to make it to the programmed show, which is where Marc's advice to build a fixture with everything in seems to be so important. Once these small problems crop up then its not a fast system at all, its a time vampire, as one chap asked if we could edit the fixture for him after he had updates a lot of his palettes, well mate, yes but you will need to start again which all that, against lets say the Chamsys where the update seemed to be live and within the current selected patch.

    I enjoyed my Hog festival season, I found it the best busking/festival desk I have ever used, anyone using it had no problems, got everything they needed, it made my life very easy, loved it. You can set up a quite complex show then is very simple to use without that much effort, but I do wish the library was better and yes I know the fixture priests have to do it from dodgy data sheets, but if that is a known then a way needs to be found, its the same with MA and all the rest, but its just so much easier and quicker to do it yourself or get them to do it.
  • srautanesrautane Registered User, Hog Beta
    A decent fixture builder would not be bad... But like Marty said we have to take care that abstraction/real world values/change type works. A decent fixture builder should be a something that is easy to use and guides the users to build fixtures in a standardized way. Like, we have to have an agreement (and a note in builder) how the zoom should work. So, an inexperienced user can make it right. IMO, one thing what we also need is a user community fixture forum/thread where users can easily send built fixtures and other users can leave comments and ratings about how well they work.
    Also the same place should have a list of all fixtures in the library and users can leave comments about them. I believe this would help people to give faster feedback about the libraries and help the others to easily find and solve the possible problems with libraries.
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