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Electronic Theatre Controls Inc

Chase Effects Tutorial

In this short tutorial, I'll walk you through the creation of a simple intensity chase effect object and then through using the new Chase Effect Playback to get that chase running on stage. You can use any play file to start with this tutorial, though I am assuming that there are no Effect Playbacks already inserted into that play. If there are, please choose a new number to use for the Effect Playback in step 2.

Basic Concepts

Effect Playbacks are used to play back "Chase" objects. Each Chase Effect Playback has two parameters - intensity and "Chase". Intensity acts as a master over the high levels output by the running chase - if you bring the Chase Effect Playback up to a level of 50%, then the chase will be limited to a highest level of 50%. If you take the Playback to 100% (Full), then the chase will play back with the levels you recorded into it.When the Chase Effect Playback is above 0% intensity, the chase can be said to be "running". When the Chase Effect Playback is brought back to 0%, the chase can be said to be "stopped".

Chase Effect Playbacks exist to play back Chase objects. The Chase object contains the channels and the steps and the timings you want to use in your chase. You can create a Chase Effect Playback and Chase object simultaneously from Live, or you can create Chase objects in a list and then play them back later. The default behavior of a chase is to go from 0% to 100% intensity on selected channels in a time of 0.2 seconds per step. You can edit these defaults to create customized chases of your own.

Create a simple chase effect:

  1. Select channels 1-10.
  2. Type [1] [INSERT]&[EFFECT] (press and hold the [INSERT] key then press the [EFFECT] key, then release both keys) - this will open a dialog box that you can use to set the Effect Playback type.
  3. In the first tab, Chase Effect, select the "Use selected channels" box, enter 10 in the number of parts, and leave the distribution as Sequential. Select EXECUTE and press [MODIFY] to insert the chase playback and also make a new chase object at the same time. The effect playback is selected after you insert it so all you have to do to get the effect running is bring the level wheel up above 0%.
  4. Press [SETUP]&[BROWSER] to open the Dock setup dialog. Docks are special display areas you can add to any screen connected to the Congo, the Browser is a Dock area that we open by default. In the "Bottom Area", open the drop-down menu and select "Effects", then select the MODIFY button and press MODIFY to close the dialog and open the new Effects Dock. In this dock you can see the inserted Effect Playbacks.
  5. In the Browser, under Effects, you have all the effect data types. One of those is Chase Effects, and under that node you'll find Chases (chase objects). The new chase that was created when we inserted the playback is in that list. Press [MODIFY] on the Chases node to open the chase object list. Press [INSERT] while focused on this list view to insert a new chase object in the list. The Channel Distribution Wizard will open and you can use this wizard to insert your channels and steps. Select channels 11-20, then enter the number of steps, in this case 5, then choose the distribution method "Symmetrical" and select the EXECUTE button and press [MODIFY]. This inserts a new chase object using those channels distributed symmetrically across 5 steps. Add a text label to the two chase objects you have in the list - name the first one "Bob" and the second one "Joe".
  6. Now that you have more than one chase object, you can play with the setting of the Effect Playback itself. Type [1] [EFFECT] to reselect the Chase Effect Playback you inserted before, then look at the encoders. The left-most encoder should display the Chase parameter, and you can use the wheel to select which chase the playback is running. Bring up the intensity of this Chase Effect Playback using the level wheel (you can also use keypad commands to set the intensity, just as you would for any other channel). Since we have not yet chosen to run a different chase object, Effect 1 should be using the chase called Bob. When you bring up the intensity of Effect 1 you should see channels 1-10 chasing one by one. Use the encoder to dial up chase "Joe". You should see the chase on channels 1-10 disappear and now channels 11-20 should be chasing two at a time. If you move the Chase encoder back and forth, you can see the different chase objects switch as you move the encoder.

    Chase Effect Playbacks can only play back one chase at a time. If you want to be able to play back both the Bob and Joe chases at the same time, you need to insert another Chase Effect Playback. This is easy to do live, using [#] [INSERT]&[EFFECT] again (you can use this dialog to insert yet another new chase object at the same time, or you can simply execute the insertion without also making a new chase object - your choice), or you can open the Effect Playbacks List in the Browser and use [INSERT] to insert a new playback into the list. Use [#] [EFFECT] to select the new playback and use the encoder to set it to play back the other chase, then bring up the intensity. Now you have both chases Bob and Joe running simultaneously.
  7. To edit the contents of a Chase object, you can use the Browser or the new Effect soft keys to open the Chases list. To use the soft keys, press the Effect softkey to enter the page of effect commands, then press the Chase soft key to open the Chases list. In this list you can see the top-level settings for a chase. Direction and Style settings can be used to change the order of the steps and how the output of those steps gets played back. The Loop Time can be used to adjust all the step times in the chase to complete a single pass through all the steps in the total time entered in the Loop Time cell (so, if you have a 5 step chase for example, and you want it to take 10 seconds to make it through all 5 steps, enter the value "10" in the Loop Time cell. Congo will edit the step times on those 5 steps to 2 seconds, causing it to take 10 seconds to get through all 5 steps.) In, Dwell and Out time cells are available at the top level to adjust all steps to use the same timing quickly. Min and Max Rate settings can be used to speed up or slow down a chase evenly (set both Min and Max to the same value) or unevenly (set Min and Max to two different levels). When using the uneven settings, the Chase will randomly set the rate per step to a value between the minimum and maximum rates. You can use this to create organic chases for water, fire, tv, or any other irregular intensity effect you would like to create. Set these values close together for subtlety, or far apart for really erratic chases.

    If you want to edit a chase step-by-step, select the Steps cell in this list and press [MODIFY]. This opens up the step editor where you can add or delete channels from individual steps, adjust the step and fade (In/Dwell/Out) timing for each step, and adjust the high and low intensity levels for each step. Standard table editing rules apply in this view, except for adding/deleting channels in each step. To adjust the channel assignments, simply select the step you wish to edit and look up at the top half of the tab. The channels in that step are selected (shown with the gold rim) like they are in Live. Use regular channel commands to adjust the channels assigned to this step: to add a new channel and keep the old ones, simply type [#] [+]; to remove a channel from this step, type [#] [-]; to completely change the channels assigned to this step type [#] [Ch] and continue adding channels normally. For those who use At Mode, normal channel selection syntax works here as well.
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