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Electronic Theatre Controls Inc

Can I Convert an Obsession Showfile to an Expression 3 Showfile, and Vice-Versa?


Can I Convert an Obsession Showfile to load on other consoles?


It is possible to export Obsession II showfiles to ASCII using the Obsession Offline Editor. Open your showfile, and go to File > Write ASCII Show.


The only offline editor for Obsession compatible with Windows will only open Obsession II showfiles. If you have an original Obsession showfile, see here for information on converting that showfile to Obsession II, which can then be converted to ASCII using the offline editor. 

Importing to Eos

In an empty Eos showfile, go to File > Import > USITT ASCII > As Library Fixtures, and open the .asc file you exported from Obsession

See this article for detailed information on how showfile data is handled in this situation

Importing to Congo/Cobalt

Simply open the .asc file using the File > Open dialog. Resaving will create a new Congo/Cobalt specific .asc file (v7.3.1 and below) or .csf file (v8.0.0 and higher)

Importing to Express/Expression 3

These consoles operate in very different ways--one is a tracking console, one is a cue-only console. They handle effects differently as well. Using the most recent version of Obsession Offline on a Windows pc, you can load an obsession 4 or 5 showfile (if working with an Obsession I showfile, use /Support/Articles/Consoles/Legacy-Consoles/ to convert to a version 4 file first) through the simulated console method and then go to the windows File menu and write an ASCII file. You can then Read that showfile through the Window menu in Expression Off-Line on the PC and save a standard exp3.shw showfile to be loaded on the console.

As with any showfile conversion, there will most likely be some data loss and the show should be checked in its entirety and adjusted prior to performance use.

If this process seems daunting, there is a company called West Side Systems ( which specializes in showfile translation and conversion services.



Can I Convert show files from other consoles to an Obsession (I or II) Showfile?


Short answer:  No.

There is no ASCII import option for Obsession software, only an export.

There is a company called West Side Systems ( which specializes in showfile translation and conversion which may be able to provide some assistance if you find yourself in this situation.

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