I’m confident that I’ve made nearly every mistake you can make in EOS when it comes to Merging. If I haven’t, it wasn’t for lack of trying. When I look back, I see that what was confusing was the relationship between the data within the show file- Cues, Patch, Effects, Palettes, Palettes, Presets, etc. It’s all shipping really. To do shipping well, you have to pack things up correctly and be sure the right person on the other side is there to receive it.
We are going to do all our exercises using the Eos Family Learning Series Level 4 Complete file. If you don’t have it, go to www.etcconnect.com and download it. Spend a few minutes looking at the cues between 18 and 32. Notice any Presets, Color Palettes, Beam Palettes, Effects, etc. When you are basically familiar with the cues, move ahead.
First important info: When EOS says “Merge”, it really means “Merge INTO the current file”. You will always be importing data when you merge. Start in your target file, and merge what you need into it. Since this is a basic tutorial, we will be importing into an empty EOS file. Go to File>New and double click “New”.
EOS will ask you to confirm, and you should do so (if you have already saved whatever file you have been working in).
Let’s say the EOS Family Level 4 file is a dance show you did last year and one of the pieces (cues 18 thru 32) is in this year’s program. With EOS in your empty New show file, you decide to import just the cues you need. File>Merge>Eos Family Learning Series Level 4 Complete. Double click the file and the first Merge prompt will appear. Choose Advanced. Basically, this area is an opt-in menu. Select Cues (upper left hand corner) and a line item will appear in the center table. Eos is ready for you to write the Start number for the cue, so type 18.
Next, you want to click in the empty area to the right of where you see 18 to then type 32. When you press Enter or click OK, EOS will merge in your data. You should notice your Live Table is empty, but you have a cue list in your PSD. Go to Blind, and as long as your Flexi state is not set to Show Patched, you will see unpatched channels with intensity data, but nothing else. Why? The minimum that EOS anticipates a fixture being is a dimmer. When you import cues without the patch, EOS receives information that it has no place for, so it gets erased. Returning to the shipment metaphor, the cues weren’t packaged well and things were lost in shipping. There is no way to get the information to come back, even if you now tell EOS what every fixture is in patch. So let’s do the same thing again, but this time we will also import all the Patch.
Start a New empty file again and navigate to File>Merge>Eos Family Learning Series Level 4 Complete and go to Advanced. Select the tile for Patch and type 1 for your Start Fixture. What about the rest of the lights? If you don’t specify an end channel, all the fixtures from your Start through all the rest. DO NOT PRESS ENTER. Now touch the tile that says Cues and type 18 for your start, click the empty space next to it and fill in 32 for the ending cue.
When your Merge window looks like the image above, you may click OK or hit Enter to start the Merge. How did we do this time? Well, you’ll notice that there are fixtures in your Live Table, so that’s a good start. All the cues are there. Does that mean everything happened? Not necessarily. Let’s break it down.
First thing you may notice- there are no longer any Color Palettes, Beam Palettes or Presets, but instead of having Home values there, EOS provided raw data. So the information FROM the palettes and Presets is still there, but the packages they were wrapped in (Color Palette 1, Preset 1, etc) are gone. We didn’t import the references, so they are now gone, though the data remains. Not a terrible result. But what else have we not noticed yet?
Goto Cue 24, which has Effect 1 listed in the FX column of your PSD. You will note that there is no effect running when you go to the cue. If you go to Cue 26, you will notice an effect running there- effect 917. Why does Cue 24 not work? Double tap Effect to go to Effects Tab and you’ll see the built in Effects 901-918 and you will also see there is no Effect 1 for EOS to run. I’m pleasantly surprised that EOS showed us in the PSD that there was supposed to be an effect running, even if it isn’t there. Curiously, if you now import just Effect 1 into your show file and reload your cue with [Goto] [Enter], then the effect will start to run. I’m pleased with this result, but honestly would have predicted it wouldn’t.
Alright, so we have learned quite a bit of how EOS Merges data. I’ve made a chart to try to capture what goes into importing some cues. Obviously, this is not an all-inclusive chart as I’m trying to stay simple to start.
In the chart, things that have the line run through the middle (raw data) will be imported no matter what, though we now know that it may just be intensity without patch information. The things to the right are optional. If you want Presets, Palettes or Effects (besides the built in Effects) you will need to import them as well.
Hopefully this tutorial has helped make some principles of Merge clear. In later installments, we will start getting more complicated with By Type Palettes, Magic Sheets and such. If you have requests or questions, hit me in the comments!