Tiny Tip: Reverse and Repeat

I program a lot in the movement arts.  Dance of all flavors, Aerial, and Musical Theater numbers are all familiar old friends.  One of the common things I’m asked to do are things like Hiside presets (where offstage fixtures point onstage), or diagonal backlight presets.  As an example, I’ll focus on the hiside preset for this tutorial.

A hiside preset example.

Since a hiside points across the stage at each other, you usually can’t just grab all the lights at once and work the encoders to get the result you want. A typical workflow to create a hiside preset is to grab the stage left fixtures, set the Pan, tilt and zoom values as required, then grab the stage right fixtures and work your encoders to make them match.  This works, but it’s not the fastest way to accomplish your task.

First you set one side of the stage:

Next, grab the fixtures on other side of the stage and Recall From the first set of lights to copy the values.  In EOS, this syntax looks like:

Fixtures B [Recall From] Fixtures A [Enter]

The lights will be panned in the wrong direction.  (Notice the highlighted fixtures pointing offstage.)

From here, I used to manually overwrite the pan values (let’s say 90 degrees) to make them match the first side (-90 degrees), but there is a much faster way: Multiple by a negative.

Since a console is a computer and computers are made of math, let the computer do the math for you.  I created a macro that goes like this:

{Pan} / -100 [Enter]

This takes the value of the original pan, and makes it the opposite.  If your systems are hung symmetrically, this usually means you are ready to store your Preset (or minimally adjust for variances).

This is one of my favorite ways to speed up my work flow, and it has served me well over the years.  I hope it helps you too.  What are your favorite tips to speed things up?  Hit me in the comments.

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