Starting your DMX experience – 11th in a series by Tyrone Blue

February 27, 2013 by Tyrone Blue

You now have 8 scenes recorded, and it’s time to create a “show”. In this series, we will set up a show and teach you how to give it a custom look.

With 8 scenes recorded (in bank #1), you can manually push each “Scene” button and get a scene to display (this will occur in or out of “Program”). The cool part of this all, is now you can run a show automatically, by pushing the “Auto” button. I don’t run shows in “Sound” mode either… I don’t care for it. But, the lights will change to the beat of the music. Typically the beat is too fast for any fixture other than a par can.

There are situations where you don’t want to run in “Auto”, but may very well want to run your scenes manually. I do this all the time when using a solid static color. An example might be having all of your fixtures red, and playing a slow song with a mirror ball rotating. Then, change the color to blue or green near the middle of the song. I do this all the time with LED par fixtures, and aim the moving heads at a mirror ball (all done in “manual”).

Since we are now ready to run a show in “Auto”, you no longer have to worry about what “page” you are on, what “scanner/fixture” buttons are selected or where your sliders are positioned. The only buttons or sliders to think about are: 1) the “Scene” buttons 2) control buttons 3) “Time” & “Speed” sliders.

The “Time” & “Speed” sliders are the two that are just to the right of the “Page Button” in the picture. I don’t normally use the “Speed” slider, and here’s why: I get the same effect with the “Tap/Sync” button. All you do is tap the button to get the beat you want your lights to change to. Tap fast, and the lights change fast… tap slow, and the lights change slow.

Any time you touch the “Speed” button, it overrides the “Tap/Sync”. I always keep it in the fully “up” position, and rely on the “Tap/Sync” for my beat. The “fade” slider sets the amount of fade or “blend” time it takes for the lights progress to the next color. I use the fade slider all the time, particularly with par cans. Caution: don’t set the “Fade” too fast with moving heads or scanners… they normally don’t move fast enough to function properly with the fade set too fast. You’ll get the hang of it by playing with different settings. Experiment to learn.

Once you select the “Auto” button, all you need to do is tap your finger on the “Tap/Sync” and your lights will start to respond (don’t forget the “blackout” button). NOTE: It only takes two taps to sync this button. Push it 3 times, and the clock starts counting on the 3rd (or in this case the first clock set push…) while it is waiting for the next push. It works in series of two. Push it the first time, and the clock starts. Push it a second time, and the clock stops. If you lose count, and accidentally push it 3 times, you have actually started the clock again.

You’ll get the hang of it, but watch your display window… it gives you the clock time in micro seconds of the speed you have tapped. SPECIAL NOTE: Keep in mind that the display window shows the timing for 2 seconds, then returns to normal display. It does this while programming too.

If you are in “Auto” and have the tap/sync set, sit back and watch your 8 scenes run until you stop them. If you have 8 more scenes in bank two or three or so on… you can simply push “Bank Up” or “Bank Down”, and the controller will jump to that bank once it completes the current bank of 8 (yes, there is a slight delay).

We’re getting close… in the next series, we’ll learn how to do “Chases” (the buttons on the far right).

– Stay tuned –

Tyrone Blue Tyrone Blue (12 Posts)

I am finishing up my 8th year as a club DJ at the local Resort nightclub ( I have been DJing for 24 years, with a special love/interest in high tech lighting. I teach DMX programming, both hardware, and software. I exclusively use ShowXpress, which I believe is the best DMX software on the planet! I believe I have a couple of years left to do this. I have a crew of 3 DJ’s, who do my “giging” at weddings and the nightclub.

Filed Under: Exclusive Online News and Content, Lighting