MIDI Show Control Scene-Navigation & Cueing System

  • Tech Staff

    (Just to be clear, I'm posting this as an individual, not in my role as a TroikaTronix staff member.)


    In 2016, before Isadora had native MIDI Show Control Scene-navigation capabilities with the Q# system, I designed and started using my own MIDI Show Control system based mostly off of @dbengali 's Mac-only JumpByName Plugin, (@djinoui made Windows versions of the same plugins). Some of you saw this at Isadora Werkstatt Berlin 2017, and I've also given it to a few people in NYC. I've kept using my system instead of the native Q# system specifically because it allows me to:

    • Run my video computer without a operator by having it listen to MSC from a lighting desk or QLab (which the native system also does).
    • Manually trigger cues by typing them (so I don't have to run back and forth to the lighting desk in order to test my video cues).
    • Easily hang cues on MSC that are *internal* to a Scene *as well as* jumping to specific Scenes based on the incoming MSC information.
    • Easily "enable" and "disable" MIDI communication (without actually disabling it in Isadora) and have a visual indicator of MIDI status in the Control Panel (for when I need to ignore the lighting desk during rehearsal so I can program in peace, or quickly disable it on a break to program for a bit, then re-enable it easily when rehearsal starts again).
    • Keep track (in the Control Panel) of the last MSC Cue Number that I allowed to control Isadora (useful for when I am still programming on and off in rehearsal and want to manually reset back to the last place I had been in synch with the lighting board/sound in order to try a sequence with all the systems together).
    • Keep track (in the Control Panel) of what the current cue the lighting board/QLab computer is sending me *even when I have MIDI "disabled"* (in rehearsal this allows me to jump back in and get in synch with lights and sound without having to bug the operator to have them tell me what cue number they're on).
    • Have global (cross-Scene) control of enabling/disabling a backup system of Keyboard Watcher + Jump Actors

    I've spent many, many days and nights refining this system and making sure it was well-documented partially because I sometimes have a terrible memory but also because I planned on sharing it eventually. Well guess what? "eventually" is now. (Though please forgive that fact that some of the documentation needs to be updated or expanded upon. The system is technically cross-platform, but the vast majority of my documentation is for Mac because that is my primary platform. If anybody wants to work with me to help sort out some documentation for the Windows side of things, that'd be grand.)

    If you enjoy my system, it helps your workflow, and especially if you end up using it for a commercial (paid) project, if you can afford to, please consider donating to one or more of the following causes: 

    I'd prefer if you gave to one of the other causes above, but I also have a Paypal: https://paypal.me/ProfWoland. Donations will be used to fund my own artwork, cover my living expenses, and also to feed my insatiable equipment addiction. (Contributions are appreciated, but not necessary.) 

    Also, if you donate to any of the three above, please send me a PM on the forum if you're interested in the undocumented extension of my MSC system that I built which theoretically allows two-way communication and/or a starburst master-client relationship between any number of networked computers running Isadora to fire cues within Scenes or jump to specific Scenes based on MIDI Show Control (MSC) *or* MIDI Time Code (MTC).

    >>>Here is the link to my Dropbox with all of the files<<<

    This includes:

    • The 42-Page READ ME document (Mostly just long because of pictures) with info on how to set the system up.
    • Another Isadora Patch that is intended to be a simple demo of a linear cueing system that uses Isadora as the master, controlling what cues are fired on an ETC Ion. 
    • Screenshots of how to set up ETC Ion in order to send/receive MIDI Show Control.
    • JumpByName Isadora Plugins for Mac (created by @dbengali) and Windows (created by @djinoui)
    • User Actors for my MIDI Show Control Cueing System for Mac and Windows (based on the plugins mentioned above)
    • A 101-second demo video of my MIDI Show Control Cueing System that shows most of its simple, handy features.
    • Template Isadora Patches (with Control Panels)  for my MIDI Show Control Cueing System 
    • A Qlab 3 File setup to send MIDI Show Control commands to Isadora to trigger the cues in the Template Patches for my MSC system and simulate a lighting board
      • Note: You'll need to get a legacy download of QLab 3 in order to use this, and even then you'll need a QLab license because the free version does not support MIDI cues.
      • If you don't have a QLab license, you can essentially build the same thing on your own in Isadora, or you can follow the steps in the READ ME file to make your own, temporary QLab file with the proper cues to trigger the Template Isadora Patch for my System
      • Note: If you're on Windows, you'll need to build an Isadora Patch that sends MSC Lighting commands for Q's 0, 1, 2, 2.5, 2.7, and 3 to Isadora to see the Isadora Template Patch in Action. (If somebody wants to build one and send it my way, I'll add it to my Dropbox so that everyone can have access.)

    The concept will be very simple to some of you, and perhaps confusing to others, but the Patch itself is very simple. The time I spent on it refining the documentation and fleshing out the tools I needed for rehearsal were the time-consuming aspect.

    I look forward to seeing what you all do with this and hearing about it.

    Best wishes,

    L Wilson-Spiro (Woland)

    If you post on Facebook about a show or project for which you used my work or an adaptation of it, please tag me (Lucas Wilson-Spiro)

    If you post pictures or videos online, please tag TroikaTronix so that they can share them with their followers too. They are always excited to see what their users around the world create with Isadora and love to celebrate the Isadora community!
    Facebook, Twitter: @troikatronix
    Instagram: @troikatronix_isadora
    Please also consider joining the Isadora Users Global group on Facebook if you haven't already (https://www.facebook.com/groups/isadorausers/)

    Copyright (c) 2018 by L (Lucas) William Wilson-Spiro: https://lucaswilsonspiro.wordp...

    This work, readme document, “READ ME - MSC [MIDI Show Control] Demo, v1.3 (Mac) Tutorial for Isadora”, and the accompanying materials (Isadora Example Files, Isadora User Actors, Video Demo, Example QLab Patch, etc.), created by L (Lucas) William Wilson-Spiro is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License: http://creativecommons.org/lic...

    Legalese TLDR: Anyone may use and adapt this at no cost for commercial and non-commercial purposes but cannot redistribute any version of it with any additional restrictions imposed, nor can modifications of it be sold, rented, or otherwise monetized. Any adaptation of this work MUST be distributed for free.

    TLDR TLDR: Anyone can use this forever, for free, and for anything (commercial or non-commercial), but you cannot charge people for access to this work or an adaptation of this work; you must distribute it for free.

  • Beta Platinum


    Wow Woland! Does that set a record for the longest single post in Isadora forum history. You are not one for brevity, however such a mammoth personal investment in creating your system deserves a great deal of respect and admiration.

    Best wishes


  • Tech Staff

    @bonemap said:

    Wow Woland! Does that set a record for the longest single post in Isadora forum history. You are not one for brevity, however such a mammoth personal investment in creating your system deserves a great deal of respect and admiration.

    I'm not sure if it's a record, but maybe. I've been feeling bad about not sharing the system even since before Isadora had the native Q# support. My system takes more setup than the native system, but I think it's much more flexible for a working environment and rehearsals.

    Mostly I knew that the programming was simple, but the concept could be hard for certain people, so I wanted to make something accessible to beginning users. I know most veterans probably have their own systems or something similar, but I'd already been sitting on the mostly-finished documentation for this for a couple years and figured that I may as well see it through.

    I do tend to write too much though ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • Tech Staff

    Damm dude. Massive respect, but holy shizzle we should buy you a cat for this amazing resource :)

  • Tech Staff

    @woland said:

    1) Donate to my dear friend Hyung Seok Jeon's fundraiser so that he can get a visa and return to the United States to continue making his beautiful artwork.
    (I have listed this first because he has $2900 USD left to raise before the end of November 2018. I will be donating to this soon myself.)
    Link: https://www.gofundme.com/hyung...

    2) Donate to help support Roz Etra, the parter of the late Bill Etra (creator of the wondrous Rutt-Etra plugin).
    (I have already donated to this, and will move this up to the first slot once Hyung Seok's time-sensitive fundraiser is over.)
    Link: http://v002.info/plugins/v002-...Sadly my schedule is too hectic to keep even a plant alive. Please send the cat fund to one or both of these fine folks.

    In all seriousness, it's very relieving to hear an accomplished user like yourself express interest in this. Though it's useful and well-documented, I was afraid that it would be viewed as rather underwhelming by experienced users because the programming is nothing fancy. I'm sure that there are folks out there with better systems.

    Best wishes,