Originally posted at keithjduggan.com and thecameraeye.com.
The best test for any software or equipment is to just jump right in. I recently finished a show in NY where I used the brand new Luminair 3 to run 10 Vari*Lite VL4000 Spot Luminaires, 52 LED Color Force RGBA, 24 Color Blaster TRX, 196 conventional channels, and 2 Unique Hazers; over two universes.
The new Luminaire software performed well with only a few occasional crashes, which at this time I believe Synthe-FX has already sent out a patch for. Ryan Hisey at Synthe-FX has always been extremely quick about getting back to me with any issues that I may encounter.
We had two very full universes, so we had to take great care in not over lapping any channels. The big issue I did encounter was the combining of conventionals and intelligent lighting in one project. In my universe 1 project, my first group (leftmost,) had about 50 conventional tracks (Standard Faders;) the second group, had about 20 conventional tracks (Standard Faders;) the third, fourth, and fifth groups were intelligent lighting: some of the Color Force RGBs, Color Blasters, and VL4000s; all with mixtures of Standard Faders, Color (RGB) Faders, XY Faders. When I would adjust a conventional fader in the first group, it would zero out all the conventional faders in the second group, but change nothing in the intelligent lighting groups. It was odd that it would only affect the conventionals. The work around for this issue was to keep all the conventionals in one group, separate from the intelligent lighting. We did this with great success for the run of the show.
The Vari*Lite VL4000 Spot Luminaire is fairly new to the market, so it was no surprise to me that Luminaire 3 software did not have this fixture in its fixture library.
One of the best new features on luminaire 3 (if not the best) is the ability to create your own fixture profiles, which is invaluable to a designer using these intelligent fixtures in a non-traditional way. Using the Create New Profile, I was able to create specific profiles for each unit. For example, I had two VL4000s that I was using simply for the custom glass gobo we had installed. I was able to create fixture profiles for these fixtures using only the channels I needed and not the ones I would not be using (program, animation wheels, shutter frames, etc.) This made it much easier to navigate through the Luminair control panel to get to the lights I need to adjust quickly.
With the addition of custom scene buttons and color-coded tracks, Luminair 3 is a fresh new design on an already great platform.
Do you need help with Luminair, DMX protocol, intelligent lighting? We welcome your comments & questions.