ETC Net3 Concert

ETC Net3 Concert

ETC Net3 Concert

Have you ever been given a DMX patch sheet by the touring lighting guy, patched up the show with dimmers, moving lights, LED fixtures all before the bump in ready to go? You get asked if you’ve put the patch in yet always answering in the affirmative. Then when you start testing the rig there is an overlap of numbers that were given to you and now the fixture that needs to have a different address is 8m up in the air over a piece of set on a raked stage. Oh you think how are we going to fix that? Maybe we could send up the new guy or even the work experience kid to change the address? When you ask the work experience kid to perform acrobatics in a harness, he looks at you sideways and asks “Aren’t you running Net3 Concert with that ETC Net3 gateway over there?” pointing at the node.

This is where you explain that of course you are but as a learning exercise you thought he might want to get in that harness and change the address the same way as we have always done it. Then you walk away shaking your head mumbling something about the young kids of today think they know everything. You then go to the nearest computer and Google Net3 Concert.

Net3 Concert is a program to help lighting guys control there rigs remotely. It sounds simple and it is if you have the right equipment. ETC developed the software to operate their Sensor3, Sensor+ power control systems, Net3 Gateways, Net3 Conductor and to integrate into their EOS and Cobalt lighting consoles sometime in the near future. The software is free to download and run on a Windows PC and it runs over a combination of Ethernet and DMX networks through an ETC Net3 Network Gateway. The best thing about the software is you can control any device that has RDM (Remote Device Management). Now if you are new to RDM or you’ve heard about it or read it on a spec sheet and dismissed it as some new technology that you’ll never use just think about the possibilities for a moment. You can alter a dimmers DMX address without the use of a torch, change the parameters of a moving light without having to go to the fixture, check the fluid level of a smoke machine or the temperature of an LED fixture all without bothering the head electrician or the floor crew from the comfort of the control room. The head electrician can also monitor or change things from the office or if something needs to be configured without the need to go back to the control room.

“Oh but this program will need to be populated with all the devices on the network” I hear you say. Not quite, Net3 Concert will do it for you automatically when you open the program connected to your network and hit network map. The GUI interface populates with pictures that can be labelled with a position name rather than a number. It has an error status display along with other modular windows that can be arranged as you please. Another cool feature is it can tell you what version of firmware your ETC devices has installed and will soon allow you to install the latest version without the need to open UpdaterAtor or if there is a problem you can tell it which version you wish to install across the same type of devices.

So what do you need? First you’ll need a PC running windows and the downloadable software called Net3 Gateway Configuration Editor (GCE), (which is a part of EOS and Cobalt already) and Concert. GCE needs to be installed and run once before Concert to help configure your network, and soon Concert will replace GCE on the consoles. Once you have installed the software your PC needs to go through any brand of unmanaged network switch into the Net3 gateway device connected to your DMX network. Any RDM device connected to the network should then become visible in the Net3 Concert program. Depending on how large a space you wish to network there will probably need to be some extra network switches on longer runs and old DMX splitters should be replaced with similar devices.

If that all sounds too complicated then give Jands a call for some network training or the work experience kid would probably be happy to do it for you and no one has to put that harness on, until one of those conventional lights gets a blown lamp.

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