Vista Without An Operator

Vista Without An Operator

The Vista v2 system is the much loved control surface of many live programmers across the world, because of its easy to master interface and intuitive controls. However, many don't realise the potential of the Vista system to control permanent installations with or without an operator. The modularity of the Vista system makes it the perfect choice for a wide range of installs and combining this with high powered Serial Triggering, Time code commands, and Time and Date Events you can be sure that your Vista system locked away in that Tech Cupboard will give you spectacular results on cue every time. And because of Vista's easy to control and intuitive visual interface all this functionality can be achieved effortlessly.

Effortless to Program
The Vista v2’s simple, visual interface is designed to bring speed, ease of use and sheer intuitiveness to programming of your installation. Unlike other consoles where you must remember a series of complex syntax commands, the Vista puts all of this information in front of you on a familiar graphical user interface, with no compromise in performance or professionalism. The Vista v2 system is all based around a Graphical User Interface, all of your programming is achieved via this interface. It looks like other software programs you have seen before and gives an instant familiarity.

All of your lighting fixtures are graphically laid out in front of you and can be arranged to be in any format you desire, you can even put a plan of your venue underneath the fixtures so the fixtures icons can better reflect the real world and can then be easily activated by any user.

Vista Time and Date Events 1

When you start programming with your fixtures, Vista displays all of your fixture's actions as events on a timeline. This allows you to visually see the changes that your fixtures will make over the time that they will occur. This then allows you to better program your time and date events and time code events in a realistic view where you can see exactly what will happen and when it will happen in time.

Vista Time and Date Events 2

See the articles located here for more information on programming the Vista system:
1. Vista v2 Programming Guides - An Introduction
2. Vista v2 Programming Guides - Patching

Installation Scenario
Let's run through an installation scenario and how to achieve it with Vista.
Imagine you are doing an installation in a museum. Every day the system gets powered on at 8am and your fixtures need to be ready to go and play back a state for the punters to enjoy the museum.

However, school holidays come around and for two weeks in June and the museum has a midday school holiday performance that needs all of the lights focussed on the stage and a series of triggered cues from a music track to run, they have no operator, and need the cues to fire at an exact time… every time. We can effortlessly achieve this in Vista using a series of Time and Date Events and Timecode triggering.

Time and Date Events
In this scenario we would use the Time and Date Events function in Vista to achieve this functionality.

The Time and Date Events function allows you to setup a number of events or commands that can be fired off at any time of the day or night. You can set detailed events to be fired off on certain days, dates or times and decide whether they happen once or are repeated indefinitely as well as setting a Start Date and an End Date.

Once you have finished all of your programming and created the looks that you need for your installation you are ready to start creating the Time and Date Events.

For this installation we need an "everyday" state for our fixtures, I have created this in a cue list labelled DayState. This installation requires that this cue list be fired off at 8am everyday, which will be just after the system is powered on.

Firstly, to achieve this, the action we need to set in the action column is a “Play” action with the target being the DayState cue list, this will result in the system pressing the "Play" button on the DayState cue list at the set time.

In order for the system to press play at 8AM, you need to set the time to 8:00AM in the box to the top right of the window.

We can then uncheck any days that we don't want the event to occur on, here I have just unchecked Monday.

Next, set a Start Date, this will be the date that you want the events to start occurring from. You now have the option to set an EndDate, if no End Date is set the event will just continue to occur at the set time, indefinitely.

You can also label the event in the list, to make it more meaningful and easier to pick out as you start to build more events.

When Ok is pressed your event is created and put in the list to be implemented at the next relevant time.

Vista Time and Date Events 3

Vista Time and Date Events 4

We now need an event that will play the state for the Museum's school holiday performances.

The cues for the school holiday performance have been placed in a cue list called SchoolHol.

The event has been set for two weeks only in June. To achieve this I have set the start date to 1st June 2012 and the end date to 15 June 2012. This will ensure that this event only occurs during the correct period.

As you can see from the image below I have also set the time of the event to Midday and the action is ourSchoolHol cue list.

This event will now fire off the SchoolHol cue list at the correct time ready for the school holiday performances.

Vista Time and Date Events 5

Now all we need is an event that releases the SchoolHol cue list after the show each day is finished and allows us to restore to back to our everyday state. In the image below you can see that the only difference here is that we use the release action instead of the play action, on the SchoolHol list at our desired time. After releasing this list the DayState cue list will be restored.

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We have now created a set of events that will be fired off at an exact date and time to ensure that our installation behaves like we designed it will when we as the contractor walk offsite. In addition to this we also have the ability to accommodate different scenarios for certain events, all without the need for an operator on hand.

The next step in our hypothetical installation is to ensure that the SchooHol cue list fires off its cues in time with the music and without an operator.

Time code Triggering
Now that we can fire off the SchoolHol cue list the correct time of day, we need the cues within this list to fire off in sync with the music backing track. To achieve this we use an external time code source from the music backing track to keep our cues in sync and to determine their playback point.

Vista has the ability to use three forms of time code, its own internal time code source, LTP time code and MIDI time code. The default option is internal time code, so to start with we need to set the console to receive an external time code source.

Scroll to the file menu and click the time code option, from here we can set the desk to receive a MIDI time code source from our music track, we can also set frame rate and lag compensation from this dialog.

Vista Time and Date Events 7

We now need to set the time code start point for each cue, so the system knows at which point of the MIDI time code to fire off each cue. The simplest way to do this through the learn timing dialog which can be found by under the tools menu and by clicking the option Learn Timing.

The Learn Timing function allows you to playback your cue list in real time, with your external time code source running and the Vista system will notate anytime that you press the play button, so that every time you playback that list with time code enabled your cues will fire of at the intended time.

To achieve this desired functionality, with the Learn Timing dialog you must first "enable time code", you can then start the time code running from your external source.  Now every time you hit the play button on the top portion of the window, the system will fire off the next cue in the list and record the time code point so that it will be played back at that point every time.

Once you are finished you can click the done button to confirm.

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The next trick is to place a new cue as the first cue of the list which arms the list ready for time code, when it is first played back by the Time and Date events. In order for Vista to playback your time code cues your cue list must first be armed for time code. This ensures that your cue list won't randomly fire off if the time code source is enabled accidently.

To do this in this scenario I have inserted a 0.5 Cue to the start of the list. Then by using the Insert command option under the Tools menu we can Insert a time code enable command into cue 0.5. This command will arm the cue list ready for the external time code and it is now ready to fire the cues.

Vista Time and Date Events 9 

Now all we have to do is start the external timecode and watch the show unfold!

Click here for more information on Jands Vista.

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