In this manual:
On screen buttons are displayed like this:
Physical buttons on your control desk are displayed within square brackets and capital letters like this :
Statuses are shown like this:
Consult the manual for your particular control desk for further information on the physical control and how they work.
Throughout this user manual, we will use the following terminology.
Don’t worry if some of this doesn’t make sense yet, you can keep referring back to this page as you read the manual and learn more about the software and how it operates.
Each axis of motion typically represents one moving element. For example, a winch that lifts a piece of scenery is shown in the software as one axis. In some cases, scenery is moved by more than one axis. For example, a slider that flies and traverses will be controlled by two separate axes. A lifting winch and a second motor for the traverse.
A value that defines the target position of an axis. The position where you want it to end up.
A value that defines how fast you want an axis to move. Speed is usually programmed in mm/s (millimetres per second), but other units can also be used deg/s (degrees per second)
Accel and Decel are values that define how fast an axis accelerates to its speed and decelerates to a stop. Accel and Decel values are programmed in mm/s² (millimetres per second, per second). To calculate how quickly something will accelerates or decelerates, take your Speed and divide it by the accel or decel value: 500mm/s divided by 250mm/s/s gives you 2. So it will take two seconds for that axis to speed up to its top speed and two seconds to slow down to a stop at the end of the move.
The position value tells you where an axis currently is – its location in the real world.
A Move is the fundamental description of how an axis travels from where it currently is to an end position. It is made up of an Axis, a Target, a Speed, an Acceleration and a Deceleration. In the most simple terms a move is: what we want to move, where we want it to go and how fast we want it to get there.
A Cue is how we store one or more moves so we can run them during a show. A Cue stores the moves and the playbacks they’re assigned to. You can also add notes and other information to a Cue to make operating the show easier. Each Cue is assigned a unique cue number.
Playbacks are how we control an axis or several axes at once. Each playback allows you to start, stop or adjust the speed of the axis or axes that are assigned a particular playback. Depending on the desk you are using, you may have one playback available to you or multiple playbacks. You assign one or more moves to a playback and when you press start, all those moves run together.
A Dead is a convenient way of storing a position for repeated use in a show. Whenever you use a Dead in your programming, it will use the saved position as a target that cue. Warning: If you update the Dead it will change the position in all the cues that it is used in. This may affect cue timing and which cause cause a collision with another axis. Update Deads with care.
An Absolute Move allows you to move to a position that is always in the same place. This is like picking a position on a ruler, you will always go to the same place, regardless of where you are coming from.
A relative move allows you to move to a position that is relative to your starting point. Programming a move of +50mm will move you 50mm from where the axis currently is in a positive direction. If you run the move a second time, it will move another 50mm
A reference position is a known position for an axis, which you have marked on the stage. In the case of flying pieces, it is when the scenery is touching the deck. This is commonly a position of zero, but can be any number. Having a known position allows you to check that the system knows exactly where an axis is. Because of slippage or skipping in a mechanical system, you may need to re-teach an axis where it is through a process called re-referencing or re-zeroing.
Safety Enabling Switch
This is colloquially known as a dead-man’s handle (DMH). It is a switch that has to be pressed to enable an axes to be moved. Releasing the switch stops movement. It may also be known as a HTR (hold-to-run) in other fields.
A node is how the software refers to the different parts the automation system it is connected to. For example, a node could be a rack, a safety controller, an IO controller etc. A node will perform some kind of logic, which is what differentiates it from other devices in the system.
This stands for Inputs and Outputs. An axis can have IO associated with it, like limit switches or emergency stop buttons. An input or output can only be in one of two states. So in the case of an output it could be On or Off. In the case of an input, like a limit switch, it could be Struck or OK.