Grand MA3 learning log 2

posted by Jeff | Thursday, May 23, 2024, 6:44 PM | comments: 0

I've made my way through most of the manual and watched a ton of tutorials, and I'm confident that I could build a theatrical show, provided that it doesn't have any crazy effects. The creation of static looks is straight forward, as is creating sequences for them.

Now I'm starting to get into the phasers, which is to say the effect engine for Grand MA3. The concepts are pretty straight forward, and actually I kind of enjoy the underlying math and algorithms. The user interface, that I'm not crazy about. I think some of it is that I'm just not used to the conventions, but they're weird conventions. Editing cues and presets just feels clumsy, and I often get it wrong. Phaser steps are even more weird because the UI changes contextually, but it's not always clear how to get to the right context. It still makes more sense having physical buttons and rotary encoders though, compared to trying to do stuff with a single screen only (especially when it's not a touch screen).

I made a virtual rig with about 60 fixtures in it, around a box of a stage. That seems good enough to create some basic effects. I'm using a row of LED-based spots and then a bunch of LED zoom washes, so I'm not locked into any specific colors. The washes also have three "zones" that can be controlled independently, with a single "pixel" in the middle, and two rings around that. These things cost thousands of dollars each in real life, so no, I won't be owning any unless I start a production company.

I have my four ChauvetDJ spots, with color wheels and gobos, and they're surprisingly pretty responsive when driven by this software. I think you could make a nice little show with a dozen of them in a small club. They're not bright enough for large venues, but that's why they're about $700 each and not thousands.

I need to keep playing with effects, probably by creating some things that look visibly interesting to me. From there, I'd like to design something for a song. I'm not sure anyone will ever see it, because I can't post it online without licensing it, but it'll at least show some learning progress.

Also, for, uh, let's call it inspiration, you can see what they used for Eurovision this year, which was probably the biggest show ever in terms of lighting.


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