LightingSoft | FAQ's - Frequently asked questions about dmx and lighting control software, dmx related information and equipment
LightingSoft.com » FAQ's Selected country / language
Dmxsoft Package Sunlite Suite 2 Magic Easy View Easy Stand Alone S.T.I.C.K. Lumidesk Daslight Arcolis
Home | Products | FAQ's | Partners | Contact
Architectural
Dj - Nightclubs
Production
Low cost packages
:
time
-15% every evening !
Newsletter subscription :
FAQ's

Your questions answered !


Questions about our software products or accessories offered, our payment system, our upgrading policies... 

Most of them answered here !
 
 
Q:   Why should I buy from DmxSoft?
 
A:  We provide the best prices, products, resources, guarantees and have the fastest, most efficient order processing, software upgrades, and everything you need for your DMX control solution all in one place!
 
Q:  I live in a remote location, can I still order online and get delivery?
 
A:  Absolutely!  We have offices around the world in Europe, America, and Asia with a powerful online order processing system that alltogether makes it possible to get orders anywhere in the world typically in 1-3 days.
 
Q: What is DMX?

A:  DMX stands for Digital Multiplex.  It is short for of DMX 512, which is a the lighting industry's standard protocol used to control equipment from different manufacturrers.  The standard is maintained by USITT, and has been adopted by every major brand of lighting equipment manufacturer.  Also see our DMX University fo a more detailed answer to this question.

Q:  How does DMX work?
 
A:  This is a very long answer to a short question.  For a complete answer, see our DMX university, the short form of the answer is as follows. Controllers, light fixtures, and other DMX compatible equipment all use the DMX 512 protocol, once a controller is connected to DMX compatible equipment through DMX cable, the controller sends data int he form of 512 channels of information to all devices connected.  Each device is alotted a channel or  multiple channels, depending on the requirements of the individual piece of equipment. These channels will (depending on the equipment and manufacturer) correspond to the equipments feature or attributes, such as pan, tilt, color, shutter, dimmer, gobo, etc.  If a device needs 6 channels to operate, and the device is set to address 100, then it will respond to data sent on channels 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, and 106 only, even if data is being sent to all 512 channels.  For each channel, the data sent can be a value from 0 to 255, this value will (depending on manufacturer and equipment) correspond to a a particular parameter of that channel, for example in most lighting on the dimmer channel a value of 0 corresponds to a 0% level of light output, and a value of 255 corresponds to the light being full on (100%).  For a channel such as gobo, the channels values may be broken up where 0-20 corresponds to a circle gobo, 21-40 corresponds to a star gobo, and so forth.  It's as simple as that!  Remember, the details of your controller and equipment are very important, so consult user manuals for DMX protocols (channel and parameter values) and different settings which may effect attributes such as which channel effects which attribute, how many channels a device uses, etc.

Q:  I have my interface connected, and my software is running, but my lights are not responding. What can I do?
 
A:  First check to make sure all connections are good, make sure all the cables are good (use a cable tester if possible).  Make sure all your software has been set up correctly, and for YOUR equipment.  Controllers can control many types of equipment and you must enter the proper information for everything to work correctly.  If you still are having problems you will need to begin more detailed troubleshooting.  Please consult our DMX University section for great information that can help with this.

Q:  How do the Happy Hour specials work?
 
A:  Every day, for 2 hours (6-8pm in YOUR TIME ZONE) we offer discounted rates on certain featured products.  Simply place an order during that time period and you will automatically recieve the appropriate discount, cheers!
 
Q:  How can I purchase new or different software for the interface I purchased from DmxSoft?
 
A:  Soon our upgrade section will be online, and the simple, easy-to-use online utility will make upgrading fast and also inexpensive!  Keep an eye on DmxSoft for this soon-to-be-released feature!
 
Q:  Can I purchase different software from DmxSoft for an interface or system that I purchased somewhere else?

A:  No, DmxSoft has exclusive deals with the manufacturers and software developers we feature on our site and we feature only the best products.  If you bought a product somewhere else, then the only way to get th benefits of DmxSoft prices and services is to return that product and buy a truly suprior product from the best...DmxSoft.com.
 
Q:  I am accustomed to lighting consoles/desks, why is software so different?
 
A:  The short answer is that light boards/consoles/desks evolved from much simpler and more primitive versions of the same thing.  Over the years, certain features and aspects of light boards remained due to nothing more than the fact that people were accustomed to them, other feaures were developed or not because of technological limitations or other reason that were basically constraints due to money, time, or some other reason.  Some early, and primitive, software controls sought to somewhat emulate or simulate consoles, but most developers found this approach backwards and counterproductive, kind of like writing a computer program to simulate a an old accounting ledger, rather than writing something like Excel, or Quickbooks.  Software developers now use all of what has been learned about windows technology, graphical user interfaces, fixtures, DMX, etc to make a program that will allow users the most options to achieve the DMX output they need in the most easy-to-use and efficient manner.  Hence many softwares have totally different syntax, structure of programming, and other features.  Since in the cyber world is virtually limitless, there is typically a software DMX control that will achieve the desired results faster, easier, and more efficiently tthan any console.  Typically those who advocate consoles only are people who hav learned one way of doing things and are reluctant to learn a newer more advanced way.  But answer this...do you want the briefcase cell phone or the super slim digital phone with mp3, TV, Gps, etc.  The analogy is quite appropriate in most cases with the exception of very very expensive consoles that employ computer interfaces as part of the system.

Q:  Can I use microphone cables to connect my lighting equipment to my DMX interface/controller?

A:  Can you? Yes, they probably will even work if you are using a small, simple rig, but should you?  Absolutely not!  The DMX 512 standard specifically forbids the type of cabling used in most audio cables, and using this type of cable can cause a host of problems with your data.  If you are using microphine cables and you have problems with system functionality, the cables are quite possibly the cause.  See our DMX university for more etailed information on this subject.

Q:  How does the comparitive chart work?

A:  Simply check boxes next to any of the products on DmxSoft.com, then click add to compartitive chart.  Once you have added all the products you want to compare, you can go to the chart and see a comprehensive comparison; you can also click to add or remove the features you want to compare to simplify the chart if you like.

Q:  How do the payments in installments work?

A:  Currently you have two two options to pay in 3 easy installments.  Option 1 is with checks.  Make three checks each for 1/3 of your total bill.  Date the fist check immediately, the second check for thirty (30) days later, and the third check for sixty (60) days later.  Send in all three checks; your order will be processed immediately, the first check will be processed immediately, and the final two checks will be processed on their respective dates.  Option 2 is payment by credit card.  Simply pay with credit card and request payment by installments.  One third of the total amount will be processed immediately, in thirty (30) days another third will be processed, and in another thirty (30) days the final payment will be processed.

Q:  Are you really going to donate proceeds to Unicef? How much?

A:  Absolutely, we will donate 1 Euro from every sale of an interface or software product to UNICEF, just one way that we can help make the world a better place.

Q:  There are so many software and hardware combinations with so many features, how can I make sense of it all?

A:  It was for exactly this purpose that we created the comparison chart, simply select the products you want to examine more closely by checking the box next to the product, then select "add to comparison chart" at the bottom of the screen.  Next select comparison chart at the top of the page.  Once in the chart you will see virtually every feature you can imagine for a DMX controller and the specifications for each product in an easy to compare chart, you can even take away features for easier comparison!

Q:  Is every Dmx control software available through DmxSoft?

A:  Unfortunately, no, some companies are not  represented on DmxSoft, but we are constantly working to ensure that we do have all of the BEST DMX control software and hardware on our website, and we are adding new products every month!

Q:  Is DMX control software more or less difficult to use than a lightboard/console/desk?

A:  For most people software is much easier to learn, more intuitive, and more efficient for programming once learned, the only occassional exception to this rule are those people who are rigidly dedicated to a particular console(s) and who do not want to learn a new way of thinking about programming.  Most lightboards/consoles/desks evolved their programming style from boards that only controlled simple conventional lighting, long before the complicated intelligent lighting of today even existed, whereas software controllers did not even come about until moving yoke lights, LEDs and many other intelligent effects were well established in the industry and their programming needs well known. Therefore these software controllers were developed with these features and the needs of modern lighting designers and programmers in mind.  Combine this fact with the much more efficient and powerful abilities of modern computers and Windows style applications, and you get a product much easier for most people to learn and use.

Q:  What kind of warranty do you give, and how does it work?

A:  We offer an incredible  money back guarantee on all our products.  If you are not satisfied with an electronic interface you have purchased for any reason, you may return it within 30 days for a full refund. In some cases, the customer has purchased a product not correctly suited for the customer's use, in this case we can exchange or upgrade to the proper product  (see our upgrade section or contact us for more information). In addition, every interface we sell is guaranteed for 3 years against defects; if you have a problem simply send back the product with the reason for the return and we will repair or replace the product free of charge.

Q:  My interface has no output, what's the problem?

A:  Check for the following problems (same order recommended):
 
1. Bad software/interface combination
Make sure you are using the right interface with the appropriate software. Sometimes old interfaces are not supposed to work with the latest version of the software (2002 interfaces with 2004/2006 software, etc).
 
2. No communication between software and interface
Connect the USB interface to the computer, 3 colored LEDs should turn ON on the top of the interface (red blinking fast, yellow solid ON, green blinking slow)
- If NONE of the LEDs turn ON, check the power switch on the back of the interface
- If ONLY the yellow LED is ON, the interface needs to be replaced, no way to fix it
 
3. When you start the software with the interface connected, the GREEN LED should blink fast
If it does not, then the DRIVER for the interface is not installed correctly
 
4. If all of the above are good, we have 2 possible options:
- Bad DMX chip - interface needs to be replaced
- Bad installation - verify using a different cable, different fixture... make sure the fixtures work fine
(many times the problem is with the fixtures, and people always find it easier to blame the software)
 

Q:  How do I control fixtures individually? How does fixture grouping tool work?

A:  Follow this step by step example to learn how fixture grouping works:
 
1. Rearrange the windows (so the following instructions all make sense)
- WINDOWS menu - Reset Positions - Reset Tabs
 
2. Click on the CENTER button for any Scanner or Moving Head
 
3. Hidden behind the PAGES list on the left is the FIXTURES window... click on the tab
 
4. You have 5 buttons at the top of this window:
- DISABLE
- LIVE
- SAVE
- SELECT
- RETURN
Click on LIVE.
 
5. You can click on individual fixtures to select and unselect them.
You also have 3 buttons to change fixture selection:
- INVERT
- ALL OFF
- ALL ON
Click on ALL OFF, and then click on the 1st fixture, so that it is the only one selected
 
6. You are now in LIVE mode with only 1 fixture selected.
Click once on the CIRCLE movement switch.
You will see that the 1st fixture is doing circles while the rest remain in CENTER.
You will also notice that LIVE (top 5 buttons) is no longer active, but that DISABLED is now selected
 
7. Click LIVE again, unselect the 1st fixture, select the 2nd and 3rd fixtures, and click ONCE on any color
You will see that only the two fixtures selected changed color
Notice that LIVE is no longer active, and DISABLED is again selected
 
8. If you wish to continue inside LIVE mode indefinitively, unselect the RETURN button (top 5)
(LIVE will remain active until you create a new scene AS YOU SEE NOW)
 
Q:  How do I create or modify my own fixture profiles/libraries?

A:  The software package includes a tool called Scanlibrary Editor, which allows you to do this.

- The online manual is not super clear, but it explains the main concepts pretty well

- In the Summer 2007 there will be a new Scanlibrary Editor software which will be MUCH easier

- The manual for the new Scanlibrary Editor will be MUCH better, of course
 
Q:  What are the differences between Sunlite EC and Sunlite FC?
 
A:  1. FC includes the full 3D visualizer, EC only a limited version

The full 3D includes:
- 2D VIEWS during stage Construction for easier setup
- Create real-time MOVIE files of your 3D stage (AVI or DVX)... move your camera throughout your stage and see all the moving lights changing positions, colors, gobos, etc
- Create LAYERS for any group of objects within your stage... separate layers for sound equipment, trussing, people, lighting, furniture, etc... you can then block, group, and hide each layer... if you want to create an elaborate 3D stage, layers really help a lot.
- REPORTS with blueprint schematic views of your stage, as well as fixture list with DMX patching... ideal for people who design lighting shows and have others setup their trussing/fixture before a show
- You can IMPORT 3D OBJECTS from AutoCAD and 3D Max Studio (DXF and 3DS files)
 
2. FC includes the EASY SHOW tool, EC does not
Easy Show is the tool that allows users to synchronize audio/video/lighting using TIMELINES, like conventional audio editing software
- You can load, play, and pause Easy Show files from the Compu software... this allows users to trigger complete multimedia shows from their keyboard HOTKEYS
 
3. FC includes CALENDAR TRIGGERING, EC does not
You can set any button to be triggered at a particular time or time interval, on a particular day or day interval.
Works great if you want your show to do something specific every hour, or at midnight, for example.
 
4. FC includes 4 Ethernet-DMX universes, EC only 2
Ethernet-DMX universes are useful when the user wants to control his lighting remotely.
With USB, the DMX line needs to start from the USB interface, a mere 3 feet from the computer.
With Ethernet, the DMX line can start anywhere there is a network connection shared by the computer.
Users can purchase the IP-DMX interface for additional Ethernet-DMX outputs (512 channels each)
For example, you can have a FC USB interface connected to your computer to allow the Ethernet output... but have no DMX line out from the USB interface... instead, you connect an IP-DMX interface to a hub on the other side of the room... and you can control your lighting from your WIRELESS computer! (as long as there is a wireless network connected to that hub, of course)
 
Q:  Can the Sunlite software by synchronized to an external audio signal (i.e. mixer)?

A:  Yes, three ways to synchronize lights to music:
 
1. BPM or Pulse
The AUDIO ANALYSIS TOOL will calculate the BPM
This requires a LINE IN to the computer
Also, STEREO MIX should be selected inside Windows Volume Control - Recording Properties
Scenes need to be programmed to work with BPM or Pulse (EASY STEP or EASY TIME inside the Editor)
 
2. MIDI Time Code
You can synchronize a Cycle or an Easy Show to be triggered along an incoming MTC

3. Sound to Light Rack - In he editor window you will find a "rack" labeled sound to light.  Here you can link many properties, such as bass level, bpm, or pulse, of your audio input to any parameter of your  lights.  Simply click the box for the sound property then click on the channel of your light you want to link this audio to.  Next you can set "high" and "low" levels which will determine the range of values of that channel which will be affected by the audio signal.
 
Q:  How can I protect the DMX interface from burning because of voltage problems at a place I am not familiar/comfortable with?

A:  You need to opto-isolate the DMX signal.
This means that the DMX will be transferred by light (opto) inside an integrated circuit and not by a wire... since there is no physical connections inside this chip, a high voltage will be unable to reach the DMX interface.
Opto-isolators are commonly included in DMX splitters and sometimes in DMX signal boosters as well.
 
Q: When I create a new page and the software asks if the Beam is ON, how come the fixture sometimes does not have an Open Shutter or the Center Position?

A:  You will find this problem when the profile you are using does not match 100% the fixture you have.
- If the name of the profile matches exactly, perhaps there are other "modes" of the fixture and a new profile needs to be created
- If there are no other modes, then the profile has a mistake
If you click on NO when it asks you about the Beam, the software will open a small window where you will be able to fix the problem (assuming the channels from the profile and the actual fixture match correctly), for example, by opening the shutter, iris or dimmer
 
Q:  My fixture is not in the library, can I get a profile from you?

A:  Please contact your manufacturer for any fixtures not included in your software
(Feel free to contact contact@dmxsoft.com with requests or check the SSL forum to see if another user has uploaded this profile already.)
 
Q:  The 3D rendering of my light does not match my actual fixture, why?

A:  The 3D rendering is based on the library/profile for the fixture... sometimes the lighting manufacturers create these, sometimes our dealers and distributors... sometimes these are created from prototypes, sometimes from the descriptions in the manuals... sometimes the colors and gobos won't match, sometimes they will be in a different order.
There are many reasons why the 3D rendering could be off from the actual fixture.
Most of these differences can be fixed from the Scanlibrary Editor software, except:
- Macros - these are programs recorded inside the fixtures themselves... there is no way for the controller to know what these macros are supposed to look like
- Focus - the 3D visualizer will always show focused gobos... it would take way too much processing power to setup realistic focus levels, and customers seem to be fine without this in the 3D software, anyway