Forum: General Discussion

Discussions about VirtualDJ, and about DJing in general

If you need extended support, contact our Support Team.
(*) The moderators hold the rights to move or modify posts in order to keep the discussions clear or to facilitate the search.
Topic: Combining Freestyler DMX and standalone DMX controller
I am updating my lighting rig and going from a pretty basic stand alone / auto working lights to a DMX based one where I want to control lights either from a generic DMX controller and the freestyler DMX plugin.
Even if I understand the DMX protocol and how to add this functionality, I am not certain how to combine my manual DMX control with the Freestyler plugin.
Let's put it like this:

If using Freestyler only , I will have to program the lights completely on all tracks that I am playing. I won't get any 'automatic' functionality so to say.
So if playing a request without any DMX data added, the lights will not get updated anymore.
So my wish is to use my manual light controller for certain tracks.

Another way is to let Freestyler control a few of the lights and the manual control the rest. For example, the strob and a few lasers can be done from Freestyler to add effects timed with certain drops in tracks or similair.
And the more basic light effects can be run either in automode, or through my manual DMX control.

Any advice how to move on is appreciated.

Posted Tue 31 Oct 17 @ 9:26 am
Your thinking is wrong:

Freestyler is more or less a software based DMX controller.
That being said, Freestyler can run your lights no matter what data you send to it via a plug-in (SBDJ's Freestyler8 plug-in or my own Freestyler MRC)

What you need to do is to program a few CUES on Freestyler.
Then you toggle these cues on/off. As long as a CUE is active on Freestyler your lights will keep operating based on the instructions of the CUE.

On your scenario, if a "new" track has no FS data stored in it, Freestyler will keep running your lights with the last CUE activated by the previous track.
Also, with both plug-ins it is possible to use custom buttons (or remap a button on your controller, or even create a dedicated pad page) to control Freestyler CUES from within VirtualDj.
This means that you can use your PADS to load new CUES for tracks that don't have any special programming mapped on them.

Generally speaking it's not easy to combine 2 different DMX consoles.
Even if Freestyler supported DMX-IN (as Martin LightJockey does) it would be used as a controller to Freestyler, not to send DMX data directly on your Fixtures.

What you should do is to program Freestyler and get yourself a nice MIDI controller that you will dedicate to control your lights via Freestyler.
You can program the MIDI controller directly on Freestyler, or (if you get a controller that's supported by VirtualDJ) use Freestyler MRC to program the controller inside VirtualDj and get full VDJ Script support (something that Freestyler hasn't)

Your current DMX controller could only be used as a backup solution, or in cases you want to setup something small.

Personally I use my own plug-in (Freestyler MRC) and I have remapped an AKAI MPC 40 MK2 inside VirtualDj to control Freestyler.
This, with the addition of a special PAD page (an extended version of the one available for download here) and some action POI's allows me to fully control Freestyler and my show from within VirtualDj without having to bring Freestyler window on front the entire night.
Also it allows me to create a pretty much dynamic show, where nothing seems the same day after day...

PS: It's more about the way you program Freestyler.
Think that instead of creating specific cues and sequenses for different tracks, you can create some "generic" ones that you modify on the fly with action poi's (or manually) by using override buttons (also known as statics) or some advanced scripting: (e.g. on the current freestyler cue change the sequence that controls colors with a different one - instead of creating a new cue with the same movements/gobos/e.t.c. but different colors)

Posted Tue 31 Oct 17 @ 10:59 am
I can send you a Freestyler Backup file if you want that you can load on Visualizer and see how I'm programming my lights to be able to manipulate them dynamically.
Just drop me a PM

Posted Tue 31 Oct 17 @ 11:10 am
bigron1PRO InfinityMember since 2010
Personally I use my own plug-in (Freestyler MRC) and I have remapped an AKAI MPC 40 MK2 inside VirtualDj to control Freestyler.

How well does this work compared to a hardware light controller?
If we need hardware would it not be better to get a dedicated lighting controller?
Hm ..I don't like, in my case, the sound of a third usb controller?

Posted Tue 31 Oct 17 @ 12:00 pm
It works... better! Unless you have enough cash to get a controller running Martin M-PC!
Which BTW (Martin M-PC) is a lighting desk controller with an embedded computer inside!

PS: NO DMX software currently offers you the abiltiy to SCRIPT things... The best they can do is to use Timecode (internal or external timer) to start/stop things from running. But nothing more...

VDJ Script allows me to control everything in a way that's impossible to achieve even from a Martin M-PC console like M-Play/M-Touch, or even M6!!!

Posted Tue 31 Oct 17 @ 12:51 pm
And another note:
ALL BIG lighthows these days are run from computers.
Even when you see a "huge stand-alone DMX console" in reality it is a computer with external hardware controls that allow easier manipulation of it's software.

The best "stand alone" lighting desks out there are Martin's M series. And they run a software (M-PC) on an embedded computer inside the console (which runs Windows BTW)
So, from a technical point of view it's exactly the same as having a software with a MIDI controller attached.
The ONLY difference is that the huge console you see doesn't use MIDI to send messages on the software, but a dirrect proprietary serial protocol. This makes it faster and more precise when it comes to controls handling, but then again, these consoles need the extra speed because they can run up to 128 DMX universes (that's 128 x 512 = 65.536 DMX channels!)

So, stop questioning whether a computer based solution (with or without an external controller attached) is better than a stand-alone hardware only solution.
It is!
There's no "stand alone hardware only" console that can run more than a bunch of fixtures...
For large and demanding lightshows everything is computer based since ages ago!

Posted Tue 31 Oct 17 @ 1:05 pm
bigron1PRO InfinityMember since 2010
Maybe the ideal sub controller runs both the sampler and dmx lighting?
I wonder what the characteristics of such a controller are..maybe your MPC40?

Hm is it the APC40?

Posted Tue 31 Oct 17 @ 5:46 pm

Posted Tue 31 Oct 17 @ 9:28 pm
bigron1PRO InfinityMember since 2010

Posted Wed 01 Nov 17 @ 7:59 am
I would think the APC mini would suit just perfect for controlling both sampler and DMX.

Posted Wed 01 Nov 17 @ 8:02 am
BTW: I have used Kontrol F1 in the past to control Freestyler. I had to do some complex mapping though since it has only 4 faders and 4 knobs and I needed more...

That's how Freestyler MRC was born!
Inside Freestyler itself you can assign a fader to one single function (1 to 1 programming)
With VirtualDj and it's scripting abilities I was able to use the same slider control different functions by using variables and other conditional queries.

When my light show expanded I decided I need more direct control on several functions.
Therefore I retired my Kontrol F1 and switch to APC40MKII

Currently I need only about 60% of the controls of APC40MKII but it's nice to know that I have plenty of room for future expansion.

Posted Wed 01 Nov 17 @ 9:10 am