Tips and Tricks Part 2: Position Control

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Tips and Tricks Part 2: Position Control

Postby DJBlackhawk » Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:48 pm

Secrets of the Position Control

The Position Control in the cue editor seems straight forward, so you might wonder what this post is all about. After all, it seems pretty intuitive to set the position of a fixture. You just click inside the control and while you hold down the mouse button you can 'drag' the light to the position you like. Then you make fine adjustments by clicking the arrow buttons on the side. But there is more to it.

The most "unknown feature" in the position control is probably the use of the mouse wheel. Using the mouse wheel allows you to adjust either just the pan or just the tilt position of the fixture. First you have to make sure that the position control has the 'focus'. Usually once you click on the position control (either on a button or on any other area of the control) it automatically gets the focus. You can also move the focus from one control to the next by pressing the 'TAB' key. Holding down the 'Shift' key while pressing the 'TAB' key will set the focus to the previous control. (Sawy Windows users will find this very intuitive). Usually the position control is the first control, therefor after selecting a fixture one 'Tab' will select the position control.

But lets get back to the mouse wheel. Scrolling the mouse wheel will adjust the 'tilt' position of the fixture without modifying the 'pan' position. This is actually more useful then you might think. Now you probably wonder, how you might adjust the 'pan' position using the mouse wheel. Try holding down the Control ('Ctrl') key while using the mouse wheel and you will see

But there are more ways to adjust the position. Here are a couple of key strokes which can be used to set the fixture to certain values (assuming the position control has the focus):

'Home': Will 'home' the fixture. Meaning it pan and tilt will be in the center. That is usually a good starting point to adjust the position, since most likely the light will point straight down on the stage.

'End': Probably less useful, will set the fixture to it's full values.

'Page Up': Will set the Tilt position to zero, without modifying the pan position.

'Page Down': Will set the Tilt position to full, without modifying the pan position.

'Ctrl'+'Page Up': Will set the Pan position to zero, without modifying the tilt position.

'Ctrl'+'Page Down': Will set the Pan position to full, without modifying the tilt position.

Arrow keys: same as clicking on the arrow buttons.

One more word to the arrow buttons and arrow keys. Clicking/Pressing an arrow button/key allows for the finest adjustment to the fixture. If the fixture has 16 bit adjustments for pan/tilt (which most better fixture do), then pressing the arrow buttons will make an almost unnoticable adjustment. By holding down the arrow key/button, the adjustment will acellerate to the next 'speed' every couple of seconds. Meaning the longer you hold that button, the faster the light adjusts.

And last there is, what I call the "Hidden Bonus Feature". I don't really know if it is very useful, but I put it in, so that Lighting Designers have something to play with when they are bored.

For someone like me which is using Windows for a long time, I do use the mouse wheel constantly. But there seem to be users out there who still don't use it that often. E.g. did you know that you can not just use the mouse wheel to scroll up and down (I could not imagine using an Internet Browser without a mouse wheel), but that you can also click on it? Anyway, try "clicking" the mouse wheel button (yes, it is indeed a clickable button) in the position control and see what happens. Clicking the button again to disable the 'feature'. Have fun with it

By the way, all the adjustments mentioned above will also work in multiselection. See Tips and Tricks Part 1 for more on multiselection. E.g. using the scroll wheel will adjust the tilt position of all selected fixtures relative to their current position.
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