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ETC Element vs Congo Kid Lighting desk for secondary school

#1 User is offline   howartp 

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:12 PM

Good morning.

As per other recent threads, we are building a new auditorium at our secondary school and looking to replace our ETC Smartfade ML.

We've been suggested the ETC Element, and following several evenings watching the excellent video tutorials and playing with the offline editor, I booked an onsite demo. This went great and I was all set on getting it, when I asked about moving heads.

We do both cue-list theatre performances and on-the-fly talent shows, and will have two or three moving heads. With the current desk we set some focus presets for areas of the stage etc, then recall them with Focus+[preset #] , Colour+[preset #], etc. With the Element, I'm told this is only possible using the ML Control panel via the mouse/touchscreen or optional USB keyboard.

The demo guy suggested I look at the Congo Kid, which allows you to assign all of the pallettes (as well as groups, effects, etc) to the fader flash/select buttons and recall them in the way we're used to, and it also provides manual encoders for pan/tilt adjustment. We arranged that he would have one available at Plasa yesterday which he showed me - but pathetic as it sounds I'm not falling in love with the Congo as I did with the Element. There's lots of buttons and functions we might never use.

Everything on the Element just seemed natural, but even he was struggling with the Congo Kid. (Granted, he's used to the daddy Congo and some of the keys have moved, and also being a live demo at Plasa his colleagues had been showing other features so it took him a while to work out what options and modes had been enabled by them)

Has anyone any thoughts or advice here? I kinda want the Element, but with some of the Fader buttons used as Focus/Colour Presets. I'm happy using the mouse/touchscreen to setup pallettes or live scenes for the cue stack, but running on the fly with them doesn't seem right?

Thanks in advance.

Peter

#2 User is offline   TomG 

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:24 PM

Working with moving heads is less than ideal in the element, and really does require the use of a touch screen or mouse.

Control via the screen or mouse is not as accurate, when working at speed, as encoders are. Recalling pallets and colours are all via virtual buttons but are recorded using a command line syntax.

I personally haven't got on with the element over the last two years, and have found it to be less intuitive than some others I've used.

It also has a limited patching system, eg to use universe 2 you have to add 512 to the address to get the system address. Eg, channel 1 on univers 2 is actually 513.
Regards, Tom Glover

Currently studying FdSc Broadcast Technology (BET) at Ravensbourne, 2010 - 2012.


#3 User is offline   Smallsy 

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:49 PM

View PostTomG, on 19 April 2012 - 01:24 PM, said:

It also has a limited patching system, eg to use universe 2 you have to add 512 to the address to get the system address. Eg, channel 1 on univers 2 is actually 513.



Try using:
[Channel] [@] [2][/][1][Enter]


I've found the patch system really good, with a vast library of ready to use fixtures. The ETC guys will quickly make you what you want up for you if you are struggling. I havn't used an Element but I'm using an Ion every day and I couldn't tell you how good it is. You can busk a show very easily on subs or record cues and run as a playback all very easily.

The Element supports two touchscreens. You can create macros and palettes and recall things very easy via a quick touch of the screen on the Direct Selects. I couldn't speak highly enough of the Eos Family Desk.

Let me know if you have any questions






This post has been edited by Smallsy: 19 April 2012 - 02:39 PM


#4 User is offline   TomG 

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:11 PM

View PostSmallsy, on 19 April 2012 - 01:49 PM, said:

View PostTomG, on 19 April 2012 - 01:24 PM, said:

It also has a limited patching system, eg to use universe 2 you have to add 512 to the address to get the system address. Eg, channel 1 on univers 2 is actually 513.



Try using:
[Channel] [@] [2][/][1][Enter]

<snip>



If I had only know that the other week my life would have been so much easier. I'm sure with some more time I could get to like the desk, once I understand how it thinks.

I've had a few problems with sub's mainly them not recording what I want them to, or playing back something that there not meant to, even when it looks correctly recorded in blind mode. This is most probably operator error more than a desk fault.
Regards, Tom Glover

Currently studying FdSc Broadcast Technology (BET) at Ravensbourne, 2010 - 2012.


#5 User is offline   howartp 

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 04:10 PM

View PostSmallsy, on 19 April 2012 - 01:49 PM, said:


The Element supports two touchscreens. You can create macros and palettes and recall things very easy via a quick touch of the screen on the Direct Selects. I couldn't speak highly enough of the Eos Family Desk

Hi Smallsy,

I realise the Element has two screens (touch if we can afford it) but do you know that it definitely does allow Direct Selects on there? I know the Congo has a Direct Select panel onscreen, but afaik do far, the Element is limited to the ML panel buttons?

What I'm considering at the moment, since I posted, is an X-Keys input device in hardware mode; this functions as a USB keyboard and sends keystroke command sequences when you press buttons - I'm thinking Alt+F, 1 for Focus Palette 1 etc...?

Anyone any comments on this or the rest of the thread?

Peter

#6 User is offline   Smallsy 

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 06:00 PM

View Posthowartp, on 19 April 2012 - 04:10 PM, said:

View PostSmallsy, on 19 April 2012 - 01:49 PM, said:

The Element supports two touchscreens. You can create macros and palettes and recall things very easy via a quick touch of the screen on the Direct Selects. I couldn't speak highly enough of the Eos Family Desk

Hi Smallsy,

I realise the Element has two screens (touch if we can afford it) but do you know that it definitely does allow Direct Selects on there? I know the Congo has a Direct Select panel onscreen, but afaik do far, the Element is limited to the ML panel buttons?

What I'm considering at the moment, since I posted, is an X-Keys input device in hardware mode; this functions as a USB keyboard and sends keystroke command sequences when you press buttons - I'm thinking Alt+F, 1 for Focus Palette 1 etc...?

Anyone any comments on this or the rest of the thread?

Peter


Hey Peter,

As I said I don't have a Element, so not fully 100% on all the software for that model. Looking at the offline editor it looks like it doesn't have the Direct Selects... Thats a shame, I don't no why it can't.

In relation to your second question I've got a X-Keys. I've actually set it up so I just use it for the offline editor and so don't have a button that would do Focus Palette 1. It's just a close replica to the Ion layout. But I'm sure setting it up so a key press does [Alt + F] [wait 0.1s] [1] [Enter] would work, thats exactly what the x-keys is designed for, making light work of keystrokes.

Let me know if you need any more help, otherwise do ring ETC up, there very helpful.

Sam



#7 User is offline   howartp 

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 06:12 PM

Thanks Sam.

Good to know you use X-Keys, albeit offline - I have three of the Switch Interfaces for various purposes, but not yet used any of the key-based units.

Peter

#8 User is offline   Liamb 

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 09:50 AM

The Element does allow you to make direct selections of channels on the touch screen. If I poke 1, 3, 3, 5, 7 the command line goes ch1 + 3 - 3 + 5 + 7

HTH

Liam

#9 User is offline   IRW 

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 10:48 AM

View PostLiamb, on 20 April 2012 - 09:50 AM, said:

The Element does allow you to make direct selections of channels on the touch screen. If I poke 1, 3, 3, 5, 7 the command line goes ch1 + 3 - 3 + 5 + 7

HTH

Liam


But it doesn't allow you to dedicate a screen (or part of a screen) to 'pallette' direct selects, as you can on the higher spec consoles. However, if you bring up the ML Controls panel, I believe there are some available there!

This post has been edited by IRW: 20 April 2012 - 10:51 AM

Ian Wilson
IRWDesign.com
Bespoke Performance & Event Software


Developer of IngeniusPro & TriggerPoint

#10 User is offline   Liamb 

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 11:46 AM

I think on the latest software release there is an ability to select different types of palletes with the existing int pallette button by using either the shift key or softkeys. Another solution could possibly be with the use macro's, I'll investigate...

The Element can be set up to busk but it's not an intrinsic straight out of the box option you still need a decent amount of pre-programming.

#11 User is offline   JDLX 

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 12:36 PM

If your budget stretches to it you could look at the ETC Ion, which runs almost identical software to the Element but provides more comprehensive control of intelligent fixtures.

#12 User is offline   howartp 

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 01:48 PM

View PostIRW, on 20 April 2012 - 10:48 AM, said:

...it doesn't allow you to dedicate a screen (or part of a screen) to 'pallette' direct selects, as you can on the higher spec consoles. However, if you bring up the ML Controls panel, I believe there are some available there!

Thanks IRW, that's what I thought. I know there are some on the ML Controls panel, but they are small and not many without scrolling.

View PostLiamb, on 20 April 2012 - 11:46 AM, said:

I think on the latest software release there is an ability to select different types of palletes with the existing int pallette button by using either the shift key or softkeys. Another solution could possibly be with the use macro's, I'll investigate...

The Element can be set up to busk but it's not an intrinsic straight out of the box option you still need a decent amount of pre-programming.

Thanks Liamb, investigation much appreciated.

View PostJDLX, on 20 April 2012 - 12:36 PM, said:

If your budget stretches to it you could look at the ETC Ion, which runs almost identical software to the Element but provides more comprehensive control of intelligent fixtures.


Does anyone know the relative pricing of ETC desks - all the websites seem to be 'Price on demand'. The price for the Element in our budget at the moment is 2,500, but I don't know which one - I'm wanting the 40-250 or 60-250.

Peter

#13 User is offline   IRW 

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 02:33 PM

View Posthowartp, on 20 April 2012 - 01:48 PM, said:

Does anyone know the relative pricing of ETC desks - all the websites seem to be 'Price on demand'. The price for the Element in our budget at the moment is £2,500, but I don't know which one - I'm wanting the 40-250 or 60-250.

Peter



Is that including or excluding VAT?! I've been quoted about £3K (excluding VAT) for an Element 40-250. I believe for an ION you're looking more around £5K, not sure about the higher ones!

This post has been edited by IRW: 20 April 2012 - 02:34 PM

Ian Wilson
IRWDesign.com
Bespoke Performance & Event Software


Developer of IngeniusPro & TriggerPoint

#14 User is offline   howartp 

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 06:31 PM

View PostIRW, on 20 April 2012 - 02:33 PM, said:

View Posthowartp, on 20 April 2012 - 01:48 PM, said:

Does anyone know the relative pricing of ETC desks - all the websites seem to be 'Price on demand'. The price for the Element in our budget at the moment is 2,500, but I don't know which one - I'm wanting the 40-250 or 60-250.

Peter


Is that including or excluding VAT?! I've been quoted about 3K (excluding VAT) for an Element 40-250. I believe for an ION you're looking more around 5K, not sure about the higher ones!


Ex-VAT I think.

All I'm going on is the breakdown for the whole project, which says "Main lighting desk: 2,500"; I was assumeing that this included options, config, installation etc because the whole breakdown is listed in chunks and thus the purchase of the desk itself would be less, but as you say I've just googled it and not found anything less than 3k.

Peter

#15 User is offline   david.elsbury 

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 07:22 PM

IIRC ETC have some pretty strict guidelines regarding on-line advertising so that's why the usual response is "if you want specific pricing, contact a dealer." But I think that dealers are OK to email pricing privately though.

HTH
David
David Elsbury
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"Technician like ninja... live in shadow... move in silence"

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