Tracks – What they are, and how they can benefit you
The Tracks feature within the Light-O-Rama sequence editor is often confusing to people. This article will try and explain it for you.
When you are working within a sequence there are two people who control what is going on. You and the computer. As we all know computers like to store things in their language. However, the LOR programmers gave us a method to store things in our language. (Or as I call it, human readable form.)
Internally, LOR will store the channel information with a tag called “SavedIndex”. This index never changes, regardless of what you do to the channel. This means if you reassigned a channel from “Controller 1/Channel 1/Red Bush” to “Controller 3/Channel 8/Santa” the “SavedIndex” does not change.
Furthermore if you were to delete “Controller 1/Channel 1/Red Bush” and then add in “Controller 1/Channel 1/Green Tree” the “SavedIndex” would be different.
This can cause issues when you go to update sequences from year to year.
Let’s go over an example of how you might set up Tracks, to get the most out of them.
In this example you have 32 channels, or 2 16 channel controllers.
1) Create an animation sequence. (We don’t need music here, we’re just working on our template)
2) You will have 32 channels for this sequence. They will have default names. *Do not move any channels.*
3) If you already know your layout, you can go ahead and re-name the channels in this track. *Do not move any channels.*
4) Edit -> Duplicate Track. Name it “Working Track”
5) Change to the working track.
6) Now, click/drag channels into the order you want. *Do not simply rename channels*, but click/drag to re-arrange. [That’s important.]
7) “Edit -> Export/Import Configuration -> Export” and save to a file.
When you create a second track, you are visually making a second copy, but internally the events are only stored once. This is why when you import the sequences from last year, everything is in the right place. With the steps above you don’t change the internal associations.
Note that you will want to work within the “Working Track” from here on out. Do not make changes to your “Default” track. (Which you can rename by clicking the “Track” button in the toolbar. It’s near the “Timings” button.)
Now when you import into another sequence from last year you will “Import” the LCC file created in step 7 above. Your events should now be associated with the correct channels.
Why? The LOR software keeps track of the channels internally, via a method not shown to you on the front-end of the software. When you rename a channel, the actual internal association does not change.
Now, let’s say you want to add a 3rd controller to your display:
- Create a new animation sequence, and import your Channel Configuration File.
- In the “DEFAULT” track, add 16 channels to the *BOTTOM*
- Now, the fun part, (at least as of 2.9.4) you will have to Right-Click -> Copy to Other Track each of those 16 channels that you just added. It’s tedious, but it’s important to do.
You can now change to the “working” track, move the channels around as needed. Remember, *do not simply rename channels*, but click/drag to re-arrange. [That’s important!]
Putting it all together
Let’s say in the above example you have 4 bushes the first year (32 channel configuration) and each bush had two colors. Now for your upgraded display (48 channels) you have 4 bushes with 4 colors. When you created your working track, you moved the two new colors to be near the 2 old colors. You now want to import the new channel configuration to a sequence from last year.
You simply need to open a sequence from last year, and import your new LCC (Light-O-Rama Channel Configuration) file. Since the internal “SavedIndex” is now the same, the events from last year will remain associated with their current channel. The new channels, for example the new colors on the bushes, will be empty, as they were not in the sequence last year.
With the above method you can make changes to your channel configuration, and not have it adversely affect your current sequences. It does require planning and initial setup, but it does work.