Chapter 19. Live Programming (Busking)

19.1. Adding individual channels using preset faders

Individual channels can be added into the show as required using the Intensities Windows. Channels can be added using the faders in either the Programmer View or the Presets View.

Channels added in the Programmer View are added into the programmer in the usual way. If the programmer is cleared then they are cleared. Channels added using the Presets View are not affected by operations on the programmer - they act like preset faders.

Channels added in both views are affected by the Grand Master and by the pressing of SWAP buttons.

19.2. Over-ride / take-over

The MagicQ architecture supports the combined use of the programmer, playbacks and preset faders so that there is no need to constantly swap between modes, losing your overridden effects. This makes the console ideal for busking shows.

ADD and SWAP buttons work regardless of whether you are programming or playing back. Similarly the programmer works as an over-ride, regardless of what you are doing.

By default, the console makes no distinction between programming and run modes. Some operators may wish to restrict what is allowed in run mode – this can be configured in the Setup Window. You can choose to disable programming or to disable modification of programmed Cues / Cue Stacks.

19.3. Viewing Cues and Cue Stacks

The Cue and Cue Stack Windows are used to monitor and adjust the execution of Cues and Cue Stacks respectively. Both windows monitor the currently selected playback.

For a Cue Stack with a single Cue recorded on it, then the Cue Stack window will not be of much interest. In this case the Cue can be monitored and adjusted using the Cue Window.

For a Cue Stack with multiple Cues, the Cue Stack window can be used to watch the progress of the Cue Stack. The position within the Cue Stack can be changed along with the timing information. You can make the Cue Stack window follow the Cue currently executing on the selected playback - set the Display Current Cue option to YES in the Cue Stack Window.

19.4. Modifying chase speed / contrast

To modify the speed or contrast of a Cue Stack that is running with Chase Timing, press the SELECT button for the playback, and then adjust the encoders in the Cue Stack Window. The chase direction and chase type (Normal, Bounce, Random) can also be selected. Pressing and holding the SELECT button of a Playback with a chase on it automatically opens the Cue Stack Window.

Use the top right encoder to modify individual attributes - Position, Beam, Colour, Intensity In and Intensity Out (soft button selects the different attributes). Once the speed of an attribute is changed it is no longer controlled by the master chase speed. Modifying the attribute so that it is the same as the master chase speed brings it back under control of the master chase speed.

Modifications are retained even after the playback is released.

19.5. Modifying FX parameters

To modify the parameters of a FX that is programmed in a Cue, press the SELECT button for the playback, and then adjust the encoders in the Cue Window.

FX size, shape, spread and speed are all adjustable.

Modifications are retained even after the playback is released.

19.6. Stop / Starting Cue Stacks

Cue Stacks can be started and stopped using the GO and STOP buttons associated with the playback.

For wing playbacks, make the playback the current playback and then press the GO / STOP buttons in the manual control section.

19.7. Jumping to a Cue in a Cue Stack

There are several ways to jump to a specific Cue in a Cue Stack.

Press the S button of the Playback, enter a Cue Id on the keypad and press the manual GO button.

In the Cue Stack window, use the cursor keys or press the touch screen to move the cursor to the required Cue. Press the GOTO CUE soft button to jump directly to the Cue. Alternatively key in the Cue ID within the Cue Stack of the Cue you wish to jump to and press GOTO CUE.

Pressing the PRELOAD CUE button rather than the GOTO CUE button selects the Cue that will be executed when the GO button for the Cue Stack is next pressed. This enables the next Cue to be selected in advance of the Cue being required.

Pressing ENTER in the first column of the Cue Stack also jumps to the specified Cue.

19.8. Over-riding using the programmer

When playing back a show, you can over-ride the programmed effect in the playbacks by using the programmer. For instance, assume that you are running a yellow circle on your MAC500s. You wish to change the colour to Red.

Select the MAC500s from the Group Window.

In the Colour Window select the Red palette entry.

If you wish to remove the over-ride then you can either clear all off the programmer by pressing CLEAR. Alternatively you can remove only certain attributes or certain heads by selecting the items with the cursor in the Prog Window and pressing the REMOVE soft button.

When you press CLEAR or remove selected heads from the programmer, the programming will be immediately removed and the heads will be controlled by the playbacks as if the programming had not been applied. This is different to some other consoles where clearing the programmer has non deterministic effects.

Note that in order to over-ride individual attributes of an intelligent head you need to be in SELECT BY CHAN rather than SELECT BY HEAD mode. If you are in SELECT BY HEAD mode then all of the head attributes will be set to what is in the programmer.

19.9. Adding in new FX

MagicQ does not make a distinction between programming and run modes so it is always possible to busk new FX. For instance, assume that you have an active playback which has the MAC500s statically focused on the centre vocals position. You now wish to temporarily add in a tilt saw.

Select the MAC500s from the Group Window.

In the Prog Window, select the ADD FX soft button.

Select the TILT SAW FX.

Adjust the encoder wheels as appropriate.

If you wish to set the speed / size of the FX before you make it live on stage, then go into BLIND mode before you ADD in the FX. Then you can adjust the chase without affecting the stage output. Use the Move View in the Outputs Window to get a 2D picture of how your FX will look. Then when you are happy, go out of BLIND mode and the FX will appear on stage.

Alternatively use the ADD FX ZERO SIZE soft button – this adds an FX into the programmer exactly as when using the ADD FX soft button except that the Zero Size option is set. You can then select the size you want using the SIZE encoder before pressing the ZERO SIZE soft button to clear the Zero Size option.

Use the CHANGE FX soft button to change the waveform of the FX live.

Pressing and releasing BLIND will enable you to busk the FX in and out – e.g. in the chorus / verse transitions.

19.10. Applying palettes with time

Palettes can be applied with a time by simple entering a time in seconds before selecting the palette entry to apply.

For example, to apply a 4.5 second movement from the current position to your programmed centre vocals position, simply type 4.5 and select the vocals position in the Position Window.

The fades are carried out in the programmer (you don’t need any playbacks free). All attributes in the palette are faded regardless of whether they are marked as instant or fading in the personality file.

If you apply a palette with time whilst in FAN mode then the times will be fanned across the different heads in the order that the heads have been selected. See Using Palettes with time.

19.11. Releasing / Clearing with time

Release times can be set on a per Cue Stack basis, in the Cue Stack Options. Default release times can be set up in the Cue Stack, Defaults view including times for Cue Stacks with single Cues and Cue Stacks with multiple Cues.

It is also possible to release a Playback with time by typing a number and then pressing REL. For example, 3 REL releases the currently selected playback over 3 seconds.

In addition it is possible to clear the programmer and to enter and exit blind mode with times. Press 5 CLEAR to clear the programmer over 5 seconds. Press 10 BLIND to enter blind mode over 10 seconds.

19.12. Busking Master

It is possible in the Setup Window to set the manual crossfade fader to be a "busking rate" sub-master from 0 seconds to 10 seconds. The rate is shown in the bottom right of the Status Display. The time is applied to selection of palettes and intensities. When FAN mode is selected the change is applied in turn across each of the selected heads.

19.13. Programmer Master

It is possible to make a Playback into a Programmer Master. Record an empty Cue onto a Playback and then set the Cue Stack option, Function, Programmer Master.

When the Playback is activated by pressing the GO button then the fader level becomes the Programmer level. Releasing the fader level causes the Programmer level to go back to 100%.

When the fader is less set to less than 100%, the FLASH button can be used to bump in the Programmer at 100%.

The GO button and PAUSE buttons are used to swap Palette values in the Programmer when the Programmer has mixed palette values.

For instance if some heads are set to use the RED palette in the programmer and others using the GREEN palette then pressing GO will swap all the heads using RED palette to use GREEN and all the heads using GREEN palette to use RED.

If there are more than 2 colour Palettes in use in the Programmer, then the colours rotate around all the different Palettes.

Odd/Even can be used to easily set up an initial look of 2 or more colour palettes.

Currently only one Programmer Master can be active at a time.

19.14. Live Macro

From v1.9.2.3 MagicQ supports a feature to enable a "Live Macro" which can be used to preload playback changes before excuting them all at once with the BIG GO button.

Press CTRL + BIG GO to start recording the Live Macro. The status bar will show light blue and indicate REC LIVE whilst recording the Live Macro. When all the required buttons have been pressed and faders moved then press CTRL + BIG GO again to stop recording the Live Macro.

When a Live Macro has been recorded then the status bar indicates LIVE MACRO and the BIG GO button flashes fast to indicate it is armed, ready to go. When armed, pressing the BIG GO button will execute the Live Macro, regardless of any other button function set for the BIG GO button.

The Live Macro is always replayed with immediate timing regardless of the timing used to record the macro - this enables simultaneous playback of multiple items which would not be possible through manual operation.

A Live Macro can be re-recorded before it has been executed. Simply press CTRL + BIG GO to re-record the Live Macro and follow the steps above.

When armed, pressing BACKSPACE will cancel the Live Macro and the BIG GO button returns to its normal function.

The BIG GO can be set to always be a LIVE MACRO button, avoiding the need to use CTRL when recording the Live Macro. In Setup, View Settings, Playback, set Crossfade Button function to Live Macro. Note that even when this function is set, CTRL + BIG GO can be used to re-record the Live Macto.

The Live Macro is recorded into the Macro Window at the highest free macro and is named Live Macro. It can be viewed and steps can be edited as for normal key macros. It is automatically deleted when the Live Macro has been executed. Since it is a live fucntion, it is not saved to show files and hence is not preserved over a reset or shut down.

The Live Macro is primarily intended for recording playback buttons. It is possible to record programmer buttons and even presses in Windows, but the scope is limited since the playback/programmer buttons are not executed as they are being recorded (unlike normal key macros) and hence there is no feedback of the pressed items.

19.15. Group Cues

Group Cues enables shows to be built up based on group programming rather than individual head programming. FX, fans and split times are programmed within the group rather than on an individual basis.

Group Cues provide a very powerful and simple way of changing a show to use new fixtures types without having to reprogram Cues. If the group is changed to have different or additional heads then the programming is automatically recalculated over the new Heads within the group.

It has the advantage over morphing that information is retained in the Group based Cues even if very different fixtures are used, and even allows the entire Patch to be deleted and new different heads patched in their place. It can even be used mid show to repurpose a head if one fails.

MagicQ has previously supported Group based FX since 2015. Group Cues extends Group based FX so that the entire Cue, including the levels and times is now based on Groups attributes rather than on individual heads.

Group Cues is enabled via the Group Cues setting in Setup, View Settings, Cue Storage. The options are:


MagicQ activates levels, times and FX by Head. MagicQ does not store levels or times as Group Cues. Group FX can continue to be stored in Cues.

Prefer Group Cues

MagicQ activates attributes and FX by Group. MagicQ stores Cues with Groups and Heads.

Prefer Group Cues (Warn)

MagicQ activate`s attributes and FX by Group. MagicQ warns if Cues are recorded with individual head levels or FX

Group Cues Only

MagicQ activates attributes and FX by Group. Cues can only be recorded if Programmer does not have individual head levels or FX

MagicQ continues to support selection of heads using Groups or Heads. Groups are selected either directly from the Group Window or using keypad shortcuts. When Groups are selected they show red in the Group Window. Heads can be selected directly from Group, View Heads or from keypad shortcuts and automatically deselect any selected Groups.

When Group Cues is in operation then whenever Groups are selected then MagicQ will activate attributes and FX by Group rather than by Head. For each selected Group the level and fade time of each attribute used by Heads in the Group can be specified.

Operation and programming occurs exactly the same as normal programming - Locating, using palettes, using attribute encoders, and using keypad shortcuts.

If individual Heads are selected from the Group, View Heads Window or from the keypad then the Groups will not be selected (no Groups coloured red in Group Window) and MagicQ activates by Head rather than by Group.

If Heads are subselected - for example by pressing NEXT HEAD, SINGLE or ODD/EVEN then whilst the subselection is in operation then MagicQ activates by Head. If ALL is then pressed then MagicQ will revert to activating by Group.

At any time you can deselect the Groups by pressing the DESELECT GROUPS soft button in the Group Window. This button is only shown when Group Cues is enabled - when Group Cues is disabled this is the ADD GROUP FX button.

When recording to Cues, the Cues can contain Group based attribute levels and Head based levels. The Head based levels take priority over the Group based levels.

Heads can be in multiple Groups so it is possible to create Cues with multiple Groups referencing the same Head. The latest Group added (lowest down the list in Prog and Cue windows) takes priority.

19.15.1. Group Levels

When a Group of heads is first activated they start from the current value of the first head in the Group.

If the Heads are Located then MagicQ marks those attributes as Located in the Group Cue. MagicQ will always use the current Locate value for the Heads, not the value when the Group Cue was created - this enables Heads in the Group to be changed and the Locate Value of the new Heads to be used. The Prog and Cue Windows show L when using a Located attribute.

When a Palette is selected then MagicQ stores the Palette. The Prog and Cue Windows will just show the Palette. Any changes using the encoder wheels will be applied as an offset to the Palette - the Prog and Cue windows show as the Palette + or - the offset.

When hard values are selected (using encoder wheels, soft buttons, or keypad) then MagicQ will store the range information wherever possible, as well as the hard value. This helps when selecting Groups with heads of different types and when changing the Heads within a Group.

Group levels are always stored as 16bit, regardless of the Heads that are currently in the Group - thus making enabling easy change between Heads with 16bit and 8bit attributes.

If Heads in the Group have virtual dimmers then any Intensity in the Group Levels will be applied to the virtual dimmers.

Wherever possible it is recommended to use Palettes rather than hard values in Group levels. This is particularly important when using Groups with mixed Head types, where hard values on some attributes (e.g. Strobe channel) may result in different operation on the different Head Types. By using Palettes, the correct values are used for each Head Type.

Whenever Heads are added, removed or reordered from the Group the levels will be recalculated according to the new Head types.

19.15.2. Fanning

Group Cues support fanning - simply select the Group and fan the heads as normal. The fan will be stored as part of the Cue including the fan type, fan parts and fan segments. The fan will be recalculated over all the Heads in the Group whenever the Group is changed.

The fan is shown in the Prog and Cue window with the start and end range of the fan separated by a > (Fan from End) or a <> (Fan Symmetric) or a >> (Fan Asymmetric).

Whenever Heads are added, removed or reordered from the Group the fanning will be recalculated.

Group Cues can be fanned between two palettes - when in Fan mode choosing two Palettes in turn will fan between the two Palettes. Note that the two Palettes must be chosen within 5 seconds of each other.

19.15.3. Group Elements

For Groups without Elements set, the levels will be set for all Elements of a Head.

For Groups with Elements set, the levels will be set for the Elements from that Group on each Head in the Group.

For Groups with Head Elements set, the levels will be set for the Head Elements from that Group.

Groups that are only Element Groups (i.e. have Type set to Elements) are not used in Group Cues.

19.15.4. Fade Times

Group levels use the same fade times as Head levels by default - i.e. the Int, Pos, Col, Beam times from Prog, View Times, Simple View and Cue, View Times, Simple View.

In addition a fade time, delay time and fade type can be set as required for each Group attribute, in the same way that individual times can be set for individual Heads.

When set, the fade time, delay time and fade type apply to that attribute for all Heads within the Group.

The fade times can be fanned using the standard automatic fan times syntax - for example 3* will offset the fade times across the Group over 3 seconds, whilst 3*+ will offset into centre of the Group.

Fanned fade times are shown in the Prog, View Times, Adv View and Cue, View Times, Adv View and can be entered directly in the attribute field.

Fanned fade times can also be viewed and set in the Prog, View Times, Simple View and Cue, View Times, Simple View. Select the required Group (s) in order to view/change just those Groups in the Individual Times rows.

Manual fanned delay and fade times can be set in the attribute fields using the standard individual head syntax and are shown with a >> for asymmetrical, a <> for symmetrical and a > for from the end.

Whenever Heads are added, removed or reordered from the Group the times will be recalculated.

19.15.5. Recording

Cues are recorded in the normal way. It is possible to merge and to remove Group data from Cues just like for individual Head data. Recording of selected heads and record masking is supported.

In the Prefer Group Cues (Warn) mode, then when recording to a Cue if the Programmer contains individual head data (levels or FX) then MagicQ displays a warning box, to help prevent accidental recording of non Group based Cues.

In the Group Cues Only mode, when recording to a Cue if the Programmer contains individual head data (levels or FX) then the record is totally blocked.

Palettes always get recorded by Head regardless of whether the information is in the Programmer as Group attributes or Head levels and regardless of the Group Cues mode. This enables, for example, positions or gobo focus to be set up for each individual Head.

19.15.6. Including / Update

Cues can be included in the normal way and both the Group and Head data from the Cue will be loaded into the programmer. Including of selected heads and masking is supported. When using selected heads only the Groups that are selected will be loaded into the programmer, along with any individual data for those selected heads.

Update works in the normal way and both the Group and Head data will be updated into the Cue.

The Update only method of updating is supported for Group Cues like with Head Cues.

Patch Offset can be applied using Group Cues just like for individual Head Cues.

19.15.7. Active / Snapshot

Attributes can be made active in the normal way. Attributes for the selected Groups that are active on Playbacks will be brought into the programmer, along with any individual head data for those selected heads.

Snapshot will always snapshot Head values rather than Group values, so this is not recommended if you wish to keep your show using Group Cues.

19.15.8. Copying Head values

Attribute data can be copied between Groups of Heads using the normal copy head syntax. If a Group is specified then Group attributes will be copied rather than individual Head attributes.

When copying heads Group FX can now copied from one Group to another. It is also possible to Split FX and Join FX for Group FX in the Prog window.

19.15.9. File Saving / Exporting / Merging

Group Cues are saved in show files in the normal way. As with all new MagicQ features, shows saved with Group Cues will load into previous versions of MagicQ, but any Group levels will be ignored by the old software. If you have a show file with Group Cues which you wish to load into an earlier version of software, then first use MagicQ PC (or a console with Group Cue support) to convert the show to use Head programming.

In the Cue Store window Cues can be converted between Head Cues and Group Cues using the SET GROUP CUE and SET HEAD CUE soft buttons.

When converting to Group Cues, MagicQ attempts to match the Head values to Groups by analysing the values in the Cue. If there is no matching Group with the required heads then those attributes will remain as individual Heads and not be converted to Group levels. Note that fanned attributes and fanned times will not be converted as the Head Cues do not hold any of the fan information an information. MagicQ also converts normal FX to Group FX.

When converting to Head Cues, MagicQ applies fanned attributes and times from the Group Cue - but the fan information is not stored with the Head information, so the details of the fan are then lost. MagicQ does not convert Group FX back into normal FX since MagicQ has supported Group FX since 2015 and therefore the Group FX will run on all recent MagicQ systems.

Press SHIFT + SET ALL GROUP CUE and SET ALL HEAD CUE to convert the entire show.

MagicQ shows can be exported in the normal way. All data for selected Heads will be exported. In addition all Group levels/FX for Selected Groups will be exported.

19.15.10. Updating Groups

Groups can be updated at any time. Removing Heads from a Group will stop them from being part of Group Cues that use that Group. Adding Heads to a Group will put them into any Group Cues that use that Group.

When using Group Cues we recommend to create your own groups with their own names before starting programming and to use these for programming Group Cues. If the auto generated Groups are used then when adding Heads of the same type to a show they will end up in the auto generated groups which may not be desired.