Chapter 44. System Management

44.1. Starting Up

On PC and Mac systems click on the MagicQ application icon. On MagicQ console systems hold the power button on for 1 second.

On first start up an introductory window is displayed on the screen. You are prompted to choose demo shows or to continue the last show. It is possible to turn this option off so that MagicQ automatically starts into the last show.

When MagicQ starts up it loads the last show file that was saved – either a file explicitly saved by you, or the last backup file it automatically saved.

44.2. Shutting Down

To shut MagicQ down, press the QUIT soft button in the Setup Window. When asked for confirmation, select yes. MagicQ consoles automatically power off when the shutdown sequence is complete.

image

On MagicQ consoles the console must be shut down correctly to avoid damage to the heard disk. Removing power to the console when it is running may cause problems with the file system. Normally this will only result in a subsequent slow start-up whilst the system repairs the disk – however in certain circumstances the file system may become corrupted. If you always follow the instructions for shutting down you will have no problems.

CONSOLES THAT ARE NOT SHUTDOWN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE INSTRUCTIONS WILL INVALIDATE THEIR WARRANTY.

For situations where users regularly just disconnect the power from the console rather than shutting it down correctly it is possible to force a fast shut down on power fail. If the empty file "fast_power_fail.txt" is placed in the main MagicQ folder (up one from the show folder) then when power is lost the console will only wait 10 seconds for a user cancel before auto shutting down. This will help to avoid the battery going flat and the potential damage to the file system.

44.3. Saving Shows

When you are programming a show the show is stored in memory. In order to store your show on the disk you need to press the SAVE SHOW soft button in the Setup Window.

Whilst programming, you should regularly save your show, so that if the unexpected happens and the power fails your show data is not lost. You can chose any filename. The console will automatically set the file extension to .shw.

By default, MagicQ saves a backup of your show to disk shortly after you makes changes – you will see it show “AutoS” in the Status Display. It uses the same show name but with the file extension .sbk.

It is a good idea to save your show to different file names so that you have various points you can back-track to if things go wrong. For example, save the show as myshow-patch.shw after you have patched and then as myshow-final.shw after you have finished programming.

When you shut down MagicQ through the QUIT soft button in the Setup Window, it automatically saves a backup copy of your show with a .sbk extension. When you subsequently restart MagicQ this file will be re-loaded. This ensures that MagicQ starts up as it was when the QUIT soft button was pressed.

The Setup Window indicates when the show has not been saved (or autosaved) for over 10 minutes.

MagicQ consoles have a large hard disk to enable storage of a virtually infinite number of shows.

44.3.1. Show file name auto increment

MagicQ supports auto incrementing show file names. To start an auto incrementing show file, save a show file with the last part of the name set as _001. When you next press SAVE SHOW, MagicQ will suggest saving to _002. Press ENTER to accept, or edit the name to save to a different name.

Note that in order to avoid accidentally saving to incrementing files, all 3 digits must be present - _1 or _10 is not supported. When the number _999 is reached MagicQ will not auto increment and will request a new name.

Please note that over use of the auto increment feature will lead to high disk usage. It is important to clear out old versions once the show is finished.

To delete all old revisions of the current show file, go to File Manager, and press SHIFT and REMOVE OLD REVS. This will remove all revisions of the current show file that have a lower revision number. It will not remove the current show file.

44.4. Backing up to an external system

It is a good idea to back up your show to an external system. This ensures that should the unexpected happen you can transfer your show to another console. In a touring environment where the console is being moved every day we recommend you back up your show to an external system before moving the console.

You can either backup by transferring files over network or via USB memory stick. To backup to USB memory stick, first insert a USB memory stick into the USB slot in the front or the back of the console then press the BACKUP TO USB soft button in the Setup Window.

The USB memory stick should be formatted for a standard Windows file system (VFAT) – they generally come like this. This enables the memory stick to be used in both the console and standard PCs running Windows.

44.5. Loading Shows

You can load a show that you have previously saved using the LOAD SHOW soft button in the Setup Window. If you load a new show it will erase any existing programming. The console will prompt you for confirmation.

Be careful to choose which type of show file you want to load – the .shw files are the ones you saved, whilst the .sbk ones are auto backups.

When MagicQ saves a show file it saves the show data, the show settings and the console settings. By default when a show is loaded, only the show data and settings are loaded – the console settings are not loaded – so the console settings are not affected.

To force loading of the console settings from a show file, hold SHIFT and press LOAD SHOW+CON. A list of Load Options is shown enabling the user to choose which console settings they wish to load.

Console Settings

  • Wing Settings
  • Remote Settings
  • Mode Settings
  • Network Settings
  • Media Server Settings
  • MIDI SMPTE Settings
  • Port Settings
  • Multi Console Settings
  • Hardware Settings

Selecting all the options loads the complete console settings and show settings – enabling the complete cloning of a console. Note that the console settings include the network settings and IP address – so if 2 cloned consoles are used on the same network then the IP address should be manually set to different addresses.

44.6. Erasing

To erase the entire show from memory, go to the Setup Window and press the NEW SHOW (was ERASE SHOW) soft button. You will be asked to confirm by selecting YES. You will then be asked for which initial mode you want the console to be set up for, Normal, Theatre Non Track, Theatre Tracking or Hog II Warp. If in doubt, select Normal.

Erasing a show clears all patching, all programming and all palettes. It does not clear console settings such as the configuration of the DMX outputs or the calibration of the touch screen.

44.7. Icon Snapshots / Extras file

Icon snapshots are stored on the MagicQ system/console rather than in the show file - this avoids the show file getting too large. In normal operation MagicQ will save the icon snapshots to the icon folder on the MagicQ system and retrieve them when needed for display.

In order to allow MagicQ shows with icon snapshots to be transferred onto other MagicQ systems, MagicQ now supports an additional "extras" show file with the file extension ".xhw". When a show contains extra data such as snapshots then when the show file is saved using SAVE SHOW or SAVE TO USB then the additional show file is saved at the same time. This "extras" show file contains only the extra icon snapshot data, it does not contain the main programming of your show. If you wish to use your show on a different system with the icon snapshots then you need to copy both the ".shw" and ".xhw" files to the new system. When loading a new show MagicQ automatically checks for the presence of a ".xhw" file and extracts the icon snapshots from that file into the icon folder on the MagicQ system.

The "extras" file is not saved during auto saves and is only loaded (extracted) when the user loads an existing show using LOAD SHOW.

44.8. Import and Export of Show Data and Show Merging

MagicQ supports advanced features for merging shows together, taking selections from particular shows and adding them to other shows.

A selection of Heads, Cues, Cue Stacks or Pages can be exported from a show file to a new file. Only the show data that uses those selected Heads, Cues, Cue Stacks or Pages is present in the new show file. The new show file can then be merged into other show files, with MagicQ repatching the data as required.

44.8.1. Exporting Shows

Press SHIFT and SAVE SHOW (EXPORT SHOW) to export part of the current show. Only the currently selected heads are exported. All groups, palettes, cues and cue stacks that contain one or more of the selected heads are exported – but only with the data from the selected heads.

If no heads are selected then MagicQ looks for items that are selected in the Page, Stack Store, and Cue Store windows. Use SHIFT + the cursor keys to select items in these windows. Therefore complete pages can be exported using the Page Window, complete Cue Stacks (including the Cues they use) from the Cue Stack Store or individual Cues from the Cue Store.

44.8.2. Merging / Importing Shows

Select SHIFT + IMPORT SHOW to merge or import a show. MagicQ gives you a simple menu of Entire Show, Palettes or Advanced.

Entire Show loads the entire show as separate fixtures, i.e. adding the show to the existing show.

Palettes allows just palettes to be loaded from the imported show file. There are further options for choosing just some head types and whether to load Positions, Colours and Beams.

Advanced provides the user with options include choosing whether Settings, Patch, Palettes, Cues, Cue Stacks, Playback assignments, Grids and Curves are loaded from the imported show file. Settings includes show settings, layouts, key macros and automations.

Additionally you can choose whether Palettes, Cues and Pages are merged together, or whether new Palettes, Cues and Pages are generated.

It is also possible to load the data for only selected head types from the imported show file.

If the Merge Heads option is selected then MagicQ merges programmed data from the new file into the heads that match in the original show.

If the Merge Heads is not selected then MagicQ adds the channels to the new show. Channels from the imported show keep their DMX address unless they clash with channels in the original show – in which case they are moved to the first free location.

If the Merge Pages option is selected then Playback assignments are kept on the same Page as they were in the imported show – but they may be moved onto higher Playbacks (e.g. Playback wings) on the same page. This allows, for examples two different shows created on a MQ100 to be merged onto a single MQ200.

44.8.3. Merging different versions of the same show

To merge two versions of a show together select Advanced and then Merge Heads.

MagicQ will merge in Cues and Cue Stacks from the selected show file that are different to the Cues and Cue Stacks in the original show. Note that for this to work you should ensure that the Cues and Cue Stacks that are different in the two show files have different names.

The heads must be the same type in both versions - it is not possible to merge between different fixture types. If the two versions you wish to merge have different fixture types then you must first morph the fixtures in one of the versions to be the same as the other.

44.8.4. USITT ASCII file import

MagicQ supports import of dimmer patch, group, cue level and timing information from USITT ASCII files. In the Patch Window, View Chans, Import USITT.

MagicQ does not support import of non dimmer parameters or more complex fixtures as this is manufacturer specific and not specified in the USITT ASCII format. We will be happy to investigate whether we can add fixture import from the format of your console.

Note that when importing USITT files with both patch and cues, MagicQ expects the PATCH section of the USITT file to be before the CUE section. A few consoles write the PATCH section at the end of the USITT file - for these cases it is necessary to edit the USITT file before improting, to move all the PATCH commands before the CUE Commands.

44.9. Saving and Loading Settings

You can save your favourite show settings to a file. Settings include the options from the Setup Window, the defaults from the Cue Stack Window, the Layouts you have recorded and keyboard macros.

Once you have become familiar with the console, it is a good idea to save your preferred settings to a file so that then when you start a new show you can load your settings in.

44.10. File Manager

You can organise you show files using File Manager in the Setup Window. File Manager supports renaming, moving, copying and deleting of files.

All show files are located in the show directory. The show directory has sub directories for fx, heads and icons.

File manager can operate on both the internal hard disk and external USB memory sticks. To copy a file to the USB stick:

Select HARD DRIVE soft button.

Press COPY and then select the file you wish to copy.

Select USB DRIVE soft button

Select the “.” entry.

Moving is done in a similar way using the MOVE action button. Renaming and deleting use the NAME and REMOVE action buttons respectively.

It is also possible to load shows, settings, icons and new software by clicking on items in the File Manager window.

44.11. Transferring files over network

The console supports remote file system access over the network. Files can be accessed whilst the console is running and outputting Art-Net thus allowing, for instance, users to set up automatic show back-ups to an external server.

Connect the console to the PC or Mac using a network cable.

Configure the IP addresses of the PC / Mac and the console so that they are all on the same IP sub-net. For instance if the console is set to IP address 2.9.200.5, subnet mask 255.0.0.0 then set the host system to IP address 2.9.200.6 subnet mask 255.0.0.0.

Connect to the file system. Under Windows this can be achieved by selecting Network Neighbourhood in Windows Explorer. The console should appear as a computer – if this does not happen immediately then you may need to wait a few minutes for Windows to catch up. You can force Windows to find the console by using Search and searching for a computer – enter the IP address of the console.

On a Mac connect using Finder and selecting the console.

Log in as user magicq with password magicq.

On some Windows systems you may need to create a user account magicq with password magicq to enable Windows to connect to the console.

You can then transfer files between the host and the console. Show files, personality files, FX files and Patch files can all be transferred in this way.

If you have problems putting files onto the console then try pressing the Set Rem Access soft button in the File Manager window.

44.12. Storage of MagicQ user files on PC/Mac

MagicQ now has an option to change where the user data files are stored.

Older installations of MagicQ stored show, head, log and other user data files in the Application folder. Windows and OSX now make it difficult for users to access the Application folder - either forcing files into a Virtual Stores or preventing write access.

This data can now be stored in the User Documents folder which is fully accessible. It is possible to revert back to using the Application folder at any time.

From the top toolbar select Tools, Change Files Location.

44.13. Reports

MagicQ supports printing of the contents of any window to a printer or a pdf file. On PC/Mac select File, Print Window. For spreadsheet views, MagicQ defaults to selecting the most commonly used columns from the window in order that they fit easily on a printed page width. It is possible to modify the column selection as required.

44.14. Status Window

There is a status window in the Setup Window, View System. This shows data associated with the console and with the currently loaded show. This includes show size, data used, last saved times.

The status window also shows all the MagicQ consoles on the network, and all the Art-Net devices on the network.

44.15. Backup Archives

By default the console stores an archive of the show files for every quarter of an hour of the day, and for every day of the week. This enables the user to revert to a previous copy of their show.

Archive files are only made when the console auto saves – so if auto saves are disabled then no archive files will be generated. If the console is set to “auto save on changes” then archive files will only be stored when changes are made. To revert to an archived file press SHIFT and LOAD SHOW in the Setup Window.

Archive files are stored in a special directory that should not be modified by the user. When the user re-loads an archived backup file, the backup file is restored into the standard show directory.

Archive files have the name “backup0530.sbk” to indicate the show file that was recorded just before 5.30am. Daily files are also stored – “backupfri.sbk” indicates the show file that was recorded at the start of Friday. Archive files are overwritten every 24 hours, except for the daily files which are overwritten every 7 days.

44.16. Using shows on different MagicQ products and show versions

In general MagicQ show files are backwards and forwards compatible so you can load any show into any version of software. Loading shows created and modified on newer software versions into older software versions may result in some features not being supported or not working exactly as expected.

In March 2006 new MagicQ consoles were changed from 6 universes to 12 universes. MagicQ software version v1.2.5.4 and above supported 12 universes. In December 2007 ChamSys launched the Pro range of consoles with software version v1.3.4.3 supporting 18 universes.

In May 2010 new MagicQ Pro 2010 consoles supported 32 universes. MagicQ Expert consoles supported 6. MagicQ PC / Mac and Linux software supported 32.

From March 2013 new MagicQ Pro 2014 consoles support 64 universes. MagicQ MQ60, MQ70 and MQ100 Expert consoles support 12 universes. MQ40 supports 4 universes.

New Compact consoles were added in September 2015. MQ80 supports 24 universes. MQ40N supports 4 universes.

MagicQ PC / Mac and Linux software supports 64 universes – this enables backup from a PC/Mac system.

44.16.1. Loading a show onto a smaller console

Note that the limit of number of universes/channels refers to both patched and unpatched channels - i.e. any fixtures that have programming within the console. Therefore unpatched fixtures in a show still take up channels from the total number of universes supported on the console - MagicQ just allocates them to unused addresses.

The number of universes used by a show is reported in Setup, View Systems, View Status, Show Data, Highest Universe.

If you try to load a show with more channels used than the MagicQ console supports then it will ignore any channels above the number of supported universes and will save the show using a default show name rather than the original show name to avoid the ignored fixtures being removed from the original show file.

We recommend that when loading a show into a console with less universes the show should first be reduced to the number of universes used by the smaller console. For example when transferring a show from a MQ100 Pro 2014 to a MQ60 the show should first be reduced to 12 universes. This show can be reduced on the Pro 2014 or using MagicQ on a PC or Mac.

Note that unpatched heads may affect the highest universe depending on which universe they were last used and how many heads you have in your show. Either remove unpatched heads or repatch them down to a universe below the total number of universes.

44.16.2. Configuring number of Universes

To enable 12, 18, 24, 32 or 64 universes, go to Setup Window and VIEW DMX I/O and select “SET NUM UNIVERSES” soft button. It is necessary to restart MagicQ before the changes take effect.

Show files are compatible – except that it is not possible to fully load a show using more universes than the console is set to. So, if a show has with channels patched to universes 13 is loaded in a 12 universe console then any heads on the 13th universe will not be loaded.

=Console

Number of Universes

=MQ40,MQ40N

4

=MQ60,MQ70

12

=MQ80

24

=MQ100 Pro-E

12

=MQ100 Pro 2010

32

=MQ100 Pro 2014

64

=MagicQ PC, Mac, Linux

64

ChamSys does not guarantee performance if consoles are set to support higher numbers of universes than the hardware supports.

44.17. MagicQ Profiles

MagicQ supports different profiles – a profile is the entire set-up of the console including the console specific settings (like IP address, media settings etc…) and the show file.

Profiles enables the console to be used to control different venues with easy swapping between venues.

It is possible to set the console to request profile selection on start-up. This is useful in a studio environment where MagicQ can control any one of several studios over Art-Net from a central control booth. When you start up the console you choose which studio to control.

Profiles have a similar effect to using LOAD SHOW + CONSOLE but with a simpler interface. We recommend to use LOAD SHOW + CONSOLE for general purpose moving between venues, and Profiles where multiple studios are controlled from one console.

Profiles are loaded and saved from the Setup Window – in View Settings, press SHIFT and LOAD PROFILE or SAVE PROFILE. Profiles are saved to .mpr files in the show folder – note that the profile does not contain the show data – it only references it – so if you are backing up you need to store both .shw files and .mpr files.

To enable profile selection on start up put an empty text file “selectprofile.txt” into the main MagicQ folder (MagicQ PC on MagicQ PC). On start-up the console will then request which profile you wish to use before it loads the show and enables the outputs.

44.18. User management

MagicQ supports user management. This enables users to be set up with restricted access. Users can be set up to have full access to all the console channels, or to a group of channels only, or to all channels except a group of channels. Users can have passwords set for their accounts.

The current user is displayed and selected in Setup, Soft button C. Note that on MagicQ consoles the Set Time function previously on Soft button C has been moved to soft button D and Set Date to SHIFT and soft button D.

Users are managed in Setup, View System, View Users. When no users are configured the "Default" internal user is used and all MagicQ features are exactly as in previous versions.

Users settings can only be edited when using the "Default" user or when set to a User with "Superuser permissions". If there are no users configured with "Superuser" permissions then MagicQ will always offer the "Default" user with no password - this ensures access to the console setup.

Users can be configured to have type of "Group Only". This allows access to only the channels in the specified Group.

Users can be configured to have type of "Exclude Group". This allows access to all channels except those in the specified Group.

Users with "Superuser" permissions have access to all channels. User with "Group Only" or "Exclude Groups" can only select heads from their allowed channels and can only record and edit Cues and Groups with their allowed channels. They can not record over, merge into or remove any Groups or Cues that contain disallowed channels.

If the option "Block Output" is set then Users with "Group Only" or "Exclude Groups" can not affect the output of heads outside of their allowed channels - these heads will remain at 0 intensity and default LTP values.

Users are stored as show settings, not as console settings. One of the Users in the User List can be set to be the Start User - when the show is loaded then this User is set as the current user. This can be used to always start up into a restricted user. MagicQ provides a flashing warning "User" when a show is loaded with a User with restricted access.

If a user is created as Include Group without a Group set then they will not have access to any channels - they must chose a new user (and enter a password if set) to get access to the channels.

Users apply to both Master and Slave consoles when using Net Sessions. On a Slave, selecting a User with reduced permissions will make that Slave only have access to the allowed channels. The Slave can control the output using Multi Prog Sel Chans, but is restricted to the allowed channels. There is a "User" option in the Multi Prog Sel Chans which sets the Slave to control the output of all the channels that it is allowed to.

If passwords have been set on a show file and then forgotten please contact ChamSys support.