Software Documentation

Software Documentation


Hobbyist Pro Last updated: April 20, 2023

15 Programmer documentation: Special VDL terms for DMX effects like “Move-To” and “With Strobing”

In addition to defining the simulation, the VDL field for DMX effects may require a few keywords that affect the user interface and script exports.  The effects with this requirement are: “Move-In-Black”, “Move-To”, and “With XXX” for all the modifiers like “With Strobing” or “With Safety Channel”.  The requirements are explained in the following table.


Table 2 – DMX implications of VDL keywords

Meaning and DMX implications “Nonphysical” keyword “Modifier” keyword “Move-To” keyword
Meaning Nonphysical means an effect that you can’t see on its own.  Most effects are not nonphysical.  You can see a pyro shell or a DMX light flash, for example, so they are by definition physical.  The DMX effects called “With Gobo” and “Safety Channel” and “With Safety Channel” and even “Move-In-Black” are nonphysical because you can’t see them on their own (Move-In-Black is nonphysical because the light is off; With Gobo is nonphysical because you can’t see it on its own without a light effect). Modifier means means the effect modifies other effects, like “With Gobo” or “With Safety Channel” or “Safety Channel”.  Modifier effects that only affect other effects should also have the Nonphysical keyword so their timeline bars do not interfere with the effects they modify.  However, there are some Nonphysical effects, namely “Move-In-Black”, that are not Modifiers. Move-To means the effect interpolates parameters (usually angle parameters) from the previous event.  A typical example is a sequence of two events, (1) Move-In-Black, and (2) Move-To,  in which the first event establishes a starting angle for a moving head light and the second event establishes the ending angle; the beam of light sweeps from the starting angle to the ending angle in the time between the two events.
Timeline bar implication Causes the timeline bar to be a dotted line instead of a solid line, so it can overlap other timeline bars for the same fixture without occluding them entirely.

Also prevents a timeline behavior that applies only to physical effects, i.e., events that are not-non-physical.  The prevented behavior is: event’s timeline bar is set to zero duration if followed by an event that has non-zero “setup” time in its DMX patch.  The intent of this behavior is that the timeline bar between the two events is associated with second event, usually representing the angular sweeping movement from the angle of the first event to the angle of the second event (usually a Move-To event).

Prefire interpretation implication The Move-To keyword prevents a special pyro interpretation of short effect prefires (< 0.5sec).  The prevented pyro intepretation is that the short prefire is the “delay before the simulation” instead of the “a parameter of the simulation (usually lift time).”
Move-To implication Prevents a nonphysical effect from establishing the “effective setup time” (see The DMX Patch field) and the starting parameter (usually an angle) for the next Move-To event, whose own parameter (its angle) is the ending parameter.  For example, in a sequence of three events, (1) Move-In-Black, (2) With Strobing, and (3) Move-To, the first event should define the starting angle, and the third event should define the ending angle; the second event (With Strobing) has the Nonphysical Modifier keywords to prevent it’s angle from being the starting angle of the angle sweep.
Overlapping effects Exempts the effect from triggering the “Overlapping effects” warning and from consideration by the “DMX > Detect and fix overlapping effects” function.
Simulations Enables the VDL terms DmxStrobing5Hz, DmxStrobing10Hz, and DmxStrobing20Hz to affect the simulation of the effect itself or other effects that the effect overlaps.  An effect like “Strobing Red Flash” would contain a VDL that defined the red flash in addition to the strobing modifier, such as “Par Light Red Modifier DmxStrobing10Hz”; whereas a modifier effect like “With Stobing” would contain the VDL, “Nonphysical Modifier DmxStrobing10Hz”.