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Flame systemsDocumentation

Intermediate Last updated: November 11, 2019

7 Example: Explo X2 Wave Flamer with Pyromac firing system

This example illustrates the steps to setup and design a flame show for the Explo X2 Wave Flamer using the Pyromac firing system.  The example includes the use of,

  • Explo X2 Wave Flamer pre-defined macros/programs
  • Explo X2 Wave Flamer non-macro shots with user-defined angles
  • Pyro effects used in the same show as the flames
  • Safety channels turned on for the flame units for the flame part of the show
  • A Pyromac script that contains both DMX and firing system outputs

The example show is 30 seconds long.  It contains five flame positions, one per flame unit; and three pyro launch positions.  It also contains five “safety” positions to hold the safety channel effects for the corresponding five flame units.  The “safety” positions don’t exist in the real world; they just hold the safety channel effects in Finale 3D.  From the front view when designing the show in Finale 3D, the show looks like Figure 1:

 

Figure 1 – An Explo X2 Wave Flamer macro shot in parallel from five positions

 

Setting up the show

Switch to top view in Finale 3D by clicking on the camera icon on the right side of the screen. Figure 2 shows the site layout from the top view perspective. When designing the show it is easiest to create a safety channel position for each DMX safety channel the show requires. The Explo X2 Wave Flamer flame units require a separate safety channel for each independent flame unit. The show contains five independent flame units, thus it requires five safety channels.

By comparison, if the flame units were listening to the same DMX channel range (firing in parallel) then the show would only need one safety channel.  The flame units in this show are independent ,though, so they will be configured for different DMX channel ranges.  Some other types of flame systems have independently configurable safety channel addresses that can be shared by flame units listening to different DMX channel ranges, but with the Explo X2 Wave Flamer system each DMX channel range has its own safety channel as part of the range.

 

Figure 2 – Create separate positions for flame and pyro and safety (for Explo DMX flames, one safety per flame position).

 

As explained in Exporting a firing system script for flame systems, there are two ways to setup a DMX flame show, either: 1) each flame unit has its own DMX universe, or 2) each flame has its own range of DMX channels in a shared DMX universe.  The Pyromac firing system is designed to support a single DMX universe that is shared by all the modules, and thus by all the flame units.  So that makes the choice easy for this show: (2) is the only option.

After designing the show, you will do the menu item, “Addressing > Address show” to assign firing system addresses and DMX parameters to all the effects in the show; and then you’ll do the final step, “File > Export > Export firing system script(s)…” to export a script for your Pyromac firing system.  The addressing functions in Finale 3D depend on two things: 1) parameters in the addressing dialog, and 2) position properties, which you can edit by right-clicking the positions and selecting “Edit position properties…” from the context menu.  Let’s begin by looking at the position properties, shown in Figure 3 for one of the flame positions.

 

Figure 3 – Right-click positions and “Edit position properties…” to setup the five circled fields for each position.

 

You will need to edit the position properties of all the positions in the show, and specifically you will need to setup the five circled fields shown in Figure 3, following the instructions in Table 1.

 

Table 1 – Position properties that you need to setup

Property Instructions
Firing system Set to Pyromac
Module or slat type Set to Pyromac 32 Channel (or any other number of channels) for the pyro positions, and set to Pyromac DMX Device for all the flame and safety positions.
Section Set each pyro position to have its own unique section name (e.g., “pyro-01” and “pyro-02”, etc.); Set all the flame and safety positions to have a single shared section name (e.g., “flame-shared”).
Start Module Set to 901 for all the flame and safety positions; leave blank for the pyro positions.
DMX Channel Base For each flame position, set the DMX Channel Base to whatever the flame unit’s physical “Start Address” will be in the real world, minus one (e.g., if you configure your flame unit to have a Start Address of 20 in the real world, then set the DMX Channel Base in Finale 3D to 19); set each safety position’s DMX Channel Base to be the same as its corresponding flame position (e.g., position flame-01 should have the same DMX Channel Base as safety-01); leave blank for the pyro positions.  In the example show, the DMX Channel Bases are 0,6,12,18,24, corresponding to “Start Addresses” of 1,7,13,19,25.  Pyromac only supports channels up to 50, and each Explo X2 Wave Flamer DMX channel range consists of six channels, so the channel bases of 0,6,12,18,24 pack the ranges together back to back.

 

The purpose of the Section field is to separate the positions into four groups for addressing purposes — each pyro position is in its own group, and all the flame and safety positions are in a big, shared group.  Later, when you do the menu item, “Addressing > Address show…” you will remove the “Position” constraint in paragraph three of the addressing dialog, thereby allowing modules to be shared across positions, except not across section boundaries.  By setting the Section field, you have isolated the four groups of positions to prevent modules from being shared between them.

The reason for isolating the pyro positions is easy to understand:  Since the pyro positions may be far apart from each other, you would not want the addressing function to assign addresses that would connect effects in different pyro positions to the same module, because that would require long ematches or scab wire running between the positions.

The reason for putting the flame and safety positions into a shared group has more to do with the mechanics of Finale 3D and the Pyromac script format.  When Finale 3D assigns DMX parameters to the DMX effects for Pyromac, it uses the special Pyromac module number 901 to represent the “module corresponding to the shared DMX universe.”  All the flame and safety positions use the same, shared DMX universe, so they need the same, shared Pyromac module number 901.  That’s why all those positions are in the same group, and isolated from the pyro positions.  In the real world, any of the actual modules could be used to drive the flame units since the modules share the same DMX universe.  The special module number 901 doesn’t refer to a module in the real world.

After setting up the position position parameters, you can open the “Positions” window from the “Window > Positions window” menu item.  Look at the Positions window to confirm that all the parameters are set up correctly, as shown in Figure 4.

 

Figure 4 – The “Positions” window should have these fields filled in.  DMX Channel Base 0,6,12,18,24 correspond to Start Address 1,7,13,19,25 of the flame units as they are configured in the real world.

 

At last, after setting up all the position properties and confirming they are correct, you are ready to design the show.  Remember, though, after designing the show, when you assign firing system addresses with the menu item “Addressing > Address show…” you need to remove the “Position” constraint from paragraph three, as shown circled in Figure 5.

 

Figure 5 – Remove the “Position” constraint from the modules to enable modules to be shared across positions in the same section.

 

Designing the show

To design this example show or other shows with Explo X2 Wave Flamer units, please follow these steps:

  1. Browse flame effects.  (A) In the effects palette, select the Generic Effects collection at the bottom of the palette, and select the “other” filter icon at the top (the icon looks #?!*).  Type “explo” in the search box.  That will filter the effect palette to show only the Explo effects, of which there are about 70, beginning with part number GFX9001.  You can page through to look at them, and you can probably recognize their part numbers correspond to the Explo macro numbers.   (B) In addition to the effect macros, there are a few generic “Explo DMX X2 Rotatable Flame Shot” effects beginning with part number GFX9070.  These are the adjustable angle effects in a few pre-made durations.  You will also need the “Explo DMX Safety Channel” effect (GFX9099).
  2. Insert flame effects.  Click on the Explo flame effect icons in the effects palette (or equivalently in the effects window) to insert them into the show.  If you insert “Explo DMX X2 Rotatable Flame Shot” effects, you can drag the tops of their trajectories in the 3D view to set their angle, and you can select groups of them and do functions like “Fan” to create interesting patterns. The first four seconds of the example show use only the Explo macro effects, the remaining flame effects in the show between seconds 5 and 10 use the “Explo DMX X2 Rotatable Flame Shot” effects.
  3. Add safety channel effects.  Following the instructions Exporting a firing system script for flame systems add “Explo DMX Safety Channel” effects to your safety channel positions, and adjust their durations in the script window to cover the spans of time for which you want to arm the flame units.  To see the duration column in the script window, go to the blue gear menu in the upper right of the script window and select the menu item, “Hide or unhide columns > Duration”.  In the example show, the flames only last from the beginning of the show to about 9.5 seconds, so the durations are set to 9.5 in the script.

 

Table 2 – Example files

 

Video 1 – Render with water and camera motion