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Flame and spark fixturesDocumentation

IntermediateLast updated: April 7, 2021

2 Exporting a firing system script for flame systems

Preparing your show for exporting a firing system script for flames depends on both your flame system and your firing system. Some firing systems and flame systems by the same manufacturer are set up to communicate by a manufacturer-specific protocol. Other DMX-based flame systems work generically with any firing system that can provide a DMX signal. The setup process for non-DMX firing systems and DMX firing systems is different, so the two processes are outlined below separately, beginning with the non-DMX process.

 

Setup for non-DMX firing systems

Some non-DMX firing systems like RJ Equipamentos use pins to trigger flame units. Other non-DMX firing systems like Explo and Galaxis treat flame projectors as if they were modules and use the pin numbers to trigger an effect or a specific kind of effect. For all these non-DMX firing systems, the setup steps are the same. Please follow these steps:

 

 

Figure 1 – For non-DMX firing systems, flame and pyro positions looks the same (yellow disks).

 

  1. Set up separate “Flame Positions” and “Pyro Positions.” (A) As described in the Flame systems basic instructions, create separate positions in Finale 3D for pyro and for flame. If in the real world a single position serves pyro and flame, then in Finale 3D split the position into two separate positions, one for flame and one for pyro, as shown in Figure 1. (B) Edit the position properties of the flame positions, and in the “Edit position properties” dialog, select your firing system and select the “flame unit” or “flame device” module or slat type for your firing system from the available options. (C) Edit the position properties of the pyro positions, and again select your firing system and this time select the appropriate module or slat type that is NOT a “flame unit” or “flame device” module type. For firing system specific details, please see Table 1.
  2. Set the “Start Module” for all positions. (A) Edit position properties for every position, and in the “Edit position properties” dialog set the “Start Module” field to the module number of the flame unit, for flame positions, and to the module number (or first module number if more than one will be required) for the pyro at the pyro positions.
  3. Set the “Section” of positions that share modules. If you are daisy-chaining multiple flame units at different positions together driven by a single module, then obviously all those positions would share the same module address. More generally, if any module address is to serve more than one position, then (A) in the “Edit position properties” dialog assign a unique section name to each set of positions that are to share the same module, and (B) remove the “Position” constraint in the constraints paragraph (Paragraph #3) of the “Addressing > Address show” dialog to allow positions in the same section to share modules, and (C) assign a unique section name to each individual position that is not in a sharing section to prevent them from sharing modules. Sharing modules across positions is common practice for pyro, as described in more detail here.

 

Table 1 – Instructions for Non-DMX firing systems

Firing systemInstructions
Galaxis ignition system and G-Flame unitsTo design a show for the Galaxis firing system with G-Flame units, please set the “Module Type” of the flame positions to the “G-Flame Unit” option; and set the “Module Type” of the pyro positions to be any of the other options. When connected to the Galaxis firing system, G-Flame units operate as a special type of module. Like pyro modules, the G-Flame units have module addresses, but unlike pyro modules, the G-Flame units do not have any physical pins for igniting fireworks. The pin numbers (Galaxis calls them output numbers) for G-Flame units are the sequential flame triggers. Each flame shot is represented by a unique pin number beginning with 1 and increasing sequentially up to 999. Thus the number of used pins is the number of flame shots on the G-Flame unit (additional details here).
Explo firing system and Explo flame unitsTo design a show with Explo flame units using Finale 3D, please set the “Module Type” of the flame positions to “Explo Flame Unit”, and set the “Module Type” of the pyro positions to be any of the other options. When connected to the Explo firing system, Explo flame units operate as a special type of module. Like pyro modules, the Explo flame units have module addresses, but unlike pyro modules, the Explo flame units do not have any physical pins for igniting fireworks. The pin numbers of Explo flame units have a special meaning for some types of Explo flame units, and are ignored by others. Explo X2 Wave Flamer units support 66 pre-defined flame programs, or macros, that cause the flame to project at a specific angle or to animate across a sequence of angles. In the exported SHW script file, the pin number in the “Box/Nr” field represents the triggered flame program number for the flame unit. The Generic Effects collection in Finale 3D includes 66 pre-made effects corresponding to the Explo flame programs, GFX9001 to GFX9066. These Explo effects all have realistic simulations and correct parameters representing the flame program numbers that get carried through into the script when you address the show and into the exported SHW file when you export. Thus, to design a show with Explo X2 Wave Flamer units, please use the pre-made Explo effects from Generic Effects to fill the pin numbers correctly in the exported script (technical details here).
RJ equipamentos firing system and compatible flame unitsFor the RJ Equipamentos timecode firing system, you need to layout separate positions for the pyro and each special effect unit (also see RJ Equipamentos). Each special effect unit position represents a special effect device: a CO2 jet, or a flame projector, or a stadium shot gun. The pyro position will use pyro pins on one or more modules. Each special effect unit position will use a single special effect pin — F, C, or S — on one specific module. After creating the positions, please select the positions, and right-click on them and do “Edit position properties…” from the right-click context menu. In the position properties dialog, select the “Firing system” and “Module type”, matching the type of position. Choose “RJ Timecode 16 Pin” or “RJ Timecode 32 Pin” for the pyro positions, and choose “RJ Timecode Flame Unit” or “RJ Timecode CO2 Unit” or “RJ Timecode Stadium Unit” for the special effect positions.

Then right-click on each pyro position and assign it a “Start Module” number of the module that is used by that position (or the first module if more than one). For example, if you have four positions, you might assign the positions’ Start Module to 10, 20, 30, 40 in order to give each position a range of 10 modules. Next, right-click on each special effect unit position, and assign it a unique Start Module number that is 100 + the Start Module of the pyro position that is triggering the special effect if the special effect unit is a flame projector; or 200 + the Start Module if the special effect is a CO2 device; and 300 + the Start Module if the special effect is a stadium shot. Although the script window will show these module numbers as greater than 100, the exported script will record module numbers modulo 100 (subtracting out the 100s). In other words, in the exported script, a module number 101, or 201, or 301 will all be recorded as just 1. Using this technique of adding a 100 or 200 or 300 to the special effect position Start Modules, you are able to separate the pyro address assignments from the special effect units while still defining what module number is actually triggering the special effects (a number less than 100).

 

Setup for DMX firing systems

If your firing system and flame system are connected by DMX, then please follow these steps:

 

 

Figure 2 – For DMX firing systems, flame positions (DMX fixtures) are displayed as blue boxes instead of yellow disks.

 

  1. Set up separate “Flame Positions” and “Pyro Positions.” (A) As described in the Flame systems basic instructions, create separate positions in Finale 3D for pyro and for flame. If in the real world a single position serves pyro and flame, then in Finale 3D split the position into two separate positions, one for flame and one for pyro. Right-click on the flame positions and select “Configure as DMX fixture…” from the context menu (see Figure 3). Choose “DMX Fixture (Master)” or “DMX Fixture (Slave)” for each of the positions, which changes their appearance in the design view as shown in Figure 2. The slave fixtures will automatically display the same effect visualizations as their master fixtures. When scripting a show, you will add effects to the master fixtures only; the slaves are along for the ride.
  2. Set the DMX Universe and DMX Channel Base for positions. Set the “DMX Universe” and “DMX Channel Base” of the fixture positions as follows: (A) Decide if independent DMX fixtures will use different channel ranges in the same DMX universe, or same channels in different DMX universes. Most DMX fixtures have a configurable start channel, so configuring the fixtures to use non-overlapping ranges of channels is usually possible, but it may be easier to put your DMX fixtures in separate universes if you know that each of them will be driven by a separate firing system module (see Table 2). (B) If you are using slave fixtures, set their DMX Universe and DMX Channel Base to be the same as the master fixture that they refer to. In the physical world, you can configure your slave fixtures to respond to the same DMX channel ranges as their masters or to ignore the DMX signal altogether; it doesn’t matter, either way the DMX Universe and DMX Channel Base in Finale 3D need to match in order to associate the slaves to their masters for purpose of visualization. The DMX Channel Base for each fixture in Finale 3D should be exactly the same as the hardware’s “Channel Base” or “Start Channel” as you configured it in the physical world. Do not subtract 1! (Earlier versions of Finale 3D required subtracting 1 from the channel base, but that is no longer correct.)
  3. Set the DMX Fixture Type. Set the “DMX Fixture Type” of the fixture positions to the type of flame projector you are using. If your flame projector isn’t on the list, please email Finale staff to ask them to add it. It is also possible for users to create DMX effects in Finale 3D that are compatible with arbitrary fixtures and use the option “<Any DMX Fixture>” for the DMX Fixture Type, but it is usually easier to ask the Finale staff to do it for you. When you set the DMX Fixture Type in the configuration dialog of Figure 3, the “DMX Effect Filter” field will automatically fill in with the corresponding three digit DMX Fixture ID. The purpose of this field is filter the set of DMX effects offered by the “Add compatible DMX Effect” menu item to the compatible effects. You are free to edit this field in the configuration dialog if you have reason to. The filter is just a full text search in the effects’ description fields.
  4. Add safety channel positions and effects (for flame systems with separately configurable safety channel addresses). If your flame system configures the safety channel address separately from the start of the DMX personality channels (the “Start Address”), then you need to create safety positions specifically for the DMX safety channel effects. If you don’t know whether your flame system is of this type, lookup the answer in Table 1 of Supported Firing Systems. Galaxis G-Flame and MagicFX Flamaniac are examples of this type of flame system. (A) create one new “safety channel position” for each DMX universe in the show specifically to hold “DMX safety channel” effects. Configure the safety positions just like the other DMX fixtures, except with the “DMX Channel Base” corresponding to the safety channel start address of the fixture and the DMX Fixture Type being the safety channel fixture type that pairs with your flame fixture, e.g., “Galaxis [016] Safety Channel” or “MagicFX [017] Safety Channel” . (B) Add DMX safety channel effects to the safety positions and edit their durations in the script table window to make them extend over the periods of time for which the safety channels should be on. You can unhide the Duration column in the script window from the blue gear menu in the upper right. The ability to edit durations in the script window for safety channel effects is unusual. For most effect types including flame, the duration is an intrinsic property of the effect and can therefore only be edited in the effects window as part of the definition of the effect, not in the script window as part of an instance of the effect. The reason editing the duration in the script window is possible for safety channel effects is that its Type is “not_an_effect” (more details). You can add multiple safety channel effects to the same flame position if you need gaps in the safety channel time ranges.
  5. Add safety channel effects only (for flame systems with safety channels at defined offsets in DMX personality). If your flame system includes the safety channel at a defined offset in the DMX personality, then you don’t need safety positions. If you don’t know whether your flame system is of this type, lookup the answer in Table 1 of Supported Firing Systems. Explo X2 Wave Flamer, Showven uFlamer, Showven Circle Flamer, Showven Sparkular and Spark Fabrica Moving Head Flamer are examples of this type of flame system. You can just add DMX safety channel effects directly to the flame positions, analogously to (B) in step (4).

 

Figure 3 – Each DMX fixture uses a range of channels specified by the DMX Universe and DMX Channel Base.

 

 

Table 2 – Instructions for DMX-capable firing systems

Firing systemPyro and DMX on same moduleDMX universesInstructions for setting “DMX Universe”Channels per universeInstructions for semi-auto firing
PiroshowYESOne global DMX universe; all module addresses serve the same DMX universe.Set to 1. You can set DMX Universe to anything because it is not present in the exported script.1-512The exported script will be semi-auto if any event contains a valid “Track“; tracks may be integers 0-99 or letters followed by integers in that range (example: “1” and “Trk1” are both okay). In the exported script, a “PAUSE” event will be inserted before each change of track. The event times remain relative to zero; not relative to the beginning of the track. Tracks must be in chronological order in the Finale 3D show.
PyroSureYESEach module address is a separate DMX universe.Set to any module number 1-255.1-255For semi-auto shows, set the “Module Type” of the pyro and flame positions to “PyroSure Semi-Auto” and “PyroSure DMX Device Semi-Auto” respectively. Set the “Track” field of script events to indicate the segment number for each segment of effects that are fired together; valid tracks are integers 0-99 or letters followed by integers in that range (example: “1” and “Trk1” are both okay).
PyromacYESOne global DMX universe; all module addresses serve the same DMX universe.Set to 1. You can set DMX Universe to anything because it is not present in the exported script.1-50The exported script will be semi-auto if any event contains a valid “Track“; tracks may be integers 1-9999 or letters followed by integers in that range (example: “1” and “Trk1” are both okay).
In the exported script, the “Cue” field contains the track number formatted with four digits, 0001-9999, if set; otherwise it contains the same-time cue count in the same format. Tracks must be in chronological order in the Finale 3D show.
fireTEKYESEach module address is a separate DMX universe.Set to any module number 1-99.1-99The exported script will be semi-auto if any event contains a valid “Track“; tracks may be integers 0-99 or letters followed by integers in that range (example: “1” and “Trk1” are both okay).
In the exported script, the “Sequence” field contains the track number. Tracks must be in chronological order in the Finale 3D show.
CobraYESEach 36M or 72M module can output one independent or shared DMX universe; the universe number is configurable separately from the module numbers; the 18M modules do not support DMX.Set to any module number 1-100.1-200Cobra supports several semi-auto modes. The “Separate Scripts By Tracks” mode and the “Step Script By Tracks” mode use the “Track” property in script rows indicates the section of the show to which the row belongs. For Separate Scripts By Tracks the Track also indicates the button on the Cobra controller that triggers the section, which is the Track value itself, a number 1-18 .
MongooseYESEach module address is a separate DMX universe.Set to any module number 1-99.1-512The exported script will be semi-auto if any event contains a valid “Track“; tracks may be integers 1-99.

 

Examples

Table 3 provides example files of a simple combined flame and pyro show using MAGICFX Flamaniac flame units, exported by various firing systems; in addition to example files for the directly connected firing systems and flame units (Galaxis and Explo). To understand the DMX exports and the MAGICFX Flamaniac examples, it is useful to begin by looking at the movie render and reading the bullet point summary below. Then open the show file (.fin extension) in Finale 3D and take a look at the script. Most of the setup configuration for DMX shows is in the position properties, so you can see all the configuration settings by selecting the menu item “Window > Positions window” and taking a look at the properties of all of the positions laid out in a table (see Figure 4, below). After looking at the show’s configuration, do the menu item “Addressing > Address show…” to watch the show get addressed again, and then do “File > Export > Export firing system script(s)…” to export it for your firing system. That will produce the same exported script file as included in the table below, which you can download.

  • The show has six (6) shells, three (3) DMX safety channel events, and sixty-three (63) DMX flame shots across nine MAGICFX Flamaniac flame units, using their “Mode 1” configuration in which different angles are different DMX channel offsets.
  • The show is divided into three sections. In the standard script exports, the three sections just play one after another. In the semi-auto script exports, the three sections would be triggered separately on the controller by the operator.
  • The DMX safety channel for the flame events is split into three separate events, covering the three flame sequences in the show. Each event begins 1/10th of a second before the sequence and ends a little after the sequence. These three DMX safety channel events were added to the timeline from the effect window. Then their durations were manually edited in the script table window to cover the required time periods. You need to unhide the “Duration” column in the script table window from the blue gear menu in order to edit the durations. The DMX safety channel event applies at the “DMX Channel Base” from the position exactly (older versions of Finale 3D required subtracting 1; that is no longer correct).
  • In the real world, the show represents nine flame positions, and one pyro position. The flame positions are all driven by the same module, using different channel ranges in the same DMX universe. The channel ranges are 11-15, 21-25, 31-25, etc.
  • In the real world, you would need to configure the MAGICFX Flamaniac flame units to listen to the chosen channel ranges for their positions, which simply means setting their base channel to 11, 21, 31, etc. (in their “Mode 1” configuration). You also need to configure their DMX safety channel number = channel 1.

 

Figure 1 – Select the menu item “Window > Positions window” to see all the position properties (this image is from the Piroshow example).

 

 

Table 2 – Example files

Download linkExplanation
magicfx_example_render.mp4Movie render of the MAGICFX examples
magicfx_piroshow_standard.finExample standard show using Piroshow, MAGICFX
magicfx_piroshow_standard.txtExample standard exported script using Piroshow, MAGICFX
magicfx_piroshow_semi_auto.finExample semi-auto show using Piroshow, MAGICFX
magicfx_piroshow_semi_auto.txtExample semi-auto exported script using Piroshow, MAGICFX
magicfx_pyrosure_standard.finExample standard show using PyroSure, MAGICFX
magicfx_pyrosure_standard.wyhExample standard exported script using PyroSure, MAGICFX
magicfx_pyrosure_semi_auto.finExample semi-auto show using PyroSure, MAGICFX
magicfx_pyrosure_semi_auto.wyhExample semi-auto exported script using PyroSure, MAGICFX
magicfx_pyromac_standard.finExample standard show using Pyromac, MAGICFX
magicfx_pyromac_standard.txtExample standard exported script using Pyromac, MAGICFX
magicfx_pyromac_semi_auto.finExample semi-auto show using Pyromac, MAGICFX
magicfx_pyromac_semi_auto.txtExample semi-auto exported script using Pyromac, MAGICFX
magicfx_firetek_standard.finExample standard show using fireTEK, MAGICFX
magicfx_firetek_standard.csvExample standard exported script using fireTEK, MAGICFX
magicfx_firetek_semi_auto.finExample semi-auto show using fireTEK, MAGICFX
magicfx_firetek_semi_auto.csvExample semi-auto exported script using fireTEK, MAGICFX
demo_explo_flame.finExample show using Explo, Explo X2 Flamer
magicfx_cobra_standard.finExample standard show using Cobra, MAGICFX
magicfx_cobra_standard.csvExample standard exported script using Cobra, MAGICFX
magicfx_cobra_semi_auto.finExample semi-auto show using Cobra, MAGICFX
magicfx_cobra_semi_auto.csvExample semi-auto exported script using Cobra, MAGICFX
demo_explo_flame.shwExample exported script using Explo, Explo X2 Flamer
demo_explo_flame.mp4Movie render of the Explo X2 Flamer example
test-mongoose-dmx.mifExample exported script for Mongoose
test-mongoose-dmx.finExample show file for Mongoose