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Last updated: February 21, 2022

15 Dividing a show into sequences for semi-automatic firing using the “Track” field

A number of firing systems support manually triggered sequences, as an alternative to an entire show that plays from start to end. The manually triggered sequence mode for firing systems is generally called “semi-automatic” firing. Some firing systems call it “manual” mode or “step by tracks” or “separate scripts” mode.

Whatever the firing system calls it, if you are designing a semi-automatic show, you need to split up the show into the separately triggered sequences. In Finale 3D, you identify the sequences using the “Track” column in the script window. This column is hidden by default, so please click on the blue gear menu to unhide the Track column if you are designing a semi-automatic show. For some firing systems, setting the Track column values automatically makes the script semi-automatic. For other firing systems, you need to select semi-automatic mode in the export options dialog presented when you export the script. Using FireOne as an example, choosing the semi-automatic export option will cause a SEM file to be generated instead of an FIR file.

Generally, designers lay out the sequences one after another on the timeline, with a little space in between. To designate the sequence number of one of the sequences, select all the items in the sequence by dragging a selection rect on the timeline over them, then right-click on one of the selected items on the timeline or in the script window, and choose “Edit properties” from the context menu. In the dialog that appears, type in the sequence number into the Track field, and click OK to set it for all the selected items.

Figure 1 – Set the Track number in the “Edit properties” dialog.

Alternatively, you can type the sequence number into the cells in the Track column of the script directly. Since you can copy/paste ranges of cells in the script window, you may find it easier to type a sequence number into the Track cell of one row, then click on that cell to select it, press control-C to copy, then select a vertical range of cells in the Track column of all the effects in the sequence, and press control-V to paste.

Since firing system addresses may depend on the sequence numbers, you should set the Track field before addressing the show, in this order:

  1. Divide show into sequences on the timeline one after another.
  2. Select each sequence and assign its Track number.
  3. Address show.
  4. Export script.