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An Interview with Rosalind Pro & Ganymede

Some new characters are joining our crew, and we wanted to get to know them a little better.  Read on to get answers to all of your questions about Rosalind Lighting Controller and Ganymede Network Button Station.



Roz scaled
You’re a lighting controller built into a button station?  What does that mean?

Big, complicated lighting systems often have button stations that control a separate lighting controller. But sometimes you don’t need that much complexity – you just need simple lighting control from a single location. That’s where I come in – I’m a complete lighting controller with everything you need in a tiny package.

We’ve heard that you’re programmable via RDM. What does that mean, and why is it useful?

RDM is a protocol that runs over the DMX wire and lets you do things like address fixtures and change their mode (most of the things you’d otherwise do on a tiny screen with little buttons, you can now do from larger purpose-built devices or your phone). Because RDM is so powerful, you can use it to program the lighting I control too, using the RDM tools you already own.

So, are you completely programmable by RDM?

Not quite! There are no real provisions for color picking in RDM, so I do need you to switch over to DMX to set the colors. Any DMX source will do – something like a DMX/RDM test tool or a simple console is fine – but really fancy consoles work too!

DMX input is also necessary for programming snapshots, because I really wouldn’t have anything to snapshot if you didn’t send me DMX!

But you can also be programmed by Ethernet?  How does that work?

You just plug your computer into my Ethernet port and connect to my internal website. That website lets you configure all of my features, including parametric cues, through a graphical interface – it’s super easy with color pickers and the ability to use your computer to copy and paste text, etc.

The only thing you can’t do through the web interface is snapshots – I still need you to feed me a DMX signal to do that.

An Interview with Rosalind Pro & Ganymede
Can I switch back and forth?  Use RDM for programming now, but down the road use DMX or Ethernet?

Yep, all programming modes are supported all the time. Just decide which one you want and plug into the right port!

I snuck a peek at your data sheet. It says you’re capable of “parametric cues” that are easy to program.  What is a “parametric cue”?

Parametric cues are cues made from *parameters,* which are information that defines the nature of the cue. That might be how many fixtures or colors are in the cue, how wide the color bars are, or how fast it executes. Parameters can even include what colors are in the cue.

I have several cue *types* (like stripes and color rolls) that have various *parameters* that tell me what those cues look like and how they execute.

Instead of setting a look as you would with traditional programming, you’re giving me a list of rules to follow, and a static or dynamic cue shows up on your lighting. If you don’t like the look, you can modify the rules until you like it.

How is a snapshot different from a cue?

A snapshot takes an entire universe of DMX data and uses that – the “rule” of a snapshot is just “show the DMX”, and you can program the look however you want. I can only do static snapshots (looks that don’t change while they’re running), but I can take a whole universe of DMX and put that on your fixtures.

You also have ‘pass through’ DMX?  How does that work?

Most of the time the snapshots and parametric cues are enough, but not always. In a lot of multipurpose rooms, the lighting is very simple and can be handled by the buttons 90% of the time. But once or twice a year there’s a musical being produced, and suddenly you need a light board.

Rather than unplugging me from the system for a short period of time, you can just connect the light board to my DMX input. If signal is present, I’ll pass the DMX straight through, making the lights do whatever the light board tells me to. When you turn the light board off, I’m back in control and the pushbuttons control the lighting.

So once you’re programmed, I heard that you can ‘pile-on’ presets?  Why would I need that?  And what if I pile-on one too many presets? Can I go back?

I basically have two modes for presets: “radio” and “pile-on”. Radio means that turning on Preset 2 turns off Preset 1. If all of your looks and cues are running on the same set of lights, then doing this sort of automatic switchover makes sense.

Pile-on is used when each preset controls a different group of lights. Think about a multipurpose room with multiple zones of lighting, or the work lights in your theatre. You don’t always need to turn them all on – sometimes you want just the stage on, or just the auditorium.

Pile-on presets let each button control a different zone of lighting. You short-press the button for each zone to turn it on and long-press the button to turn it back off – and you can pile multiple zones on top of each other. It’s handy to have a button programmed to “all-off” as well, but you still have the flexibility to turn them on and off independently.

I love that your buttons can be all different colors!  That’s super fun, but is it useful?

Yes! There are so many different ways to use my custom button colors. The most obvious is that you could program the button colors to match their functions – so if you have a page of buttons that set solid color looks of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple, you could program those six buttons to be the colors of the cues they trigger.

Color-coding also means that you can turn buttons off or adjust their brightness. If you want the buttons to be off except when active, that’s really easy to program. If you just want the backlights to be always off, you can program that too.

You could also program the button colors to match the room or the theming of the building – if corporate colors are blue and purple, you can use blue and purple on all the buttons so they match. There are so many possibilities!

You’re so awesome, I think I want a Rosalind in every doorway! Can I install multiple button stations?  How would control work? Does one take precedence over others? Or do they all work together?

I can’t really do that alone, but I CAN do it with Ganymede’s help. You can have me control the lighting, and then have multiple Ganymedes that tell me what to do. You’ll need to build an ethernet network to connect us all together, but beyond that it’s pretty simple.


You’re a 1-gang Network Button Station? What does that mean?

1-gang just means that I fit in a standard 1-gang backbox, like any other light switch. This means you don’t need to source specific backboxes for me – whatever your electrical contractor installs will be fine.

As for the Network Button Station bit, that means I’m a device with buttons that talks to other devices over the network. I don’t actually control anything directly – I’m just a human interface to give directions to other controllers. That could be your lighting system, AV system, or some sort of crazy thing someone just invented – whatever you want me to control, I’m there.

You can send UDP and OSC strings to other devices. That’s a lot of letters. What do UDP and OSC mean?

UDP is a very simple protocol where devices exchange what are called “datagrams” – kind of like little postcards with messages on them passing through the network. The protocol doesn’t have a lot of structure, so people have implemented it in a lot of different ways – I’m pretty flexible, so I can handle it.

OSC, on the other hand, is a strict protocol that’s been developed to allow devices to exchange data. It operates on the basis of addresses and parameters. Right now, I only support up to 1 parameter to each address, but most OSC devices are designed to work that way.

Lots of devices have the ability to take strings of data through UDP over the network, and some let you do strings or parameters through OSC. This means that no matter what device you want me to talk to, I probably speak its language!

An Interview with Rosalind Pro & Ganymede
You look a lot like Rosalind. In what situations would you be a better choice than her?

The basic difference between us is that Rosalind controls lights, while I control controllers (including Rosalind sometimes!).

I don’t control lights or speakers or microphones or projectors directly, but anywhere you need to provide an easy user interface for another control system, I’m your man.

You’re programmed via Ethernet? How does that work?

You can connect me directly to your computer via an Ethernet cable, or you can plug into the control network. Either way gets you to my configuration web site, which will let you configure all of the settings for what my buttons do.

You have even more button color options than Rosalind does. What’s the difference between button colors that are triggered vs. internally controlled?

I basically have two modes – I can either internally control the logic of the button colors based on physical inputs, or I can set the button color based on information from the control system I’m talking to.

Imagine you had a room with 4 doorways, and a Ganymede at each door, all controlling the same lights (we love to work as a team). Pressing Button 1 in internal-control mode would change that button from “inactive” to “active” colors – but it would only change it on the button you actually pushed. Using the control system’s touchscreen to fire Button 1’s preset also wouldn’t change the button colors on any of the Ganymedes.

If you remotely trigger button colors, though, and if you have a control system that supports it, you can program the control system to send color messages to all of the Ganymedes in the system as its state changes. So when Preset 1 is active, it sends a message to all of the us to turn our button 1 to the “active” color, and you get feedback about what the SYSTEM is doing, not just what the individual Ganymedes are doing.

Want to learn more?  Get all the details and specs on Rosalind Pro and Ganymede, or contact us for a demo!