Show Control Case Study – Ride The Cyclone at ACT Theatre

Ride The Cyclone, produced at ACT Theatre in 2018, featured a robust show control system linking live audio, audio playback, MIDI timecode, lighting cues, and video cues via Open Sound Control, MIDI musical and timecode messages, and MIDI Show Control.

Much of the music of Ride The Cyclone was tracked, with supplemental live music, which was in turn synchronized to lighting and video effects. QLab was the backbone of the show control system, sending MIDI Show Control and MIDI Timecode messages to an ETC Ion lighting control console, which in turn sent MIDI Show Control messages to a Watchout video server.

Trigger messages were primarily sent by the music director via MIDI musical messages from a Korg NanoPad (start, stop, load, previous, next, etc). The QLab host sent MIDI Show Control messages and MIDI Timecode to the ETC Ion lighting control console for synchronization. MIDI and OSC messages were generated by, and received to, a Midas M32 mixing console, which both sent triggers to QLab, and responded to alerts from a custom-built AppleScript messaging system utilizing QDisplay (see this project for build specs).

The diagrams below detail the audio and show control system flow.