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Stage mechanics and Vision

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Hi there


I've been trying to find a decent tutorial or a presentation of some sort on Vision with a focus on how you deal with stage mechanics and moving scenery. Any tips or recommendations?


Our theatre is not a user of Vision yet. The light guys are using MA3D for preprogramming, but it seems moving to Vision might be a good idea. As a stage designer I'm interested in what would we the best workflow in previsualizing moving scenery on revolve, lifts, flying in and out etc. I'm under the impression that you can do that all with Vision but would be interested in getting to know how the interface works and is there any way to use the preprogrammed data on stage with the actual stage system.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

So you need to select the geometry and define a DMX transform Address (X Y Z), You will likely find the answers within this forum.


You probably want to make the scenery's home position (when exported) at the location in should exist on the stage then use the DMX transform mode to fly or truck the scenery out of the way, You can Revolve objects also.


In Vision there is very little in terms of interface as you need a console to 'drive' the lighting and the DMX transforms over Artnet/Sacn


Most of the Automated flying technology out there such as Nomad and Kinesys use their own unique control interface which is not compatible with Vision. 


You can use Vision to work out speeds and Trim/Dead heights but that information will need to be reprogrammed into the flying system.



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Thanks Tom for the information. Still looking for the tutorial, though. For my previz purposes there exists also other options besides Vision - I know some people use Cinema 4D so you don't need to hassle with the console and DMX, Blender would be free but importing from VW seems far from easy etc. - and I'm really looking for a overall picture here how the interface works with scenery just to know whether I should start learning it or opt for some other application.


I thought that you can't directly import data from Vision to stage mechanics control systems but I'm interested if someone has some sort of workflow for utilizing the programming done in Vision. For example, can you export an text file with ques and revolve rotation angles, flybar movements and timing?

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi Anttti


If you are coming at this from a scenic perspective you should look at twin motion as you can move and rotate objects add lighting and have characters moving along paths and routes. Getting a model into twin motion is easy and looks great.


Is the previsualisation to create visuals to pitch and communicate ideas? Or is the Previsualisation purely technical and for you and the technical team to work things out? If the latter then Vision would be your ideal tool.


Blender is free and is a great modeling tool but I would not recommend pre-vis with Blender.


The answer is you will need to use Vision in conjunction with a lighting console if you wish to move Scenery. You cannot animate or drive scenery without a console telling a DMX address over ArtNet or SACN giving it values.


You might be able to export cues and timings to the automated flying system as a text file (possibly ASCII if it is supported by the console but CSV would likely be more successful). Most consoles also support CSV export again this workflow is outside of Vision and would pertain to what console you were using.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the tip on Twinmotion! I started to look into it already and it seems quite promising. 


I can't really define whether I'm thinking using this kind of previsualization to communicate ideas or for ”purely technical” purposes - trying things out as a part of my personal creative process doesn't fit into either of these categories, but I'd say that that's what I'm interested in first instance. It doesn't necessary require the visualization to look totally photorealistic, but it shouldn't look like either. That is a prerequisite I guess most of these abovementioned tools fill (not so sure on MA3d though...). But using a console (even a virtual one) with Vision sounds a bit clumsy for my purposes, so in that sense Twinmotion is maybe the choice here.

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