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eChameleon Software

During Easter 2012 the Illusionist desk was replaced and the new eChameleon Software installed. The .pdf handbook can be found here

eChameleon Manual

Further Reading: Automation In The Entertainment Industry by Mark Ager & John Hastie

And RCS specific tips and tricks below!

The How To Guide

Below is the 'How to Guide' for the Automation system, writen by students for students in hopefully what you will find, a clear and helpful way.

Create A New Show

Creating a new show is very simple.

  1. Start by going into an existing show. Type SHOW, NUMBER (number not currently used), RECORD
  2. You can then name the show, SHOW, NUMBER, TEXT. Then type the title of the show, followed by ENTER

The new show file can now be used.

Rig The Axis

Before you can do anything you need to RIG the axes you need to the show. To do this follow the following code. Please note that once you have hit ENTER the screen will not change but the AXES will be riged to the show.





Create A View

Once you have created a show you need to add the axes to a view so you can see what you are controling.

  • Firstly click on the camera icon on the right hand side of the screen.


  • Double Click NEW in the current view box
  • Press SELECT in recorded view box
  • Highlight the untitled view which will be numbered, dependant on amount of views created.
  • Now select ADD TABULAR GRID
  • You now need to add the AXIS to the view.
  • Select the AXIS you want to add to the view then click ADD AXES these can be found in the Tabular Grid box
  • Please note, every time you want a new grid you need to reselect the axes
  • At the bottom of the menu select what you would like to see in the grid.

Once you have the view set up you need to save it.

  • Click on SAVE AS NEW
  • Select the view from the list and click SELECT
  • To re-name use the syntax VIEW number TEXT input your text


You don't need to, but if you wish you can name your AXIS to make things easier to follow. To do this, use the following code;

AXIS name of axis TEXT what you want to call the axis

Set The Zero

  1. Move winch to position you want to set as 0.
  2. Type QUERY, AXIS, number of AXIS you want.
  3. At the bottom of the query menu on the right side of the screen, select SET POSITION, 0, ENTER

The zero is now set.

Setting Soft Low and High Limits

Soft Low Limits

  1. Type QUERY, AXIS, number of AXIS you want
  2. Click SET SOFT LOW LIMIT on the bottom right hand side of the screen
  3. Enter syntax as follows e.g AXIS 1, SET SOFT LOW LIMIT -500 then press ENTER

Soft High Limits

  1. Type QUERY, AXIS, number of AXIS you want
  2. Click SET SOFT HIGH LIMIT on the bottom right hand side of the screen
  3. Enter syntax as follows e.g AXIS 1, SET SOFT HIGH LIMIT 14000 then press ENTER

Once soft high and low limits have been set. You cannot land on your limit. e.g if you have your Soft Limit as -1. The AXIS will stop before this and land on 0.

Create Groups

eChameleon offers you the chance to group AXIS together in four different kinds of GROUPS. These are;


Sometimes when running automation it is easier to group some of the AXIS together. For instance instead of typing;


You would just type;


Thus providing the same sort of programming technique you would use on a lighting desk. Also groups come in handy if you have a couple of AXIS that need to maintain the same position relative to each other or against each other.

This section will provide you with information on the four different kinds of groups eChameleon offers.

Sculptor Group

2D Bridles

2D Bridles are where 2 lines are attached together to form a bridle. This enables an object (or person) to be flown almost anywhere within a 2D space. To create a 2D bridle, select the 2 Axes you want to group by typing AXIS, X, +, AXIS, X, GROUP, X, RECORD then simply select 'Sculptor Group' then '2D Bridal option when prompted.

More information on the setup and programming of 2D bridles in a project/show based situation can be found under Bridles 2013

3D Bridles

3D Bridals are where 3 or more lines are attached together to form a bridle. This allows any object or person to be flown almost anywhere within a 3D space. This is generally dependent on winch placement and the logistics of the theatre space.

Track and drop

Free Group

This type of group enables winches to be combined together for syntax purposes, but ensures that each winch is still individually controllable if necessary. An example of this would be when separate pieces of scenery are moved at the same time. A Free Group will ensure that any error on one axies will not cause the others to stop.

Safe Group

This group is very similar to a Free Group, but is generally used when axies are linked to a piece of scenery, but are not linked in position and move at different speeds. All axies will stop if there is an error.

Locked Group

A locked group ensures that all the axies within the group are linked together to maintain their relative position. This might be needed if there were a number of axies on 1 piece of set, and it could be potentially dangerous if any 1 axis were to move individually. If 1 axis encounters an error, all the others will stop, so their relative positions can be maintained.

Multi Target Cues

Multi target cues can be created when you want to build a number of steps into the same cue. The axis will move to each target position in turn and can also be programmed with delays between moves, and different speeds for each section of travel.


Axies can be programmed to wait a certain number of seconds before starting to move. This could be used to create a 'ripple' or 'wave' effect.

It is unadvisable to use delays as a method of cueing, as this could lead to safety issues if an actor is out of position or moving scenery becomes out of time.

Delay Blur.jpg


Triggers can be used when you want to build a more complex cue using a number of different winches. A trigger is position-specific. The next part of the cue will not begin until the correct position has been reached. This is very useful when creating complex choreographic movements for scenery.

They can be associated with a particular colour playback, to enable another playback to be started when a certain point has been reached.

When using triggers, if set to trigger on a dead it must EXCEED the dead selected before triggering. e.g If Dead 2 is recorded at 5000mm and you wish to trigger a playback move on that dead. You must put a target that exceeds 5000mm otherwise it will not trigger the move.

As with delays, it is unadvisable to use delays as a method of cueing, as this could lead to safety issues if an actor is out of position or moving scenery becomes out of time.