Who is it for?
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Simplicity is the key to FocalPoint's effectiveness. FocalPoint is not trying to be a lighting console in it's own right. EOS does a very good job of that, so why try replicate or better it? FocalPoint has been designed as a tool to compliment the console, and as such should integrate with it seemlessly. Consequently, when your selection changes on the console, it also changes FocalPoint, enabling you to select fixtures, then instantly, and visually, do what you need to with them. Any functions that you may need to invoke in FocalPoint can be achieved by sending the requisite OSC command from the console via a macro key, enabling your primary focus to stay on the console.

What it can do right now (V1)

- Display of the lighting/ground plan on a scale grid on the computer screen.

For FocalPoint to work well, you initially need to position your intelligent fixtures on the FocalPoint virtual stage, which is easiest achieved by importing your lighting plan and overlaying them onto it. Once the fixtures are in position, you tell it the channel number, and how high it is from the stage floor to the tilt fulcrum of the fixture (easily done if you have a laser measure to hand), and that's it.
- Moving light positioning based on clicking/tapping on the onscreen plan.
Select as many hanging fixtures as you can, they should all go to near-enough the same place! To give you an idea as to how much it can revolutionise set up, I could create the standard '9' stage positions with a rig of 1, 4, 10, 20, etc etc. lights in less than a minute once the plan has been set up (see our video for how quick it is to set a plan up). Not that I'd need to, as FocalPoint puts everywhere on the stage at my fingertips anyway!
- Pinch-to-Zoom
Use that feature that we're all used to through smartphones and touchscreen computers to start shaping your beam
- Two-way communication with EOS
Allows for basic on-screen feedback as to current position/size/colour of the currently selected fixture. It also allows for one of the most ingenius aspects of FocalPoint- moving the light by what I call 'The Path of Least Pan', thus ensuring that your moves, be they live or dark, take the most sensible route to their destination. This will always happen if a single fixture is selected- it gets a little trickier to handle for multiple fixtures due to the way EOS presents the data of the selected fixtures, but it's something that is being worked on.
- Responds to our FocalPoint app to enable you to make use of the gyroscopic sensors in an iPhone.
This allows you to simlutaneously move X many fixtures in a given direction without having to resort to pan/tilt, and the mess that would ensue. FocalPoint will keep them all pointing at the same spot. Buttons in the FocalPoint App can be configured to control any supported parameter using gyroscopic data from the mobile device. The App will be available on the App store very soon!
- 'Heads-Up' positioning mode
By default, the centre of the beam will hit the deck where you click on the screen. As any self-respecting lighting person will know, this generally means that faces won't be lit! By enabling 'Heads-Up' mode with a quick button press, the lights will then aim for a user-configurable height above the stage so as to ensure proper coverage.

Features that will be enabled/added in the near future (V1.X.0.0)

- LeapMotion support for motion control of fixtures.

This will require a LeapMotion camera, which you can pick up from RobotShop or there's generally a few floating around ebay. To give an idea of where I'm heading with this, in the beta non-release version, I'm able to position a fixture by tapping the screen, then tweak it's position utilising motion control and adjust the zoom and edge using different hand gestures.
-More options for parameter control via the app interface (and, by extension, LeapMotion)
Including, hopefully, control of framing shutters. As this feature is very much a fluid development, I'm happy to take suggestions on ways of implementing this in terms of gestures from users.
-Better support for the heads-up display options.
Note that the heads-up display will require some sort of smartglasses, such as the Epson Moverio Range for maximum effectiveness, but can also be used on a tablet sitting above the console. For further information about how the heads-up display may benefit users, please see the 'Who is it for?' page.

Potential Future Development:

-Support for input from Cycling74's Max software
-Support for other console ranges (Specifically MA and/or High End, if they support a suitable means of input for the necessary parameters.)

The main FocalPoint Interface

FocalPoint running on tablet (top left) via VNC from a laptop for the 2018 Buxton Opera Festival

FocalPoint (bottom left) on a tablet PC for the Bolton Octagon's technical rehearsals of 'And Did Those Feet'

FocalPoint (bottom right) during plotting for 'The Maids' in Home (Manchester)

Copyright © Ian Wilson 2018