Martin LIGHTING DIRECTOR Owner`s manual

Please note: this is a pdf file intended to be
printed as a double-sided booklet. This booklet
only gives introductory set up information. For
complete online help please see the Martin
Lighting Director help file, which is included
with the software (to get it check the martin
website at
Martin Professional A/S
Nordlandsvej 114
8240 Risskov, Denmark
Page 24
APR inc.
Suite 200, 8526-109 St.
Edmonton, Alberta
T6G 1E5 Canada
Getting Started
Getting Started
Martin Lighting Director, by Acoustic Positioning Research Incorporated, Edmonton, Canada. Based on U.S. patents 5,107,746 and
5,214,615 and 5,412,619 and international patent pending PCT/CA95/
Lighting control portions of the MLD software are licensed exclusively
world-wide to Martin Professional A/S, Denmark by APR inc. GAMS
Core Tracking technology is licensed non-exclusively to Martin Professional A/S by APR.
Martin Lighting Director is a trademark of Martin Professional A/S.
Other product names mentioned may be trademarks or registered
trademarks of other companies.
The information in this booklet is furnished for informational use only,
is subject to change without notice, and should not be construed as a
commitment by Martin Professional A/S or APR inc. Martin Professional and APR assume no responsibility or liability for any errors or
inaccuracies that may appear in this manual.
No part of this manual may be reproduced, in any form or by any
means, without prior written approval of Martin Professional A/S.
© Martin Professional A/S, Denmark. All Rights Reserved.
Printed in Canada
First Edition: August 1998.
Martin Professional A/S
Nordlandsvej 114
8240 Risskov, Denmark
APR inc.
Suite 200, 8526-109 St.
Edmonton, Alberta
T6G 1E5 Canada
• For very large stages you may want to automatically cross fade
(dynamic dimming curves) so that “closer” followspots “take over”
when the performer approaches.
• Use MANY followspots for cool effects. Granted, automated
followspots do not have the power, stability, linearity and throw that
normal followspots have. However, with the MLD system you can have
up to 64 followspots simultaneously on the same tracker (this would get
a little pricey the old way!). Also, play with dynamic control of colour,
gobo rotation speed, wash, etc. Use the fixtures creatively not as simple
simulations of plain followspots.
For further reference
The Martin Lighting Director software has a built-in, comprehensive
help system. To activate it:
• Select “Martin Lighting Director Help” from the Start menu.
• Press the “help” buttons that appear in many screens of the software
• Select an item from the “Help” menu in the map editor or real time
Once activated you may find topics by browsing the contents tab, by
entering a keyword in the index tab, or by searching for a particular term
in the find tab. There is substantial information and pictures in the help
system to help you tackle even the most ambitious show control
projects. Please review the topics and, if you like, print them for hard
copy reference.
Among the help file topics you will find all you need to know to design
and run shows, as well as troubleshooting, FAQ, tech support and
example sections.
Please visit our website at for free software upgrades,
news, and the MLD newsgroup. Contact us at for bug
reports, feature requests, suggestions or questions.
Subscribe to the “MLD announcements” mailing list by sending a
message to with the message “subscribe”. This subscription is free and open to anyone who wants to learn the latest tricks,
case studies and features of the system. On average there is only one
message a month.
Page 2
Getting Started
Martin Lighting Director 2.0
Page 23
Followspot set-up recommendations
DMX Smoothing
Software Installation
Hardware Installation
MLD card installation
External MLD box installation
Preparing trackers
Ultrasonic speaker installation
Speaker calibration
Automatic speaker calibration
Stagemarks, alternatives
Manual regular speaker calibration
Manual irregular speaker calibration
Speaker adjustment
How to connect the MLD to DMX consoles and fixtures
MLD as a stand-alone controller
MLD between the lighting console and lights
MLD with bi-directional DMX link to lighting console
MLD connected to Martin 3032
MLD with bi-directional MIDI link to lighting console
Basic light definition
Followspot calibration
Automatic followspot calibration
Manual calibration
Recommendations for followspot set-up
For further reference
A DMX filtering algorithm has been implemented to “smooth” the
movement of certain fixtures when used as followspots. This slows
down the response of the followspot slightly but gets rid of the jerky
motion that may be seen with very fast fixtures. To enable the feature
for a fixture, select it and then press the Smoothing ON radio button
(this is the default for the Mac 500).
Using moving lights as followspots has advantages and disadvantages.
In this section we will discuss what can be done to improve the look and
performance of automated followspots.
• Choose the right fixture for the job. A PAL FX fixture is better than the
profiling one because it has an adjustable iris. Moving mirror lights are
faster than moving yoke lights but the latter are smoother.
• Place the fixture keeping in mind that the smoothest response will be
obtained when only pan or tilt is moving and not both. So, for example,
if you have a shallow stage where the performer moves from left to right
mostly, then set the fixture in a central, frontal location with an orientation such that only pan or tilt will swing for such movement.
• If you are using a moving head fixture, it should be outside the
interactive area to avoid the non-continuous rotation problem that
appears when the performer goes “around” the fixture.
• Use 16-bit mode. For Martin lights this means using mode 4.
• Ensure that the tracking system can give enough samples per second.
Here are the minimum sample rates for different activities:
10 samples per second are OK for walking
15 samples per second are OK for walking fast
25 samples per second are OK for running
30 samples per second are OK for running fast
• Control iris, zoom and focus with dynamic control curves so that the
followspot has the same appearance everywhere on the stage.
Page 22
Getting Started
Martin Lighting Director 2.0
Page 3
Thank you for purchasing the Martin Lighting Director! The MLD is the
most versatile performer-centred show control and automated
followspot tracking system. This booklet contains introductory information on how to set up and use your system. For in-depth discussion,
examples and reference please check the MLD’s built-in online help
To get the most out of the MLD, like with any other sophisticated
controller, the lighting designer or technician will need to familiarise
him or herself with the system. While you may want to receive training
from your Martin dealer in order to learn the MLD quickly, the MLD
online help system contains all the information that you need to tackle
even the most ambitious show control projects.
The following instructions will detail only one way of performing the
set up of the system. Every task may be performed in a variety of ways
and you are encouraged to read the online help for alternatives.
What’s included with the MLD
package? (order #920901)
1 CD-ROM with software and online manuals
1 “Getting Started” booklet
1 MLD hardware card with cable to connect to MLD external box
1 MLD rackmount external box with universal power supply
4 Ultrasonic speakers with mounting brackets and cables
1 Standard power supply cable for the MLD external box
What’s NOT included with the
MLD package?
Trackers (available in both VHF and UHF versions)
A PC compatible computer
Batteries for tracker belt-packs
DMX cables
MIDI card, connectors or cables
Page 4
Getting Started
Tip: occasionally the four followspot calibration points chosen happen
to have a geometric relationship to the fixture that produces two solutions and the software may choose the wrong one. If this does happen
for a specific fixture, you can tell immediately because the light will not
even be close to tracking. If this happens, make sure that you pointed the
light to the correct calibration point numbers. If the problem persists,
repeat the calibration for that fixture only using four different calibration points; even a small displacement of one or two of the points may
Step 4 (optional)
This optional step allows you to select a predetermined position for the
followspot, which will be asserted before the tracker is found. This is
useful, for example, to avoid moving heads doing a large swing from
their zero position to the tracker position, when the tracker is first found.
You are done! If you would like to see the values that the MLD calculated for the position and orientation of the light press the “3D info”
button. To test that the lights have been calibrated correctly, create a
map that uses all of them and then run the map in mouse test mode (see
the online help to understand map making and mouse test mode).
Manual calibration
If for some reason automatic calibration of followspot fixtures is not
possible, you may directly enter the data for each fixture by physically
measuring its position and orientation in relation to the centre of your
stage. This information can be entered in the screen that appears when
you press the “3D info” button. Please see the online help file for a
discussion of conventions used for measuring fixture’s position and
Tip: manual entry is not necessarily more accurate than automatic
calibration. Therefore, the only times that you might use the manual
method are: a) if you already know the position and orientation of the
fixture (e.g. reading it from a previous configuration file), b) if you can’t
power up your fixtures but still need to set-up, and c) if you must
calibrate in bright sunlight and you cannot see the light beam.
Martin Lighting Director 2.0
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i) Use the four stagemarks previously measured for an automatic
speaker calibration in the stage set-up. If you use these marks remember
the numbering that they had. Tip: the option will be greyed-out until you
perform an automatic speaker calibration.
ii) Define new followspot calibration points. Mark the vertices of a large
square or rectangle with some gaffer tape on the stage floor. Make sure
the four markings have a clear line of sight to the four MLD speakers
and to the fixtures that you will calibrate. Number the vertices as
followspot calibration points 1, 2, 3 and 4. The numbering does not have
to have any particular order so long as you remember which marking
corresponds to which number. It is preferable that this square or rectangle have roughly 90 degree angles and that it be as large as possible
within the tracking area. Now press button number 1 to evoke a tracking
screen. Press the “track” button and take the tracker microphone just
above followspot calibration point 1. Once the values stabilise, press
“Save”. Repeat this procedure for calibration points 2, 3 and 4.
Software Installation
The MLD software is supplied in a CD-ROM. Insert the CD-ROM and
double-click on the “Setup” icon. This will run a wizard that will help
you install the software.
You may also download the most recent software from the Martin
website This may be useful if you do not have a CDROM reader in your MLD PC as you may download the software in a
zipped format that can fit into a few 3.5” diskettes. The zipped files are
also available on the CD-ROM.
You may use the software without installing the MLD ISA card. For
example, you may design maps in a portable computer and use these
later in the MLD PC.
The minimum PC requirements to run the software are:
Step 2
Select the fixture that you want to calibrate from the 64 boxes and point
it to the four calibration points. Again, you have two options:
i) Use the MLD controls. By pressing on these buttons the MLD’s
graphical pan/tilt controller will let you point the light to the corresponding calibration point.
ii) Use your DMX board and capture its data. If you have a DMX
console connected to the MLD you may find it easier to point the light
at the calibration points by using the console’s trackball, touchpad,
tablet, joystick or sliders rather than using the MLD controller. Once
pointed, simply capture the appropriate pan and tilt data by pressing the
capture buttons.
Please note that it is very important that the light beam be positioned
exactly over the calibration point.
Step 3
Windows 95 or 98
Pentium 133
10MB disk space
800 x 600 pixels, 16-bit (high colour)
2-button mouse
one 8-bit ISA slot.
MLD card installation
The MLD card is an 8-bit ISA card that needs to be inserted into your
MLD PC. Make sure the PC is turned off and its power cord is unplugged from the wall. Remove the PC chassis cover as discussed in
your PC owner’s manual. Locate an ISA bus card slot and insert the
MLD card in it, making sure that the card is nestled all the way into the
slot. Secure the card by screwing the card’s bracket to the computer
Please note: the MLD card is very sensitive to electrostatic charges.
When it is not in the PC, keep the card in the anti-static bag provided.
Press the “Calculate” button to let the MLD calculate the three-dimensional position and orientation of the light.
Page 20
Operating System:
Hard disk:
Expansion Slot:
Getting Started
The MLD card is a memory mapped I/O device with a default memory
setting of D000h. To verify that this memory is free in your PC do the
Martin Lighting Director 2.0
Page 5
Right-click on “My Computer” icon
On the pop-up menu that appears, select “Properties”
Select the “Device Manager” tab
Click on the “Properties” button
Click on the “Memory” radio button
This will open a window that details the memory assignments for the
installed hardware. The default address of the MLD ISA card is
000D000 - 000D3FF. If this is not free check which memory space is
available and use the card’s dip switches to set that address:
the MLD Launch Pad.
To define a light, first click on one of the 64 boxes in the “Available
Lights” zone. You can associate any of these boxes to any light, but it is
advisable, for reference’s sake, to choose adjacent boxes for lights that
are close together on a truss, that have contiguous DMX base channel
assignments, or that are the same fixture model. Once you click on a
box to select it, you may use the controls in the upper right corner to
select a light model, base channel and addressing mode.
Tip: you may right click boxes to define several boxes at the same time.
Not used,
should be OFF
Not used,
should be OFF
3, 6
3, 4, 6
3, 5
3, 4, 5
3, 5, 6
3, 4, 5, 6
Memory needed for
the card:
Followspot calibration
Tip: in the great majority of cases the default address is fine. If you are
aware that other hardware in the PC is using the MLD default address,
or if you are experiencing unexpected system crashes, then perform this
External MLD box installation
The 19-inch rackmount MLD box is connected to the MLD card using
the supplied grey 26-pin cable. The MLD box can take 115 or 230 V,
please set the switch at the back to the appropriate setting for your
electricity before powering up the box. The external box will have to be
connected to the mains and to the MLD card in the PC before it can
allow DMX Thru functionality.
Tip: on the MLD card there is a DMX microcontroller that has been
updated to version 1.2. This version allows the box to have DMX Thru
functionality even if the software is not running. If you notice that your
system only allows DMX thru when the software is running, ask your
Martin dealer for your free upgrade.
Page 6
Upon defining a fixture, it will appear in the DMX Map bar under the
64 light boxes.
Getting Started
If the light that you are defining will be used as an automated
followspot, you need to do a followspot calibration. The MLD needs to
know the exact position and orientation of the light that you want to
convert into a followspot. You may enter this information manually, but
this can be a tedious procedure, particularly if your fixture is difficult to
reach or if you have several fixtures to measure. Consequently, an
automatic calibration routine has been implemented for your convenience.
Automatic followspot calibration
The automatic calibration method involves pointing the lights to four
points on the stage floor, called followspot calibration points, and then
measuring those points with the tracking system.
In the bottom of the lighting set-up screen you will find a “Followspot
Calibration” zone with four tabs. Step 1 is normally done only once,
while steps 2, 3 and 4 should be done for each fixture that you want
Step 1
Define the four lighting calibration points that you will use. You have
two options:
Martin Lighting Director 2.0
Page 19
MLD with bi-directional MIDI link to
lighting console
MLD box
Light 1 Light 2
DMX 512
in out
26-pin cable
DMX cable
to other lights
controlled by MLD
and console
DMX cables
MIDI cables
out out out out
DMX 512
to other lights
(not controlled by
MLD except by MIDI
cue triggering)
Control console
MLD trackers are modified wireless microphones that detect the
ultrasonic pulses and send radio signals back to the MLD system. While
many popular wireless microphones can be adapted to become MLD
trackers, this booklet will consider the two types that can be purchased
from Martin. To adapt your own wireless mic system please check
“How to adapt your own wireless microphone to become and MLD
tracker” in the MLD’s online help.
Preparing MLD UHF trackers
The tracker
Bi-directional MIDI interconnection.
As a last example of the possible light control configurations, here is a
set-up similar to the standard one except that there is also a MIDI link
between the MLD and the console. With this link the MLD may trigger
cues in the console and thus control lights that are not directly connected
to it. Also, the console may load and unload MLD maps using MIDI.
This set-up is convenient when all DMX channels are being used for
lighting control. Usually MIDI is not used for lighting control very
much, although the possibility is there. Please note that for this set-up
you will need a Roland MPU-401 or compatible card to be installed on
the MLD PC (this card is quite inexpensive) and your console will need
to have MIDI in and/or out.
Once your lights have been securely fixed in their final positions, your
DMX chain has been set up, and the fixtures have all been addressed
and powered-up, you are ready to define and calibrate all your lights.
Tip: if you want your lighting board to control fixtures by sending them
DMX through the MLD, you will need to define those fixtures in your
console in the same way that if you did not have the MLD in between.
• Plug the supplied MLD’s microphone / filter assembly to the beltpack
radio transmitter.
• Open the battery compartment to place two alkaline AA batteries and
turn the power “ON”.
• Set the “audio” switch “ON”.
• Choose a radio frequency group and channel as described in the
microphone’s manual.
• Make sure you set the antenna to the upright position.
The receiver (two trackers may be used per receiver)
• Connect the two supplied antennas to the receiver.
• Plug a power cable (can accept any mains current from 100-240 volts,
and has automatic current and voltage sensing).
• Use the supplied male–male 1/4 inch phono jack cable to connect the
unbalanced output to one of the MLD external box tracker inputs.
• Read the owner’s manual to optimise the performance of the radio
Preparing MLD VHF trackers
The tracker
Basic light definition
The MLD supports up to 64 DMX fixtures or devices, using up to 512
DMX channels. The system needs to know specific information about
the lights that you will be controlling. To enter the light model, addressing mode, base channel, and 3D position, choose “Lighting Set-up” in
Page 18
Preparing Trackers
Getting Started
• Plug the supplied MLD’s microphone / filter assembly to the beltpack
radio transmitter.
• Open the battery compartment to place an alkaline 9V battery, making
sure to observe the correct polarity.
• Set the beltpack’s power “ON” and mute “OFF”.
Martin Lighting Director 2.0
Page 7
The receiver
• Extend the receiver’s antennas
• Power the receiver by either connecting it to the 12V DC power supply
in the MLD box or by using a DC power adapter connected to the
• Use the supplied male–male 1/4 inch phono jack cable to connect the
unbalanced output to one of the MLD external box tracker inputs.
• Read the owner’s manual to optimise the performance of the radio
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Samson radio receivers have two types of
outputs: one is a female 1/4 inch phono jack with a line-level signal (5K
Ohms) and the other is a male XLR output with a mic-level signal (600
Ohms). The MLD inputs expect a line-level signal so normally you
would use the 1/4” phono jack output. If you need to use the XLR
output, make sure that the signal is amplified before it reaches the MLD.
Tip: The distance between the tracker and its radio receiver should not
be bigger than about 30 m (100 ft) for VHF and about 70 m (262 ft) for
UHF. In large events where the control booth is farther away than that,
it may be necessary to place the radio receiver closer to the stage and
run a long audio cable between it and the MLD. If so, you might want to
use the receiver’s balanced output (the XLR plug) with a direct box (also
called an audio or impedance matching transformer) rather than the
normal 1/4" phono output.
Here the MLD and the DMX board are interconnected so that they have
complete bi-directional communication. Apart from both the board and
the MLD controlling directly the fixtures connected to the DMX splitter,
the MLD may also trigger pre-programmed cues in the board. This can
generate very impressive effects because sequences, chases, static looks
and other cues can be called from the MLD interactively, so that effectively the MLD can indirectly control as many DMX channels, fixtures
and protocols as the board itself. This set-up is ideal for interactive
installations, automated show rooms, museums, amusement rides and
other situations where the board or controller will be driven directly by
the performers or participants themselves. The set-up is also ideal for
the most sophisticated performer-assisted lighting effects for shows
under the control of the board operator.
Tip: only boards with a DMX input may be used in this configuration,
but the Martin CASE is particularly well suited because both the MLD
and the CASE have handy drivers for each other that facilitate interconnection and programming.
MLD connected to Martin 3032
MLD box
Martin 3032
DMX 512
in out
DMX 512
in thru
Ultrasonic speaker installation
Four small ultrasonic speakers form the frame of reference for the
tracking system. It is very important that the speakers are mounted on
static structures so the frame of reference for tracking does not vary
after calibration. Here we will review only ideal speaker placement; for
alternatives and important notes on issues related to speaker placement
please see the MLD’s online help file.
Ideal speaker placement
Mount the four speakers on the corners of the stage by clamping them to
trussing, static props, walls or the ceiling. Set up the speakers so they
are about the same height above the floor, ideally between 5 and 9 m (16
and 30 feet) high. The speakers should form more or less a square or
Page 8
Getting Started
to other lights
in series, controll
by the 3032 (but
the MLD may
trigger cues)
to other lights
in series (controlled
by the MLD only)
Light 2
Light 1
Light A
Light B
MLD connected directly to the Martin
3032 controller
Here the MLD is hooked up to the Martin 3032 control system using the
Martin DMX remote interface. The MLD DMX signal is split so that the
3032 reacts to certain commands in predetermined channels while
letting go through signals directed to fixtures that it is not controlling
(lights 1, 2, etc. in the diagram above). As in the previous configuration,
this set-up allows the MLD to trigger presets on the 3032, which might
include complex sequences and cues in Martin protocol. Note that this
triggering occurs in addition to the MLD’s direct fixture control.
Martin Lighting Director 2.0
Page 17
the MLD control fixtures without the need of any other controller,
sequencer or console. In this configuration there can be 4 maps loaded
simultaneously and new ones can be added manually in the real time
screen. This arrangement is suitable for completely automated situations
such as convention centre presentations, small concerts, fashion shows
or other events where the lighting behaviour is not going to change too
frequently or require sophisticated moving light sequences.
rectangle covering the area of the stage that you want to be tracked. The
centre of the square or rectangle defined by the speakers should be
approximately on top of the centre of the stage. Speakers should point to
one and a half metres (5 feet) directly over the centre of the stage and
have a free line of sight over the entire area in which tracking is needed.
Objects blocking speakers’ lines of sight can degrade system performance, especially if they are close to the speakers themselves.
MLD between the lighting console
and lights
We will refer to each speaker by a number from 1 to 4, as follows:
Control console
MLD box
DMX 512
out out out out DMX cable
Speaker 1
Light 1 Light 2
DMX 512
in out
to other lights controlled
directly by the MLD and
console (up to 64 fixtures
512 DMX channels)
DMX cable
to other lights
(not controlled
by the MLD)
MLD between the console and the lights.
This is the most common configuration
MLD with bi-directional DMX link to
lighting console
DMX Board
MLD box
DMX 512
out out out out DMX cable
DMX 512
in out
Light 1 Light 2
to other lights, controlled by board but
MLD may trigger cues.
DMX cable
Page 16
Speaker 4
This is the most common configuration for the system: the MLD
intercepts DMX data coming from a console and replaces predetermined
DMX channels with data generated by the performer. For example, the
MLD may take control of pan and tilt channels while letting all the other
channels be controlled by the console. In addition, through DMX, the
console may load and unload MLD maps to change the behaviour of the
tracking system, or to override it. This is ideal for performance situations in which the lighting designer wants to integrate the MLD system
into a sophisticated light show, with the DMX console directing all
show control.
to other lights
controlled directly
by the MLD and
console (up to 64
fixtures or 512 DMX
Getting Started
Speaker 2
Speaker 3
Ideal speaker mounting. The dotted line shows the
speaker area, which is slightly bigger than the area of
the stage that will be tracked by the MLD
Speaker 1 is towards the stage right and upstage (far from the public)
Speaker 2 is towards the stage left and upstage (far from the public)
Speaker 3 is towards the stage left and downstage (close to the public)
Speaker 4 is towards the stage right and downstage (close to the public)
Connect each of the four MLD speakers to the MLD box. This must be
done using the speaker cables supplied (20 m each) and an appropriate
XLR male to female extension cable, if necessary. Wiring of the XLR
cables conforms to normal audio speaker cable wiring conventions. The
female XLR connectors must be plugged into the MLD box’s audio
output jacks. The male XLR connectors plug into the speakers’ female
XLR. Numbering of the output jacks goes from left to right and should
follow the convention outlined above.
Tip: If it is impossible to have the speakers mounted around the stage,
you may place them in some “alternative” positions. Please see the
MLD’s online help system for details.
Martin Lighting Director 2.0
Page 9
Speaker placement issues
Speaker adjustment
In real life it is sometimes impossible to set speakers in their ideal
location. The main issues concerning speaker placement are as follows,
in order of importance:
Once you have calibrated your speakers, you may perform a speaker
adjustment to make up for varying speaker volumes. This is useful to
“balance” speaker outputs so that they all have the same loudness in the
centre of the stage. Use this adjustment if you suspect that one of the
speakers is louder than the others or if your speakers are in an irregular
position, some being farther from the stage centre than others.
1. Ultrasonic coverage: the whole area of the stage where tracking is to
take place —the so-called “interactive area”— should receive pulses
from all four speakers. MLD speakers have a radiation angle of approximately 80º, so the interactive area should be within the four “cones” of
ultrasound generated by the speakers.
beam edge
To perform the adjustment press the “Adjust” button in the Stage set-up
screen. Take a tracker to the centre of the stage and hold the small
microphone in your hand away from your body so that it has a clear line
of sight to the four speakers (or you may prop the microphone on a chair
or tripod). Now adjust the radio receiver’s volume knob until the first
VU meter is in the central green region. You will see how the other three
VU meters slowly move to match the reference volume. Once this
happens, and the readings have stabilised, you may leave the screen.
The speaker adjustment checkbox will be enabled, meaning that the
adjustment will be used at all times.
Tip: if you temporarily or permanently want to turn the adjustment off
you may do so with the “Enable” checkbox in the stage set-up or with
the “Speaker Adjust” item in the real time screen’s “Tracking” menu.
line of best radiation
beam edge
Ultrasonic speaker radiation cone.
2. At any given point there should be at least 3 speakers with a clear line
of sight to the tracker microphone. Three readings are needed to triangulate the tracker position in 3D. If the speakers are all placed on one side,
or if the tracker is worn where it could be blocked from more than one
speaker at a time the tracking will stop until it receives pulses from at
least 3 speakers.
3. The speakers should be as far apart from each other as possible. If
two speakers are too close together there is a very high probability that
they will be blocked simultaneously and stop the tracking.
How to connect the MLD to DMX
consoles and fixtures
The MLD can work as a stand-alone control system or in tandem with
DMX consoles, software controllers, MIDI instruments, and so on.
MLD as a stand-alone controller
MLD box
4. The tracker should not be too close to any speaker because there
would be too much loudness from that speaker compared to the other
three. As a rule of thumb try to set up the speakers so that the tracker is
at least a couple of metres away from all speakers.
5. Consider sampling rate issues. The larger the area you want to cover
the less sampling rate possible and the slower the followspot response.
See the online help system for further discussion on sampling rates.
Page 10
Getting Started
Light 1 Light 2
DMX 512
in out
DMX cable
to other lights in series
(controlled by MLD)
Stand-alone" configuration: MLD
connected directly to DMX lights
Here the MLD system can control directly up to 64 fixtures using 512
DMX control channels. This is a stand-alone configuration, which lets
Martin Lighting Director 2.0
Page 15
Press the “Apply” button to calculate the speaker positions using the
values you have entered. Note that the system will automatically fill-in
the “interactive area” fields as it suggests what area is bound to have
good ultrasonic coverage. You may override these suggestions by
manually entering a different area, but make sure that the area will have
ultrasonic coverage by all four speakers.
Manual irregular speaker calibration
Manual irregular calibration should be used only if for some reason
automatic calibration is not possible and the speakers are not in a
“regular” configuration (not at right angles to each other or not at the
same height from the stage floor). To use the manual irregular method
you must measure the exact position in centimetres of each speaker
relative to the origin, which is the centre stage mark.
By convention:
• At the origin the X, Y and Z are zero.
• X is the stage width, with positive values towards stage left and
negative values towards stage right.
• Y is the stage depth, with positive values towards upstage and negative
values towards downstage.
• Z is the stage height, with positive values above the stage floor.
MLD coordinate system
8. Please note that the following issue is NOT as important as issue
number 1, above. A speaker should be tilted so that it is pointing to the
farthest point in the interactive area that its pulses will have to reach.
The reason for this is that the speaker’s sound emission is not uniform
and we want the region of strongest radiation (along an axis directly out
from the centre of the speaker) to be pointing where it will need to travel
most. Again, issue number 1 in this section is much more important than
this issue.
The software must know the precise 3D location of the four speakers
with respect to the centre of the stage; this is called “calibrating the
speakers”. There are three ways to do it: automatic, manual regular and
manual irregular.
Automatic speaker calibration
Once you have entered all twelve distances press the “Apply” button to
use those values to register the speaker positions. Note that the system
will automatically fill-in the “interactive area” fields as it suggests what
area is bound to have good ultrasonic coverage. You may override these
suggestions by manually entering a different area, but make sure that the
area will have ultrasonic coverage by all four speakers.
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7. While the MLD has a robust echo detection and rejection system, it is
advisable to mount the speakers away from walls when possible to
avoid echoes bouncing off the walls and causing pulse detection problems. Under ideal circumstances, mount speakers 3 or more metres (10
feet) away from each wall. Mounting speakers in corners is particularly
bad; if it is not possible to be 3 metres (10 feet) away from all walls, it is
better to position them closer to the centre of the room away from the
Speaker calibration
6. The trackers should never cross the imaginary surface formed by the
four speakers. For example, setting the four speakers at a height of 1.60
m would be very risky because the tracker could easily move under or
over that height and cross this imaginary plane (plus you would probably have problems related to issues 1 and 4 above). When the plane is
crossed the tracking system is turned inside out and erratic behaviour is
Getting Started
Automatic calibration is the most common method for setting up the
tracking system. This method entails measuring the distances between
five gaffer-tape stage-marks and then using the tracker to correlate those
distances to actual speaker positions.
Mark the centre of your stage with some gaffer tape. This will be the
central reference point for the tracking system, also called the origin.
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Make four other markings: the centre-edge of your stage downstage
(close to the public), the centre-edge of your stage upstage (far from the
public) and the centre-edge of the stage’s right and left wings, as you
stand on the stage facing the public.
may override these suggestions by manually entering a different area,
but make sure that the area will have ultrasonic coverage by all four
Stagemarks, Alternatives
upstage mark
Stage stage right
Right mark
centre stage
stage left
downstage mark
Stage terminology and system calibration markings
Tip: even if your public surrounds the stage or if you do not have a
specific place for the public, you must choose some points that will
define your interactive area and its orientation. These points will serve
as a reference when you are using the MLD software to define regions of
your stage. For convenience, if there is no clear stage orientation, set
the “downstage” of the stage to be the side that is closest to the MLD
computer so that the orientation of the space matches the orientation
presented in the MLD software’s map editor.
Measure the distances between the stage marks indicated on the screen,
six in total, and enter them in centimetres (or inches if those are the
units selected in the preferences) in the appropriate fields. Once you
have entered the data, you can press the red “1” button, which will start
MLD tracking, and take the tracker microphone to the floor just above
the gaffer-tape stage-marking number 1, which is the upstage mark. The
tracker microphone should be pointing up and have a clear line of sight
to all four speakers.
Once the readings are steady on the tracking screen, you should press
“Save”. Next, do the same for points 2, 3 and 4, which correspond to the
stage left, downstage, and stage right gaffer-tape markings.
Finally, press the “Calculate” button to find the speaker locations. Note
that the system will automatically fill-in the “interactive area” fields as
it suggests what area is bound to have good ultrasonic coverage. You
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Getting Started
When you press the “calculate” button to do an automatic speaker
calibration, the software finds the speaker positions in three-dimensions
by mathematically relating the distances between the stage marks and
the tracker measurements. The precision of these measurements will
become the accuracy of the whole system. If the information collected
by the tracker produces an impossible speaker co-ordinate, the software
will produce a warning message. When this happens, you should try
measuring the stage marks again with the tracker. If this problem
persists, it might be because the tracker does not receive pulses from all
four speakers and new stage-marks in slightly less obstructed positions
should be used.
If props or other obstructions make it impossible to measure the distance
between stage marks or to have tracking take place right above the
markings on the floor, it is possible to measure the points at a fixed
height from the floor. For example, suppose you can only track at a
height of one meter and a half: a) take a measuring tape or a measured
plumb bob and use it to find the tracker at exactly that height over the
markings, b) enter the number 150 in the field right above the calculate
button, c) now you may press the calculate button.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If the tracker does not seem to update during
stage-mark measurement, for example if it is showing zero values or a
static number, press the signal adjustments button and adjust the volume
on the radio receiver.
Manual regular speaker calibration
Manual regular calibration is normally the fastest method to set up the
tracking system. However, it can only be used when the four speakers
have been positioned at exactly the same height above the stage and are
at perfect right angles to each other, i.e. the speakers form a regular
square or rectangle. If this is so, simply enter the width (distance from
speaker 1 to 2 or from 3 to 4), depth (distance from speaker 2 to 3 or
from 1 to 4) and height (distance from the stage floor to the speakers) in
the appropriate fields, in centimetres (or inches if that’s selected).
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