In a brief foray off our core topic of production lighting, On Stage Lighting presents a few Qlab video tutorials for beginners. Looking at the popular show running software, we take you through the interface and working with audio cues before moving on to playing back video and other visual media.
Regular readers of On Stage Lighting will know that I am currently teaching Technical Theatre subjects at a UK university, leading modules in Lighting, Sound and Video in Theatre Production. Although my specialism is obviously stage lighting design and programming, I have been known to break rank occasionally in my professional life and my current gig requires the teaching of many areas of technical production in performance including sound and AV.
In order to streamline delivery of teaching I regularly use screencast video tutorials, particularly when it comes to learning software. The recent release of the On Stage Lighting Vectorworks tutorials for beginners proved to be very popular and valuable for many.
As we believe in teaching current industry practice, our recorded sound and video playback system currently centres around the popular cueing software Qlab from Figure 53. Qlab is a regular feature on many professional performances around the world and is one of those pieces of software that seems quite “simple” in operation, yet manages to be extremely powerful. And, it’s basic and very usable free version is, well, FREE.
Yes, it’s free and you can actually use it to playback your audio cues on a real show!!
Running on the Apple Mac OSX platform, Qlab organises and fires audio and video content, can be used to build up soundscapes and automate the playback of recorded media. I wouldn’t claim to be an expert on the use of Qlab, my speciality as an educator is explaining things in simple terms and quite often people that are starting to learn a piece of software don’t need complex and technical tutorials, they just need to know the basics.
With that in mind, On Stage Lighting has some Qlab video screencasts to get you started. ( You don’t have to watch the tutorials at the small embedded size, you can fullscreen them).
Qlab Introduction – The Software and Interface
The first tutorial covers a look some of the things that Qlab can do, it’s interface and how to find your way around it. What you need to know before you start.
Note: There are a few specific references to our facilities at the University, you can ignore those.
Qlab – Audio Tutorial
This longer video (split into two parts) takes a tour of the audio tools, organising and playing back cues, setting auto follow ons, adjusting levels and automating fades.
Tools worked with include: Audio Cue, Group Cue, Fade Cue, Auto Follow, Auto Continue, Audio Levels, Audio Output, Settings tab, Loop.
Qlab – Video and Images
The final Qlab Basics tutorial videos deal with the use of movie files, replaying of video and images and the tools that Qlab has when dealing with visual media using the Video and Animation cues.
So, if you are interested in starting to use Qlab, hopefully I’ve given you a good base of knowledge to work with. I can assure you that On Stage Lighting has not gone over the dark sides of Sound and Video but I know that many of our readers are interested in all areas of performance production. Your diet of stage lighting reading will recommence shortly 😉
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Rob is a Lighting Designer and Moving Light Programmer and currently Senior Lecturer in Technical Theatre Production at Bath Spa University in the UK. He is also the Editor of On Stage Lighting and runs workshops in stage lighting practice.
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