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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What's the difference between a Cue and a Sub-Cue?

1. What's the difference between a Cue and a Sub-Cue?

Your cue list should contain one cue for every tech task to be activated during the production, where that task can be activated directly or indirectly from SCS. A 'tech task' or cue could be the playing of an audio file for a sound effect or music, or it could be to play a video, display a still image, control lighting, fade out or stop a currently playing cue, or a number of other tasks including sending commands to some external device or software via a network or MIDI connection.

Sometimes a cue is required to do multiple tasks simltaneously or within a relatively short time frame. This is where sub-cues are useful. An SCS cue is made up of one or more sub-cues, so there's always at least one 'sub-cue' in a cue, and it's the sub-cue that performs the required task (eg playing an audio file). You may want a 'cue' to start playing some scene transition music, change the lighting plot, and mute some mics. To do this you would have a single cue that contains (in this example) 3 sub-cues: one sub-cue to start playing the audio file; a second sub-cue for the change to the lighting; and a third sub-cue to send commands to a sound desk to mute the mics. Thus, when this cue is played, all three sub-cues are activated simultaneously.

As mentioned earlier, you can adjust the timing. You can for example, set the lighting sub-cue to start, say, 2.5 seconds after the start of the cue.

2. I have not received my registration email.

2. I have not received my registration email.

There can be several reasons why the registration email is not reaching you. It may be in your Spam folder, as it is an automated email. It may also have been blocked. If you email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. we can send the email again and as it is a reply to your email will probably reach your Inbox.

3. I've lost my Authorization String. How do I find out what it is?

3. I've lost my Authorization String. How do I find out what it is?

Select Member Login from the menu. Login with your User Name and Password, your Authorization String will be displayed.

4 .Changing your license details

4 .Changing your license details

When you already have SCS on your computer and you are upgrading or extending your license with a new Authorization String and/or User Name, you need to go to Help/Registration in SCS to change the registration. SCS will not recognise your new details until you register them here.

5. Can I setup SCS on both my home computer and my theatre/school computer?

5. Can I setup SCS on both my home computer and my theatre/school computer?

Yes, provided you are involved with the theatre/school use of SCS. The 'single-user' license allows for the use of SCS by one person or position, not necessarily on a single PC. It is understood that many SCS users will set up sound cues on their PC at home and then transfer the sound files to a separate PC at the theatre. That is an acceptable interpretation of the 'single-user' condition.

6. Can I just copy SCS onto the other computer?

6. Can I just copy SCS onto the other computer?

No. You must install SCS on the other computer by running the setup program, eg scs11.10.1_lav_win64setup.exe, which is unzipped from scs11.10.1_lav_win64setup.zip. There is no need to have an Internet connection on the second computer - the easiest way to install SCS on the second computer is to copy the scs11.10.1_lav_win64setup.exe file from the first computer on to a USB memory drive, and then plug the USB drive into your second computer. You can run the installer directly from the USB drive by double-clicking on scs11.10.1_lav_win64setup.exe. When you first start SCS on this second computer you will need to enter your registration details (SCS User Name and Authorization String) to register the program on that computer.

7. Moving SCS from one computer to another

7. Moving SCS from one computer to another

See FAQ 5 above. Also, if you are using SCS on a computer that belongs to another person or organization, please uninstall SCS from that computer when you have finished. Otherwise they may consider they have the right to continue using SCS on that computer.

8. I have designed a show on my home computer - how can I transfer this to my theatre computer?

8. I have designed a show on my home computer - how can I transfer this to my theatre computer?

In the Editor in SCS you can create a 'production folder' using the menu item Production / Collect Production Files. For example, if you are running 'Wizard of Oz' then you could create a production folder named 'wizard'. Having created this folder, click the Collect button and all the audio, image and video files used in your production will be copied into the 'wizard' folder, and your cue file (the .scs11 file) will also be saved to the 'wizard' folder. The cues will be adjusted to point to the location of the files in the current folder. To transfer the show to the theatre computer you just need to copy the 'wizard' folder (or whatever you have named it) to a USB memory drive (if it has sufficient free space), and then from there to the theatre computer. When you open the 'wizard' cue file on the theatre computer, it will immediately find all the files for the show.

9. I purchased SCS, so why am I still seeing the demo?

9. I purchased SCS, so why am I still seeing the demo?

Are you running the non-demo version, ie scs11.exe, not scs11demo.exe? On the initial splash screen, what is the version number you see? Is it something like "11.10.1" or "11.10.1 (Demo)"? You should see "11.10.1" (or whatever version it is you installed). The version number can be also be viewed under Help / About.

10. When I connect my PC or laptop to the sound system I get hum or other interference in the sound system. What can I do to stop this?

10. When I connect my PC or laptop to the sound system I get hum or other interference in the sound system. What can I do to stop this?

There's no simple solution that's guaranteed to fix this in every situation, so here are a few things to check or try. Note that the problem you are having is not caused by SCS but by the combination of equipment and cables you are using.

Causes of Hum
1. Incorrect or missing equipment grounds, this can be in the plugs/cables and internal to the equipment.
2. Broken audio cables.
3. Single ended audio cables.
4. Building power.

For case 1 above test and visually check all the power cables and extensions leads. You can also get inexpensive outlet testers that will tell you the incoming voltage (too low a voltage can cause hum). If in doubt get a professional to test and check all the power equipment, this advice also applies to case 4.

Broken audio cable (particularly the shield or earth) will cause hum and noise. This can be easily checked with a cable tester or cheap multimeter.

Using single core (unbalanced) audio cables and equipment are much more susceptible to hum and interference particularly on long cable runs. Where possible use balanced audio outputs and cables, these have a twisted pair surrounded by a braid and or foil shield. Most modern mixers use balanced XLR connectors for inputs and outputs or TRS (stereo jacks).

To remove hum from mono inputs or to prevent hum caused by poor building wiring you can purchase hum suppressor devices that normally contain small audio transformers, these will break the loop and reduce or remove the hum. You can also use these units to convert unbalanced mono audio signals to balanced, as such they would normally go as close to the mono output as possible with the longer cable runs coming from the balanced outputs.

If you just need to convert unbalanced audio to balanced there are many devices you can purchase called a “DI box” (Direct Injection Box).

As with all audio transformers you should check that it has an adequate frequency response for your needs, overdriving the transformer will result in distortion and the advice here is to check the specifications for maximum levels.

Example hum suppressor device: Behringer HD400 Ultra Compact 2 Channel Hum Suppressor.

As with all things electrical consult a local professional as there are many different ways of achieving good results in a safe way and local regulations may affect the way problems are solved.

Power Circuit. Make sure your computer is on the same power circuit as the rest of your sound equipment. Lighting boards and related equipment should not be on the sound equipment circuit. Neither should anything else. A power surge arrestor and or small battery backed uninterruptable power supply (UPS) for the signal end can be a very worthwhile investment. A typical setup would be to run the mixing desk and any radio microphone receivers from the UPS with the laptop being supplied through the surge protected outlets.

If possible avoid using the same power circuits as any lighting or other equipment as these can be quite noisy electrically.

Speaker Selection. If you have multiple speakers (e.g. FOH and upstage) and you get noise on some outputs and not others, then if possible use the better quality outputs for FOH and the noisier outputs for the upstage speakers as they are further from the listening audience.

Battery Power. If you have noise coming from the PC output try using an audio hum suppression unit that uses audio transformers as described above As a last resort, run your laptop on battery power. This is definitely a 'last resort' because you don't want your battery to run out during the show!

Other Source of Info(1). More useful information can be obtained from the Jensen Transformers web site. See www.jensen-transformers.com/application-notes and www.jensen-transformers.com/transformer-faqs/

Other Source of Info(2). See also the paper "A Practical Interference Free Audio System" by Tony Waldron, Technical Manager, CADAC Electronics PLC - www.cadac-sound.com. This is a detailed document that discusses, in particular, earthing issues and what you can do about them.

It is beyond the scope of this short FAQ to go into any greater detail.

11. Sometimes I lose sound

11. Sometimes I lose sound

The most common cause of this is that you are using a USB-connected audio interface and Windows has disabled power to that device. This is due to a Windows feature called 'USB Selective Suspend'. We strongly recommend you disable this feature for any USB device/port that you may use with SCS. For a detailed description of how to do this, see this article: How to Disable USB Selective Suspend from Puget Systems (link used with permission).

12. I have CD's with numerous sound effects. How do I select tracks and import them into SCS?

12. I have CD's with numerous sound effects. How do I select tracks and import them into SCS?

You will need to 'rip' the tracks from the CD's. This will save them as audio files on your hard drive, and these you can use in SCS. To rip the tracks from a CD you can use Windows Media Player or a program like GoldWave. Since you probably already have Windows Media Player (WMP) on your computer, you might as well use that if you don't have another preferred product.

I recommend you rip the tracks on a computer that is connected to the internet. This is because when WMP reads the tracks from a CD it will try to find details of that CD from an internet database. If your CD is a commercial CD and the details are found, then WMP will display the track names (eg '01 Train passing') rather than just track numbers (eg '01 Track 01'). By default, WMP saves files as .wma files which SCS can play.

The only other 'challenge' you may have with WMP is working out just where WMP saved the files! So before you start I recommend you click on the small down arrow beneath the Rip menu item and select More Options. Under the Rip Music tab you will see Rip music to this location. Click on the Change button and select a folder into which the files are to be saved, or make a new folder. Note that WMP will create subfolders so all the tracks you rip from a CD will be in a folder with the name of that CD.

Note: Unauthorized use and/or duplication of copyrighted material may be a violation of copyright law. Please read the note on this subject in the WMP Help file, or in the Help file or documentation provided with the program you use.

13. Can SCS run PowerPoint presentations?

13. Can SCS run PowerPoint presentations?

Not directly, but what you can do is run PowerPoint (©Microsoft) from SCS using the "Run External Program" cue type. In SCS 10 this is implemented using the 'Note' cue type. For information on how to do this, go to the SCS Help and look up 'The Editor' / 'Run External Program' Cues. You will see that you can choose to hide the SCS second window while the PowerPoint is playing. The SCS second window will remain hidden until you start an SCS video/image cue.

Note that if your PowerPoint presentation doesn't include animation or fancy transitions then for the still images you can save them in PowerPoint as JPEG's or similar, and then use Video/Image cues in SCS to show those JPEG's and also any videos.

14. Videos played to my TV are offset to the right

14. Videos played to my TV are offset to the right

This problem is caused by a Windows display setting. From reports received, this problem only seems to occur when a TV is connected as the secondary display. The problem has not been reported with normal secondary monitors or projectors. To fix the problem, right-click on your Windows desktop and select Display settings. In the graphic that shows the two screens, click on display 2. The setting under Change the size of text, apps, and other items probably shows something like 125% or 150%. Change this to 100%. SCS should now play your videos on the TV with the correct position and size, eg full screen. (The above display settings are for Windows 10. Settings may be slightly different for other versions of Windows.)

15. I am using MIDI Control Sends and MIDI Cue Control, and I get 'not enough memory'

15. I am using MIDI Control Sends and MIDI Cue Control, and I get 'not enough memory'

The 'not enough memory' message (or similar) is misleading. It is returned from a Microsoft Open MIDI function call, but the full description is 'The system is unable to allocate or lock memory'.

It seems the error is returned when two or more applications try to access the same MIDI device, such as SCS and grandMA onPC.

The workaround is to create only MIDI outputs but no MIDI inputs in SCS, and to activate only the MIDI input but not the MIDI output in the other application.

Credit: Thanks to Rainer Schön for identifying the cause of the error message, and for providing the workaround.

 

 

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