Drum Beat Matrix - But For Lights

I had an idea that would make creating complex, single cue effects more graphically friendly and quicker to create. What if there was a sort of drum beat editing matrix, like you see in many audio editing software for laying drum beats with all the different types of drums/instruments, but for fixture properties such as intensity, color, etc. I understand this is similar to the timeline feature, but the downside of the timeline feature is that I have found no simple way to create multiple intensity changes (or any feature really) of the same fixture within the same cue. The only way I have achieved this is by creating the intensity changes in separate cues, then combining them into a single cue, which creates multiple intensity change events within the same cue along the timeline that the cue plays for. It really is a hassle to repeat that for every fixture for a short effect that only plays for a cue or two, and it seems like a very roundabout way of achieving this.

My solution to this is to propose this idea of having a subsetting within the timeline, which changes the timeline to BPM rather than seconds, and then adding the capability to drop in intensity events or color events or any other type of fixture-feature event within this matrix of “beats”. This would allow the user to create complex effects without having to spend time in the effects window figuring out which beats you need to skip and how many times it has to play so that it only plays through one cue, etc.

I’m sure I am making it sound easier said than done, but if this was in any way possible, I think it could really boost the complex-effects capabilities that Vista already has. I just feel that this added approach to effects within the timeline could help those that need a more graphical visualization of where the intensity events within their effects are taking place with respect to the beats of the song. I’ve attached a picture of what this looks like in audio editing software, for those who have never used one before. Imagine this same thing except with fixture properties instead of different instruments:

Anyway, if anyone else thinks this would help them program their shows better, go ahead and give this post a like! It would be great to see this feature implemented in a Vista build down the road


Thanks for taking the time to write a detailed feature suggestion.
I have added your +1 to VST-3600. This entry isn’t exactly the same, but I think it might be quite close. To manage expectations, this is not in development as we speak, but is something we would like to add in a future update.

I have also added your +1 to VST-4793, which is to allow the timeline grids to be set to a BPM.
You can actually get quite close to this already with “grid size” > Custom"


The maths would be 60 / BPM = custom grid size. (Although admittedly, we need to allow this to a few more decimal places… but it still might be helpful in the interim, compared to “auto”.



Thanks for the tip! I’ve found decent success doing it that way in the past, but like you said, it isn’t as high fidelity as I’d like to carry out effects over long durations, since the truncated decimal error compounds the longer the cue plays for. Anyway, it works for most cases at the moment. On a semi-related note, is there currently any way to add multiple intensity events on the same timeline of a single fixture within a single cue, as I outlined above? I have done lots of digging for this, but like I said above the only way I have achieved this is by merging cues together.

No, I cue can only properly have a single event for a parameter. While you can do this with merging if you adjust the event at all it will wipe them out.

Usually if I need to do something like this I will use a second list and fire commands from the main list.

There are a few things on the development list that would make this easier but as Jack said, they are not in the current pipeline.