FocusTrack at PLASA 2005
Moving light tracking software on show on the Strand Lighting stand
8th September 2005

FocusTrack, the new database system for tracking and documenting the use of moving lights for theatrical productions, will be on show at the 2005 PLASA Show, which runs from September 11th to 14th at Earl's Court in London.

FocusTrack was designed by lighting programmer Rob Halliday to give those working with moving lights an easy and efficient way of storing and managing the data connected with the use of those lights in shows. This includes the set-up of the moving lights (patching, orientation, which gobos and colours they are loaded with) and then the use of those lights - which preset focus positions they are stored in, where they are focused, and which cues those positions are used in. FocusTrack can store a huge array of information describing how lights are focused, including grid focuses, written descriptions and digital photographs.

This information can be stored in FocusTrack manually by lighting programmers or assistants. Alternatively, for those using Strand Lighting's 300- or 500-series lighting consoles, FocusTrack can process a showfile to figure out which lights are used in which preset focuses, and which focuses are then used in which cue. FocusTrack can also analyse the showfile for moving lights and any other lights with attributes (for example, channels with colour scrollers), making it easy to answer such previously tedious-to-investigate questions as 'which colours do we actually use in the scrollers' and 'which gobos do we actually use in each light'.

FocusTrack makes it easy to maintain the look of a show either over a long run or on a tour. Swapping out channel 1? List all of its focuses and check the new light against the pictures and descriptions. A particular piece of scenery on stage for rehearsal? List all of the focuses involving that scenery and check the lights. FocusTrack can also step through a show cue by cue listing either all of the moving lights used in each cue or just those focuses which appear for the first time in that cue, making it easy to check and touch-up the moving light focus during a dress rehearsal. FocusTrack includes 'check boxes' allowing you to tick off each focus as you correct it, making it easy to see what you've done and what you've still got to do.

FocusTrack can also control Strand consoles where required, bringing up lights in a particular focus. This means that the process of photographing each light in each focus is greatly simplified since FocusTrack can set each light to the right position then tick off that a picture has been taken before importing the correct photos to match each focus - and, when re-focussing a show in a new venue, FocusTrack can save typing by getting each light set in the right focus group ready for its focus to be updated.

FocusTrack is already in use on a range of shows including Mary Poppins, The Woman in White and Billy Elliot in London's West End, Miss Saigon, Highland Fling, Rebecca and Ducktastic on tour around the UK and at English National Opera. At PLASA 2005 it will be on show on the Strand Lighting stand, K24, alongside the latest updates to Strand's console software.