Posted on Tuesday, October 6th, 2009
The people behind FocusTrack, the increasingly popular tool for documenting show lighting, are delighted to announce the launch of another useful lighting tool: SpotTrack. SpotTrack is a new program for making and managing followspot cue sheets – something that has traditionally been done in Excel or Word using ad-hoc documents created from scratch as required. SpotTrack, by contrast, has been built for the job – managing shows with one to four spots, and making it easy to do things that have traditionally been hard, like printing the cue sheets for each spot without it being full of blank lines occupied by cues for the other spots. At the same time, SpotTrack breaks up the cue sheet into scenes or songs, making it easy for the caller and all of the spot ops to find their place when jumping around the show during technical rehearsals.
SpotTrack also aims to reduce the amount of typing required of whoever is running the spots – the LD, associate or spot caller. Clustered around the main cue sheet area are shortcut buttons that can be customised with character names, beam sizes or regularly-used instructions – ‘iris in’, ‘fade out’ or whatever. All of those things are then just a click away.
And SpotTrack provides a home for lots more information than just the spot cues themselves: it can store the setup for each spot (type, colour load, operator), details of the characters in the show (name, cast name, understudy name), pictures of the characters, and even the show’s cue list, which can be imported from FocusTrack which can, in turn, import show data from ETC Eos/Ion, MA grandMA and Strand 500-series consoles. Best of all, SpotTrack supports two backstage charities: the program is sold per show (think of it as a consumable, like colour or light bulbs) with each copy costing £45, but with 15% of that sale price going to one of two backstage charities: Light Relief in the UK, or The ESTA Foundation’s Behind the Scenes in the North America – whoever’s buying the copy gets to choose.
“Spot calling has always been a hard job – processing lots of information in the fraught period of teching a show,” comments Rob Halliday of FocusTrack. “It’s always seemed to me that there should be a tool dedicated to helping with this; I’m hoping that with SpotTrack we’ve provided such a tool, useful not only to those in tech and calling shows on tour, but also to those needing the support of the two fantastic industry charities that SpotTrack will be contributing to.”
“In creating a new program for managing followspot cues, SpotTrack has also created an opportunity for you to help your colleagues in need,” says Rick Rudolph, the Chair of the Behind the Scenes Committee. “The commitment to donate a portion of sales to Light Relief and Behind the Scenes will hopefully inspire others to follow. Our hats go off to SpotTrack which now joins a growing group of supporters who have quietly made a difference in the effectiveness of these two charities.”
“This useful new tool will not only help light the stars but help those who light the stars!” notes award-winning lighting designer Rick Fisher, co-founder of Light Relief. “By supporting Light Relief and Behind the Scenes, SpotTrack can bring some light to those in our industry most in need.”
Further information about Light Relief can be found at www.lightrelief.org.uk; further information about Behind the Scenes can be found at www.estafoundation.org/bts.htm.
Further information about SpotTrack, including download (Mac or PC, with a demo mode allowing the software to be tested) and purchasing, can be found on-line at www.spottrack.co.uk.