Announcing QLab 5.0
Today we are very, very pleased to introduce QLab 5.0. We've been working on it for almost exactly three years now, and after all that coding we needed a little break. So we made a tiny little movie:
QLab 5 has:
- A multiuser collaboration system which allows multiple people on multiple Macs to work together, live and in real time.
- A redesigned audition system.
- A new audio patch system, more flexible routing options for Mic cues, support for zero-count slices, a linear curve option for integrated fades, and always-on meters in audio effects.
- A completely new video engine, built on Metal, which brings new video effects, multiple video effects per cue, per-cue blend modes, and a nice little performance improvement. We also added NDI input and output and improved support for Hap and Hap Alpha.
- Timecode chasing and locking.
- A powerful new template system for Network cues.
- A bigger, better OSC dictionary.
All the details are below. We're exciting to bring QLab 5 to the world, and we're excited to see what you create with it. We're here at firstname.lastname@example.org to answer any questions or just hear your thoughts.
QLab 5.0 Release Notes
Collaboration. QLab 5 allows multiple people on separate Macs to collaborate on a workspace, live and in realtime, over a local network.
Autosave and Snapshot. Autosave prevents accidental loss of work in the event of a crash or power outage. Snapshots let you easily revisit an earlier version of your workspace to compare against or recover deleted work.
Playlist mode. Group cues have a new Playlist mode that allows you to create sequential playlists which advance automatically or manually with optional crossfading, shuffling, and looping.
Audition improvements. Cues can now be auditioned on an individual basis, and each type of cue output can be given its own audition behavior.
- Audio, Video, MIDI, MTC, and LTC output can be individually set to audition to a specific output, the same output as usual, or no output.
- Video output can also be set to audition to an audition window. Each video stage (formerly called surface) gets its own audition window.
- Light cues audition to an "Audition" tab in the Light Dashboard.
- Workspaces can be set to Always audition which turns every GO into an Audition GO and every Preview into an Audition Preview, in the style of QLab 4.
- Cues in the midst of auditioning can be interrupted and restarted normally with a single GO or Preview command; no need to stop first, then restart.
- You can now manually set the grid size of a cart anywhere from 1 × 1 cells up to 10 × 10 cells.
- Cart cues can now have pre-waits.
- Cart cues display their duration and pre-wait, if applicable, when they are not playing.
- Carts now have three display sizes, just like lists, which can be configured in the General → Display Size section of Workspace Settings.
- Assorted improvements to aesthetics and legibility.
A new I/O tab in the inspector for Audio, Mic, Video, Camera, and Text cues.
The new file search tool makes it dramatically easier to reconnect broken cues to their missing file targets, for example after moving a workspace to a new computer or reorganizing media while QLab is not running.
Workspace Settings can now be exported to a settings file, imported from a settings file, imported from other open workspaces, and drag-and-dropped between workspaces.
The Warnings tab of the Workspace Status window has been comprehensively updated to give you much more and much better information about broken cues as well as non-breaking warnings such as workspace settings which are in need of attention.
QLab 5 runs natively on Apple Silicon.
A contextual menu is now available when right-clicking (or control-clicking) on cues in the cue list and controls in the inspector. The contextual menu gives you quick access to relevant actions and extensive in-line help text with links to the relevant section of the QLab manual online.
Cue colors can be set to appear all the time, only before the cue has played, or only after the cue has played, making it easier for you to use color to mark cues as “unplayed” or “played.”
The “linear” fade curve type can now be edited, allowing sharp-cornered multi-step fade curves.
You can now use the arrow keys to work with control points in fade curves. Use ← and → to select the previous or next point, ⌥ (option) plus arrow keys to move the selected control point, and ⌥⇧ (option shift) plus arrow keys for finer-grained movement.
Setting cues' targets by drag and drop now uses only the target column in the cue list, making it harder to change a cue's target accidentally.
Setting cues’ targets by drag and drop now works bi-directionally; you can drag the acting cue onto its target cue, or drag the target cue onto the acting cue. If both cues could potentially be targets of each other, the dragged cue is set as the target of the cue it’s dropped onto.
Fade cues in “absolute” mode will now override and clear out any previously applied changes made by Fade cues in “relative” mode.
Load cues can now use negative numbers to load backwards from the end time of their targets, just like the Load to Time tool.
QLab 5 uses macOS Dark Mode so that dialogue boxes, title bars, and other window “chrome” look more consistent with the rest of QLab’s interface.
QLab 5 has a new audio patch system which comes with a number of improvements.
- Workspaces support an unlimited number of audio output patches. Audio output patches can be reordered, copied and pasted within a workspace and between workspaces, drag-and-dropped into the Finder to create a settings document, and drag-and-dropped to copy them into the audio settings of other workspaces.
- You can create multiple audio output patches with the same audio device, each with its own routing and audio effects.
- The audio patch editor now supports undo and redo.
- All cues that output audio now use the same set of audio output patches (no more special output patches for Mic cues.)
- If an audio device is disconnected, QLab will still display the name of the disconnected device in the audio inspector, making it easier to work with “offline” audio devices.
- Audio output patches can now use the system output, which is the audio device selected in System Preferences → Sound → Output. This makes it easier for a workspace to be used in a context where QLab ought to use the same audio output as the rest of the Mac, even if that output changes.
Mic cues now use separate audio input patches to designate the device they use for input. This lets you use separate audio input and output devices easily, without requiring you to set up an aggregate audio device. Audio input patches can be reordered, copied and pasted within a workspace and between workspaces, drag-and-dropped into the Finder to create a settings document, and drag-and-dropped to copy them into the audio settings of other workspaces.
Slices in Audio cues (and Video cues) can be set to a play count of 0; zero-count slices are seamlessly skipped during playback.
The integrated fade curve in the Time & Loops can now use a linear fade shape; no obligatory Bézier curves.
Mic cues (and Camera cues) are now able to use input channels numbered above 64. You can’t use more channels than before, but you can, for example, use channels 70 and 71 of your high-channel count device for a two-channel Mic cue.
Audio effect meters now work in all contexts, not just on outputs.
You can now visually edit the start and end times of multiple selected cues by dragging the start time and end time handles in the Time & Loops tab of the inspector.
QLab's video rendering engine has been completely rewritten using the Metal framework, Apple’s modern and fully up-to-date video system. Come for the performance improvements, stay for the longevity.
QLab 5 has an entirely re-designed output system. Instead of Surfaces, video outputs are called Stages and they have considerably more power and flexibility.
QLab 5 adds per-cue blend modes, allowing you to composite cues in nearly limitless combinations.
QLab natively supports NDI 5 for both video input and output. QLab also supports NDI audio input and output.
Camera cues contain an embedded Mic cue, allowing you to use live audio alongside live video.
QLab can display monitor windows for every video input and output so that you can keep tabs on all your visual elements live and in realtime.
Video, Camera, and Text cues can now use multiple video effects simultaneously. The list of available video effects has grown, too, thanks to the shift to Metal, and the amount of processing power needed for video effects (especially blurs) has been nicely reduced.
Video cues which target video files that contain multiple audio tracks now allow you to choose which audio track to use. This is done in the I/O tab.
When a Video cue’s target file contains metadata describing the audio channel layout, that information is used to label the rows in the Levels tab.
QLab now supports an unlimited number of video input patches in a workspace. Video input patches can be reordered, copied and pasted within a workspace and between workspaces, drag-and-dropped into the Finder to create a settings document, and drag-and-dropped to copy them into the video settings of other workspaces.
Slices in Video cues (and Audio cues) can be set to a play count of 0; zero-count slices are seamlessly skipped during playback.
Masks and video surface geometry now happen “upstream” of Syphon outputs, allowing you to send more elaborately crafted video feeds to Syphon-receiving clients.
Video, Camera, and Text cues now have an integrated crop attribute for quick and easy trimming.
Video effects are previewed live in the Geometry tab of the inspector.
When using QLab without a video license installed, Workspace Settings → Video → Video Outputs provides a single, simple control to set all video output for the workspace to a single attached display. All cues will automatically play to this display.
The Light Dashboard has gained an Audition tab which displays the results of auditioned Light cues.
QLab 5 ships with instrument definitions for over 1400 types of lighting fixtures from over 60 manufacturers.
Light commands can now be cut, copied, and pasted when they are selected in slider mode in the Levels tab of the Light cue inspector.
Networking, MIDI, and Show Control
Timecode chasing. Cues set to trigger from timecode can now start in the middle of the cue based on incoming timecode, rather than just at the beginning of the cue, and will skip ahead or back in response to timecode skipping ahead or back. Additionally, Lists and Carts set to receive timecode can optionally be set to pause or stop their timecode-triggered cues when incoming timecode stops, with optional freewheeling up to two seconds.
Network patches can be reordered, copied and pasted within a workspace and between workspaces, drag-and-dropped into the Finder to create a settings document, and drag-and-dropped to copy them into the Network settings of other workspaces.
QLab now supports an unlimited number of MIDI patches in a workspace. MIDI patches can be reordered, copied and pasted within a workspace and between workspaces, drag-and-dropped into the Finder to create a settings document, and drag-and-dropped to copy them into the MIDI settings of other workspaces.
The Network cue has been substantially revamped and now includes support for directly controlling a number of OSC-controllable programs and devices with a minimum of fuss and complexity. The currently available modes for the Network cue are;
- OSC Message
- Plain Text (ASCII strings)
- Hex Codes (hexadecimal values)
- QLab 5
- Go Button 3
- Audio Definition Model (ADM)
- Borealis Vor
- Chamsys MagicQ family
- Creative Connors Spikemark 5
- d&b Soundscape DS100 (which improves upon and replaces the QLab 4 Soundscape/DS100 feature)
- Disguise D3
- ETC ColorSource AV
- ETC EOS family (Element, Ion, Eos, Geo, etc.)
- Flux Spat Revolution
- High End Hog 4
- Innovate Audio panLab 2
- L’Acoustics L-ISA
- Meyer GALAXY (Normal mode and Spacemap mode)
- MusicTribe Behringer X32 and Midas M32
- Yamaha Rivage family (PM3, PM5, PM7, and PM10)
You can now customize the port numbers that workspaces use to receive OSC messages and plain text messages.
Workspaces can have multiple OSC passcodes, each with their own set of access permissions. Custom OSC remote control commands are now compatible with workspaces that use OSC passcodes.
Network cues now support both TCP and UDP transport, as well as OSC 1.1 argument types true, false, impulse, and null.
When live fade preview is switched on, Network cues in 2D fade mode now transmit their message as you drag the control dot around. This should make it easier to experiment with 2D network fades.
MIDI cues, MIDI File cues, and Timecode cues using MTC now all use the same set of patches.
The Triggers tab of the inspector now has a capture button for capturing incoming timecode. For this button to work, timecode must be enabled on the cue list or cart that contains the cue and timecode must be incoming. Capturing timecode can also be done via AppleScript and OSC.
Scripting and Automation
QLab 5's OSC dictionary has been substantially overhauled and expanded upon. Many new OSC commands have been added, many existing commands have new powers or options, and the whole set of commands has been reorganized and refined for clarity.
There are now separate overrides for local network messages versus network messages that go to other devices. For outgoing messages, “local” is defined as any network patch whose address is localhost or 127.0.0.1. For incoming messages, “local” is defined as any message originating from the same computer that QLab is running on.