Encoder Envy

Do you ever find your self furtively glancing in the direction of your lighting colleagues and feeling deeply envious as they command their domain, by gliding their silky digits over their beautifully machined, perfectly balanced, highly polished, continuous encoder wheels?

Well, with minimum outlay for hardware, or a rummage in the bottom of a draw, you too can bring the power of the continuous controller to your QLab programming experience.

You need a controller with a continuous encoder wheel that will generate repeated simulations of key presses as the wheel is turned. Suitable types include  Contour Shuttle  (used in this example) or Griffin Powermate.

Here’s the example workspace in action:


How it Works:

The controller controls the MASTER level of the currently selected cue with the following key layout, leaving lots of other buttons free for other purposes.


Shuttle Controller Setup

Shuttle settings

Turning the jog wheel left generates a key press 1 for each click

Turning the jog wheel right generates a key press 2 for each click

Pressing button 13 and turning the jog wheel gives either shift-1 or shift-2 for each click depending on the direction

Buttons 11 +13 generate a single press of 5 or 6 respectively.

QLab Programming

6 OSC cues are used in the workspace

Each has a hotkey trigger corresponding to a keystroke generated by the controller. Here’s the cue to decrease the master volume which is triggered by “1”


And here is the OSC Setting for that cue


The custom OSC message  /cue/selected/level/0/0/-1 means that the Master Level of the currently selected cue will be decreased by 1 dB every time the message is sent.

The other OSC cues are similar. Here is a complete table of the cues required.

OSC table shuttle.xlsx

You can download the complete workspace here

And for the ultimate in QLab control checkout how to construct complex control systems in QLab 4.1 here

Chapter Author: Mic Pool

Music in Workspace: Egyptien by Rameau (Public Domain)


Shuttle Controllers are products of Contour Design. All trademarks acknowledged.