[Updated for QLab 4.1 13 JUL 17]

Sometimes it is desirable to use QLab for performances that are less structured than a linear play or musical. In this example, we will assume a performance involving a  solo performer who tells a story which he invites the audience to structure differently every night. There will be a selection of preset scene ambiances, containing sound and video cues, which might be required in any order.  Every time the ambiance changes the audience experience a seamless, crossfaded transition.

Prior to QLab 4, this required a complex solution which is described in detail below. In QLab 4 this method is obsolete, as QLab now includes a comprehensive set of actions that can be performed when a cue is triggered, including fading all other cues.

Trigger actions

This is in the triggers tab of the inspector for most cue types. Full instructions can be found in the QLab documentation online here

For QLab 3 Users:

In this example, the workspace contains  4 looks or soundscapes, but can easily be expanded to any number.

The scenes can be called by hotkey or MIDI note. An Ableton Launchpad would allow banks of 64 presets scenes to be instantly recalled.

This video shows 4 scenes replayed in an arbitrary order.

How it works:

There is a hotkey set up for each of the scenes which triggers the scene. Before firing the group cue for the scene it sends an OSC PanicInTime command (new in QLab 3.1.10)  to the entire workspace, initiating a fade of all the currently running material. The Fade Time is set in the argument to the OSC command in settings. e.g /panicInTime 15 gives a 15s fade of all running cues.

In the screenshot below, Scene 3 is initiated by pressing Key “3”. This panics the workspace causing all currently playing material to fade. Immediately after the panic is initiated an OSC message starts cue SC3, which is the group cue containing the fades and the video and audio cues. When SC3 if fired it loads its content so the content can be snapped to the minimum level and opacity, in the SNAP OUT fade cue, ready to be faded in, in the time set, in the cue named FADE 2 (which can be different for each scene).

Non Linear cuelist

You can download an example workspace here. This workspace requires QLab 3.1.10 or later

The example workspace does not contain any sound or video content.

Put your own video and audio cues (or anything else) for each scene in the groups called “Your contents goes here”

Chapter Author; Mic Pool

Demo video music: “Dead Drop”, “Sapphire Isle”, “Supernatural”, “Time Passes”
by Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons By Attribution 3.0
 Creative Commons License