BlackTrax Releases Version 2.0

by Jacob Coakley
A screenshot of the new GUI for BlackTrax 2.0
A screenshot of the new GUI for BlackTrax 2.0

BlackTrax version 2.0 includes many new features and an update to the GUI and workflow process. New feature include: a multi-person calibration mode that enables several people with different beacons to calibrate their own selection of lights; improved fixture programming with the ability to quickly view, select and apply settings to several fixtures from across multiple chapters; “Rigid” and “Soft” Frames for more flexible tracking operations and better object tracking. Other new features include: Copy and paste trackables and fixtures between chapters and within chapters; the ability to create a new BlackTrax Project without first requiring wysiwyg information; the ability to send BlackTrax/wysiwyg changes directly without needed to export.

BlackTrax Releases Version 2.0

After more than a year and a half of extensive beta testing BlackTrax releases realtime motion tracking system version 2.0. BlackTrax 2.0 has the largest number of new features, GUI and workflow to date.

Marty Cochrane, BlackTrax Product Manager, explained: “A lot of these improvements were developed from customer suggestions, requests and general feedback. This includes better system reporting, real-time chapter programming and more control over fixtures during the calibration process.”

The new fixture calibration mode improvements on the BlackTrax solution ensure faster calibration. Multi-person calibration enables several people with several different beacons to calibrate their own selection of lights. Color and gobo on the fixtures will automatically be cleared and BlackTrax will have control over zoom/iris. This will allow the user to jump in and start calibrating right away, without needing to create a special BlackTrax calibration pre-set on the console, thus giving the console programmer time to continue their work.

Improvements have also been made to the fixture programming. BlackTrax now has unified multi-fixture settings and the ability to quickly view, select and apply settings to several fixtures fromacross multiple chapters. It also has new icon and table views for fixtures and trackables to display fixture setting information much faster than ever before.

Additionally BlackTrax version 2 offers Rigid and Soft Frames for more flexible tracking operations and better object tracking. Frames combine a collection of tracking points from multiple beacons that make up an object. Rigid Frames allow the orientation of an object to be calculated and tracked. A soft Frame allows a flexible centroid to re-calculate position based on the visible Stringers at the same time.

“Over the course of the beta we received a lot of feedback from customers which we used to significantly improve and refine frames. Improvements include being able to easily replace BlackTrax Beacons in Frames, add or remove several beacons and LEDs from Frames, clone Frames, and apply offsets in real-time,” said Cochrane.

Cochrane added: “BlackTrax version 1 was all about functionality, getting the system to do some cool and amazing things. Now that we have reached the milestone of the world’s most stable and functioning tracking product and it has been working flawlessly in the world’s most demanding projects, we wanted to turn our attention to ease of use, simplicity, and unification.”

Other BlackTrax 2.0 new and improved features:

·       Copy and paste trackables and fixtures between chapters and within chapters.

·       Ability to create a new BlackTrax Project without first requiring wysiwyg information.

·       Send BlackTrax/wysiwyg changes directly without needed to export.

·       Improved Beacon reporting for how fresh radio status is and individual LED reporting in table view.

·       Ability to have multiple Books of Chapters, useful for having more than 255 DMX controllable chapters and for organizing Chapters into different categories/scenes.

To date, BlackTrax has been deployed in over two-thousand shows globally. Marvel Universe LIVE! tracks the movements of the performers so the spotlights and video projection can follow them across the stage. BlackTrax was also used in used in a Mazda MX-5 campaign featuring the car as a pick up needle on a large vinyl record! The possibilities for future projects are endless! 

About CAST BlackTrax

Since 1994, CAST has delivered award-winning solutions to and for the entertainment production industry and the special events meeting industry. Based in Toronto Canada, CAST delivers to the world!

CAST BlackTrax is a ‘complete solution', which means that either CAST or a BTExpert will ensure it is properly installed and trained, to deliver optimal results, as well as provide ongoing support and all new software updates.

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