The Stage window is used to add and arrange the display areas used in the presentation. It also provides a preview of your presentation as you move along the timeline, and lets you position media on stage. The title bar shows the ON/OFF LINE status. While online, the production software controls the display computers. The following can be used in the Stage window:
- Control-click to zoom in (changing the preview scale).
- Control-drag to zoom in to the specified area.
- Control-Shift-click to zoom out.
- Control-Alt-drag to pan the window (scrolling its content).
HINT: The commands on the Stage and Preview menus govern the behavior of the Stage window and its preview functionality.
Adding Displays and Projectors
You can also add a display device using the right-click popup-menu. To do so, make sure the Stage window is selected, then right-click anywhere in the Stage (not on a display). The popup-menu gives you the same options as the Stage menu. The display device is then created at the position you right-clicked.
Setting the Stage Scale
Set the viewing scale for displays and images using the “Scale” command on the Stage menu. Alternatively, you can interactively set the scale by clicking in the Stage window while holding down the Control key. This displays a magnifying glass that allows you to zoom in at the clicked location. Drag with the magnifying glass to zoom to a specific area. Control-Shift-Click to zoom out.
Add media to your presentation by dragging it to the desired location in the Stage window. A corresponding cue will be added to the timeline window at the currently selected layer and time position. Alternatively, drag the media to a timeline. To remove the media from the Stage window, remove the corresponding cue from the timeline.
Positioning Media On Stage
You can position media on stage by dragging its preview in the Stage window. To do so, first select the timeline window, then drag the image in the Stage window. Press the Shift key to constrain the move. Double-click a Cue or an individual Position tween point to edit the position numerically (see “Initial Stage Position”and “Position”).
IMPORTANT: To change a position tween point, first click the tween point to go to its exact time position, then move the image. If you don’t go to the tween point first, a new tween point may be added instead.
Using Stage Tiers for Complex Display Arrangements
The straightforward method of adding displays to the stage, as described on the previous page, works fine in most cases. However, more complex display arrangements call for a different approach.
Assume, for example, that you want to make a display layout consisting of a main area with three overlapping (edge-blended) projectors, plus one detached projector on either side, and finally a high-resolution display showing the center part of the screen. This display could be placed outside the theater, as a preview display. The detached projection screens on either side of the center area will generally be used as part of the main show, but will occasionally show different images to augment the center screen.
Merely adding all six displays to the stage will not work as desired for the following reasons:
- The large, separate display overlapping the three projectors in the center will cause WATCHOUT to attempt to edge blend all these four displays (overlapping displays automatically get an edge-blend gradient).
- Panning large images sideways on the main center area, or on the side screens, will make those images intrude on the adjacent display areas. That’s fine while using all five projectors as a single, large canvas, but not when using the side displays independently.
You can overcome these problems by placing each set of displays on their own stage tier. Stage tiers act as independent, named levels on the stage. Edge blending occurs only among displays on the same tier. Furthermore, timeline layers can be associated with specific tiers only, preventing their images from spilling onto displays on other tiers.
To create additional tiers, choose “Tier: Add” on the Stage menu. To add displays to a specific tier, first select that tier on the Tier sub-menu of the Stage menu. To associate a timeline or a layer with a stage tier, see “Stage Tiers”.
Rotating the View of the Stage Window
When working with 3D content, images positioned in 3D space, or rotated around their X or Y axes, it is sometimes hard to see where things are if you only view them from the front. For instance, if you want to make one image orbit another image along a horizontal plane, the motion path will look like a straight line when viewed from the front. Choose “Top” under “View” on the Stage menu to view the stage from the top.
Likewise, for vertical motion, the stage can be viewed from the left. By alternating between these three views, you can create elaborate three-dimensional motion paths.
HINT: To view stage content from an arbitrary angle, add a “3D Mapping Projector” and select its View tab. Position the projector as desired in the Stage window, and use it as a camera to visualize any part of the stage.
Previewing Without Perspective
The Stage window generally shows images in 3D space using the perspective set in Preferences. Deselect “Perspective” on the Preview menu to view and edit images using an ortographic (non-perspective) view.
The right-most part of the Stage window can be used to show a hierarchical list view, called stage list, showing all the display devices and which stage tier they are on. This list can be activated from the Stage menu, or from the right-click menu in the Stage window. The list view can be used, for example, to drag display devices between different stage tiers. You can also center the stage view on a specific display device by right-clicking on it and select “Go To”.