QLab 4: Now with Touch Bar!
Updated: Mar 4, 2021
Let's face it, when the Touch Bar was first announced it didn't look like something that would "revolutionize" our industry.
Given its small size and limited apps implementing the feature at launch, the Touch Bar didn't catch my attention nearly as much as I had hoped.
But then QLab 4, and the direct inclusion of Cue Carts, showed me that having a touch surface that triggers cues (iPad with QLab Remote app) was a fast and essential part of my workflow.
Though, as I progressed with this setup, having my iPad and Mac to program cues efficiently was a bit cumbersome to say the least, which brought my gaze toward the Touch Bar.
Various other apps I use daily (Vectorworks, iWork Suite, etc.) had Touch Bars, so I thought QLab should join the fray, whether Figure53 decided to do it or not.
Another app I had been using for a few years prior, BetterTouchTool, had just recently implemented custom Touch Bar button and setting presets, so I was able to not only build what I wanted, but didn't have to dig into Xcode and build anything from scratch!
My first stab at it was to just to put buttons on the Touch Bar that were buried in QLab's menu bar & workspace preferences; Panic, Active Cues List, Workspace Prefs Window, etc...
But as I dug deeper in BTT's settings, tweaked some more things in the background with my Mac and merged over my custom Script & OSC commands (which all lived in a 8x8 Cue Cart in my template file), I realized I could actually "replace" the iPad as a trigger device.
After months of adding, removing, perfecting, destroying buttons, sliders and other Touch Bar elements, I got to a point where I was happy with the result!
Note: I do not currently have a license for Lighting, so aside from the toggle button for the Light Dashboard, I have no other Lighting based buttons. This is my next BIG addition to the Touch Bar preset Within the next month or so. (Sliders for RGB, Pan/Tilt & Save/Update Cue Commands)
Touch Bar Preset in BetterTouchTool Example:
"Main" Bar :
"Add Cue" Bar (Revealed by tapping the "QLab" button):
"Scripts & Misc" Bar (Revealed by holding SHIFT):
"Audio" Bar (Revealed by holding CONTROL):
"Video" Bar (Revealed by holding OPTION):
"Commands" Bar (Revealed by holding COMMAND):
Added Keyboard Shortcuts in System Preferences for Menu Bar Items:
Now to the part you've probably been waiting for...
"How do I get this for my machine?"
I've been asked by many QLab users in the past at conventions, classes and while working on productions, if I can share my work and do a full step by step how-to for this.
I am all for intellectual sharing if it means peoples' workflows are streamlined, designs are actualized and stress is reduced, but with the handful of times I've put out a basic guide to have people use my Touch Bar, I've run into a few complications. The biggest of which being that I have standardized my network patch & other settings that others may change from project to project.
All this being said, I don't want to stop those who feel they can tackle the challenges, so instead of making things available as a "Here's the link...good luck!" sort of thing, I'll be doing things via email on a user to user basis. This way I can personally walk people through the process if they'd like to get this working on their machine.
If you feel you're up to the task, please like this blog entry and jump over to https://github.com/dustindmiller/QLab-Touchbar for the preset & instructions.
I am available at Connect@DustinDMiller.Design for any and all questions.
Design & Conquer My Friends,