A background guide is a visual reference for how your stage actually looks in real life. It’s useful to match position, size of your LED panels. On more scenic stages, it helps you program around decorative elements that may obstruct the view of your screens.
Good background guides are front view technical drawings or just a good old fashioned picture taken from in front of the stage on site.
The quickest way to load a guide is to just drag that bad boy from your computer’s browser window. StageFlow accepts jpgs and pngs. If you’re so inclined, you can also use a file chooser to load it instead.
Scaling and Positioning
Once loaded, StageFlow positions your image dead center at 100% scale. At this point, you’ll want to scale it up or down to match the size of your slices. You find the right scale by taking the LED panel in the input map with the lowest pixel pitch (ie the highest resolution) and finding the same panel on the guide. Then you scale the guide up or down by eyeballing those two sizes until they’re in the same ballpark.
This is not an exact science and you don’t need to get it pixel perfect. It’s far more important to nail the position and size of slices relative to each other, than it is to nail their position and size relative to the guide. The guide is really just there to serve as a guide, to help you program before actually arriving on site or from the hotel room after you’ve left.
Once you’ve eyeballed the size to the lowest pitched panels, align the center of the stage in the guide in the center of the StageFlow canvas. This will help with mirroring slices over the vertical and horizontal axes.
During any of this, you can temporarily hide slices that are getting in the way, by folding their screen shut in the Stage menu or individually by clicking their eye icon.
Then the real challenge is positioning and scaling the slices correctly, but we’ll get into that on its own page.
Locking and Transparency
Once scaling and positioning of the guide is done, it’s a good idea to lock it so it doesn’t accidentally get moved. You do this by hitting the little lock icon next to it in the Guide menu.
A locked guide is overlayed on top of all your slices with an adjustable transparency. If you like, you can adjust the transparency value using the slider, or temporarily hide it altogether using the eye icon.
To remove a guide completely, hit the X on the right.