StageFlow’s real power are its Looks. A Look is how you lay out your content on the stage. In a single Look, you can make a single piece of content cover the whole stage. You could also choose to position three copies of your content on the left, middle and right. You could display your content in a selection of slices or maybe just have it cover a single slice. It’s up to you.
Working with Looks #
When you start a new show, StageFlow gives you a single empty Look. You can find it in the Looks menu. To add more Looks, you the ‘+ Look’ button at the bottom of that list. StageFlow limits you to a total of 16 Looks. You reorder Looks by dragging them up and down in the list. Hold down ALT while dragging to copy a Look in its entirety. If you no longer need a Look, you can delete it using the X button on its right.
Each Look has a resolution. The resolution of a Look is tied to the resolution of the content you use in that Look. StageFlow defaults to 1920×1080, but of course you can change it to whatever resolution you need.
You change the resolution in the Inspector on the right of the screen. After changing the resolution, any new Looks you create will default to that new resolution.
In the Inspector, double clicking the Look’s name will let you rename it. Also, you can use the < and > buttons to quickly cycle through your Looks. Pro-users hit the> button while holding down ALT to quickly create a new Look.
An empty Look is pretty pointless, so every Look can have one or more Focals. Focals are instances of the content you play in that Look.
You create a Focal by selecting the slices you want to use for it. This could be all the slices on the stage, a selection or just a single slice. Whenever one or more slices are selected, you can hit the ‘+Focal’ button in the Looks menu or the ‘+’ button in the Inspector.
The moment you hit this button, StageFlow does a bunch of math and creates a Focal with the resolution of your content, scaled to precisely cover your selection of slices. Because things don’t always have to be hard.
You can move Focals between Looks by dragging them in the list and Alt-dragging a Focal will copy it.
Focals can be scaled and dragged just like regular slices. This is huge.
By default, StageFlow will center your Focal directly over the slices that are part of it. But you can drag and scale the Focal to be off center. This way you can have only the left side of your content show up on the wings on the left side of the stage and the right side on the wings on the right side. If dragging is not your jam, you can also fill out precise numbers in the Inspector.
StageFlow will include all the slices that are completely covered by a focal. Included slices will turn bright purple. If you don’t want a particular slice to be part of a Focal, you can just click it and it will be ignored for that Focal.
You can also see which slices are included and excluded by folding open the Focal in the Looks menu. If you prefer, you can also click there to toggle their inclusion.
It’s important to understand that toggling the inclusion does not mean the slice itself is toggled off, not in StageFlow and not in Resolume. It just means that this particular slices won’t be part of this particular Focal. The slice will still be visible if its included in other Focals in the same Look or in other Looks.
In the Inspector of the Focal, you can see how much the content will be scaled up or down. Of course it’s best to keep this under 100%, but there’s no limits. If you want to break the rules, you do you. You’re a loner, Dottie. A rebel.
By holding down Shift while scaling the Focal, you’re sure that your content won’t get distorted. Of course you can scale the Focal to any size and ratio you want. You know your content will be out of proportion when the percentages for X and Y scale are out of whack.
Focal Options #
Besided scale, position and which slices are included, Focals have more options. Ye gads, look at all them options.
Arrange defines how your content is distributed over the slices. Using Perspective, StageFlow will calculate where all the slices are on the stage, take into account negative space, scaling and overlap, and remap your content to your input map so it appears ‘perspective correct’ on the real stage. Duplicate is the same behavior as Slice Transform. It positions copies of your content to fill each and every slice in the Focal.
Flip let’s you flip your content over the X axis, the Y axis or both.
This is a powerful setting. By default, StageFlow doesn’t include a slice in a Focal unless it covers it completely. By switching to Partial coverage, you can include slices that are only partially covered by a Focal, to create all sorts of combined looks.
You get even more hidden power user features with the Extend option. Extend will let you Tile or Mirrored Tile a smaller piece of content to fill the slice. This is very useful if you are working with very high resolution LED panels and your content would end up looking pixelated when scaled up. Of course, in order for this to work well, your content has to look good when tiled too.
To see the result of changing this option, your Focal has to be smaller than the slice it’s covering and have its Cover Mode set to Partial.