An essential concept in QLab is the cue sequence. A cue sequence is simply two or more cues that are triggered together from one single press of the GO button (or one single incoming MIDI command, MSC command, OSC command, hotkey press, etc.) Cue sequences can be built in three different ways:
- By connecting cues with auto-follows,
- By connecting cues with auto-continues,
- By putting cues into a Group cue set to "start all children simultaneously."
A cue set to auto-follow will trigger the next cue after the first cue is complete. For example, let's say we have two cues, cue 10 and cue 11. Cue 10 has a duration of three seconds and is set to auto-follow. When cue 10 is standing by and you press GO, QLab will start cue 10, wait three seconds, and then start cue 11 automatically. If you change the length of cue 10 to eight seconds and then run the cue sequence again, QLab will start cue 10, wait eight seconds, and then start cue 11. The following cue start after the prior cue finishes.
To set a cue to auto-follow, select Auto-follow from the drop-down menu in the bottom-left corner of the Basics tab in the inspector. An arrow with a circle on top will appear in the far-right column of that cue's row in the cue list. To remove the auto-follow, select Do not continue from the drop-down menu.
You can also click in the rightmost column of the cue list, where the arrow icon appears, to cycle through auto-follow, auto-continue, and do not continue, and the drop-down menu will adjust itself accordingly.
The default keyboard shortcut to cycle through continue modes of the selected cue or cues is C.
A cue set to auto-continue will will trigger the next cue after its own post-wait time has elapsed. By default, cues have no post-wait time, so an auto-continue will cause the next cue to trigger simultaneously.
For example, say cue 12 is standing by, has a post-wait of 3 seconds, and cue 13 is next in the cue list. Pressing GO will start cue 12 immediately, wait 3 seconds, and then start cue 13, and it doesn't matter whether or not cue 12 has finished yet.
To create an auto-continue, select Auto-continue from the drop-down menu in the bottom-left corner of the Basics tab in the inspector. An arrow with a dotted line will appear in the far-right column of that cue's row in the cue list. To remove the auto-continue, select Do not continue from the drop-down menu.
Just as with auto-follow, you can click the dotted arrow in the cue list to cycle through auto-follow, auto-continue, and do not continue, or use the assigned keyboard shortcut.
Cues in a Group set to Timeline mode will start simultaneously when the Group cue is triggered.
To create a Timeline Group, you can either make a new Group cue and drag cues into it, or you can select two or more cues which you want to put into the Group, and then create the Group cue. The selected cues will automatically be placed within the Group.
The default keyboard shortcut to create a Group cue is ⌘0.
Once the Group cue is created, select it, then go to the Mode tab in the inspector and select Timeline - Start all children simultaneously.
For more information about Groups, including about other types of Groups, please refer to the Group Cues section of this documentation.
If a cue has a pre-wait time set, triggering that cue will start the pre-wait counter, and the cue will start once the pre-wait time has elapsed. You can assign a pre-wait to a cue by double-clicking in the pre-wait column of the cue list and entering a time. You can also use the keyboard shortcut, E by default, or enter the pre-wait time in the Basics tab.
A pre-wait is a valuable tool to use in conjunction with Timeline Groups as a way to create a timeline of cues. For example, let's say you want a series of cues 20, 21, 22, and 23 to each start two seconds apart after pressing GO. You can put the cues in a Timeline Group, and assign a pre-wait of two seconds to cue 21, four seconds to cue 22, and 6 seconds to cue 23. When the Group cue is triggered, all four cues will start simultaneously, but the pre-wait times of cues 21, 22, and 23 will elapse before they actually begin.
You can then adjust the pre-wait times of each of the four cues without altering the timing of the other three.
Disarmed cues in a sequence do not interrupt or change the flow of events in a sequence. Their pre-waits, post-waits, and follows are still respected, but the cue itself does not execute. Disarmed Audio cues play no audio, disarmed Video cues play no video, disarmed MIDI cues send no messages, and so on.