A key concept in QLab is the cue sequence. A cue sequence is a series of 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 start-all group
An auto-follow happens after the duration of the first cue. For example, say cue 10 has a duration of three seconds and an auto-follow to cue 11. When you press GO, QLab will trigger cue 10, wait three seconds, and then trigger cue 11 automatically. If you change the target of cue 10 to a file that is longer or shorter, or adjust the duration of cue 10, QLab will adjust the auto-follow time on its own.
To create an 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 delete the auto-follow, select Do not continue from the drop-down menu.
Instead of using the drop-down menu, you can also click in the rightmost column of the cue list, where the icon appears, to cycle through auto-follow, auto-continue, and do not continue, and the drop-down menu will adjust itself accordingly.
You can also use the keyboard shortcut for setting the selected cue's continue mode, which by default is C.
An auto-continue happens after a given post-wait time, which you can edit by clicking in the post-wait column of the cue list. If a selected cue has an auto-continue, then a press of the GO button will start both the first cue and the post-wait. When the post-wait is complete, the second cue will start automatically. 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 play cue 12 immediately, wait 3 seconds, and then play cue 13, and it doesn't matter whether cue 12 has finished yet. By default, cues have a post-wait time of 0 seconds, which means both cues will start simultaneously.
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. To delete the auto-follow, select Do not continue from the drop-down menu.
Just as with auto-follow, you can click the dotted arrow to cycle through auto-follow, auto-continue, and do not continue, or use the assigned keyboard shortcut.
Cues in a start-all Group will start simultaneously when the Group cue is triggered.
To create a start-all Group, either create a Group cue through any of the available methods and drag-and-drop the cues that you want to include into the Group. Alternately, you can select the cues you want to include, and then create the Group cue.
The default keyboard shortcut to create a Group is ⌘0.
Once the Group cue is created, select it, then go to the Mode tab in the inspector and select 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 when 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, or enter the pre-wait time in the Basics tab.
A pre-wait is a valuable tool to use in conjunction with start-all Groups as a way to create a timeline of sorts. 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 start-all 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 their action.
Disarmed cues in a sequence do not interrupt or change the flow of events in a sequence. Their pre-waits and 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.