Cognito Shift Key Magic

At first glance, Cognito doesn’t have many buttons on it. The reason is twofold. First off, the user interface was streamlined as much as possible to minimize learning curve. Second, the touchscreen provides the tools necessary, in a task-oriented fashion, removing the need for specific hard buttons for specific functions. There are dedicated hard keys for the most common operations like Go, Record and Release.

Once you become more familiar with Cognito, you may begin looking for shortcuts for other common operations. Many of these are hidden from the casual user on purpose, to avoid information overload when first learning the console. But through the magic of the Shift key, you can expand your Cognito programming chops and operating efficiency.

The first Shift trick most people discover is how to select a range of fixtures. Select the first light of the desired range on the Fixture Grid, press and hold the Shift key, then touch the final light in the desired range. The table below covers the other operational accelerators currently supported.

Pressing both Shift keys simultaneously will jump you back to your last display. For example, if you are in SELECT and choose some lights, then go to CONTROL to control them, when you press both Shift keys you will jump back to SELECT. You could also be in PLAY running the show, but use this combination to go to SELECT to watch the levels change on the lights, then quickly get you back to PLAY again.

When running multiple Playlists, it’s possible for one Playlist to steal levels from another. For example: In your main Playlist, Cue 10 moves some lights into position and makes them blue. But then you run a color chase Playlist that makes them red, then yellow, then pink. To get Cue 10’s blue look back again, rather than backing up a cue on the main Playlist and running it again, you can just press Shift+Go and Cue 10 (the current cue in the main Playlist) will be “asserted”. You can also use this combination to quickly finish a long fading cue.

If you want to release (or turn off) a Playlist, you could go to PLAY | TRANSPORT and press the backwards facing arrow. Or to do the same thing from any screen, just press Shift+Pause of the Playback you want released (left or right).. Remember, PLAY | OPTIONS allows you to adjust the Playlist Release Time.

Shift+Record is a very handy feature, especially when revising looks. Pressing Shift+Record brings up a dialog box of items it’s possible to update after you’ve made changes. For example, in Cue 1 you set the level of the chandelier. Then in Cue 2 you move some lights, record a Library Position named Stairs and make the lights “Pretty Blue”. You also change the intensity level of a light that is currently riding on Memory 8 and the chandelier. After recording, the designer has you tweak the position and color of the movers and adjust the level of the intensity of the thing on the Memory. Now press Shift+Record, and Cognito will ask if you want to update Cue 1, Cue 2, Stairs, Pretty Blue and Memory 8. You can then choose from the list any or all items and carry on knowing everything went to the right place without having to make a bunch of notes.

When you are in CONTROL | WHEELS, and the third bar from the bottom called WHEEL BANKS holds multiple items, pressing an Attribute Family button (any of Intensity, Color, Position or Shape) will step you forward from item to item. Holding Shift+Attribute Button will step you backwards through the Wheel Bank items.

While in CONTROL | WHEELS, press the A, B, C or D button next to the Wheel to open a list of specific values (i.e. gobo names, pan degrees). Use the wheels to scroll through the list and press the button again to confirm the selection. When used in conjunction with Shift, the button resets the associated attribute to its default value. On some attributes, subsequent presses will take the value to its extents (lowest then highest then back to defaults).

In CONTROL | WHEELS, Shift+Wheel provides fine movement on attribute values. This is very handy when panning and tilting a light. Shift+Wheel also works on some lights with gobo and color wheels to give you splits. When editing Cue fade times, Shift+Wheel will set timings in tenths of a second. In PLAY | PLAYLISTS, the yellow wheel scrolls through the cues, whereas Shift+Yellow Wheel jumps to the top or bottom of the Playlist.

In PLAY | PLAYLISTS, on-screen up and down arrows may be used to scroll the Playlist. If you hold down Shift, the arrows change to the icon shown here. Shift+Arrow Icon will take you to top or the bottom of the Playlist.

The last tool used in CONTROL stays active when you return to SELECT. Press Shift while in SELECT to change the paging arrows into Next (+) and Previous (-) Light icons. Use these icons to select the next (+) or previous (-) light in the Fixture Grid. If you have a range of lights selected, the Next and Previous icons will round-robin through the selection set, one light at a time. If you only have one light selected, selection will move to the next higher (or lower) light. Use this trick to quickly tweak intensity for a set of lights, for example.

Press Shift+Pin button to open up the Pin Crossfade Time dialog. Use the red wheel to change the fade time. Hold down Shift and roll the red wheel to adjust in tenths of a second.

Bump buttons are configured when recording a Memory, and can be set as Disabled, Momentary, Toggle or Radio. Press Shift+Bump button to temporarily change the button’s configured behavior. A Momentary bump button will Toggle (i.e., stay down). A Toggle button will act as a Momentary. If you hold Shift and press a Radio button that is currently down (active), it will pop up. This is the only way to clear a group of Radio buttons so that they are all off.

When the Hints Overlays are active, by pressing the “?” button, the overlays may be closed quickly by pressing Shift+”?”.

Record has operational accelerators too. These work a little differently from the shortcuts described above with Shift because you don’t hold down Record and press another button, but rather press Record (and let it go) then press another button afterwards.

Shift+Record then Bump button will record a Memory to the select location using the default values.

Shift+Record then Go button will append a new cue to the end of the respective Playlist using the default values and take you to that cue.

Shift+Record then Record again will record to the next available item based on what you last recorded. For example, if you’re recording cues, Record- Record will append a new cue at the end of the Playlist. If you’ve just recorded a Memory, Record-Record will record to the next available Memory location. Same is true if you’ve just recorded a Position Library, and so on.