Compressed Sequences

Top  Previous  Next

The layout of a Light-O-Rama sequence file is somewhat verbose.  This is intended to make it easier for third party tools which use LOR sequence files to be created.  However, it has a drawback: Large sequences may be fairly slow to load.  When loading a large sequence in the Sequence Editor, this may be an inconvenience.  But the real problem is when loading a large sequence in the Show Player: It may take several seconds, during which time your show is effectively paused.


To resolve this issue, Light-O-Rama now supports the concept of a "compressed sequence".  A compressed sequence is a separate save file, associated with a sequence but containing only enough information to play the sequence in the Show Player, and optimized for loading speed.  This can speed up loading times dramatically - for example, for a certain large sequence that takes eight seconds to load on a certain computer, the associated compressed sequence only takes a small fraction of a second to load on that same computer.


Light-O-Rama will automatically create compressed sequences whenever appropriate, and the Show Player will automatically use them instead of the associated sequence file whenever they are present.  So, you should not have to take any steps in order to start taking advantage of this feature.  You can, however, prevent the Show Player from using compressed sequences (for example, if something unexpected goes wrong with them), in which case it will simply use the sequences instead.  This can be controlled through the LOR Control Panel's "Use Compressed Sequences" option.


Not all sequences can have compressed sequences associated with them; if a sequence contains loops, or if it contains two or more tracks that have different time lengths than each other, it cannot have a compressed sequence.  There are no other restrictions on what sequences can have compressed sequences.  So, since musical sequences also cannot have loops or tracks of different lengths, note that this means in particular that all musical sequences can have compressed sequences.


Assuming that a compressed sequence can be associated with a sequence, then the Sequence Editor will automatically save a compressed sequence whenever it saves a sequence, unless you disable this behavior via the Export Compressed option in the Saving Preferences menu.  It is generally recommended to keep this behavior enabled, but users with very large sequences might want to disable it in order to cut down on the amount of time it takes to save a sequence.  If you choose to disable this behavior, it is highly recommended that you manually ensure that each of your sequences has an up-to-date compressed sequence built before starting your show (which you can do for a single sequence via the Export as Compressed command in the Sequence Editor's File menu, or for an entire show or schedule via the Sequence Compressor program).


Assuming that you do not turn "Use Compressed Sequences" off, the way that the Show Player handles sequences and compressed sequences is this:


When your show calls for a certain sequence to be loaded, the Show Player will first check to see if there is a compressed sequence associated with that sequence.  If so, and if the compressed sequence is more recent than the sequence, it will load the compressed sequence instead of the sequence.


Otherwise, it will load the sequence.  After loading the sequence, it will check whether or not a compressed sequence can be made for it, and, if so, it will create the compressed sequence.  This is so that in future runs of the show, it can simply use the compressed sequence instead of the sequence.