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This guide shows you how to control a lighting set with Ableton Live using Beam. Whether you have actual fixtures at hand or not, we will show you how to connect to both virtual and real lighting rigs.

Demo Set

For this Getting Started chapter it's a good idea to download this Beam Demo Set. It contains three files:

  • Beam - Demo Capture Project.c2p (Project file for the visualizer)
  • Beam - Demo Liveset Project (Project folder for Ableton Live)
  • Beam - Demo Patch.sbp (Project file for Beam)

As you progress through this guide, we'll let you know what to do with each file.

To see what the end result should look like, check out this video render of of the Beam Demo Set using the Capture visualizer.

Demo Set

Have you downloaded the above Beam Demo Set? It contains everything you need for this tutorial.

Setting up

Let's first launch Beam. When Beam starts, it will pop up the installer. Follow the steps to add Beam to Ableton Live.

All done

Adding your fixtures

When Beam is opened for the first time, you will see an empty patch list. This is where you can add your fixtures:

Beam Empty Beam Empty

! For every fixture you want to control, there needs to be an entry in the patch list. Instead of creating a new patch list from scratch, let's load an existing one from the Beam Demo Set. The zip contains a json file. Beam patch lists are stored in the json format, for easy parsing with other tools.

In Beam, let's load this file. Go to File > Open and select the file Beam - Demo Project.sbp. You should now see a list of fixtures in Beam's patch list interface, each with its own address.

Beam Fixtures Beam Fixtures

With one of the fixtures selected, you will notice additional settings in the panel to the right. Apart from the address, the most important section is the Tags panel, but more about that later.

This fixture list matches the setup of the demo set for Capture, a lighting visualizer. This means that Beam is now ready to control a virtual lighting set.

Setting up the visualizer

First, download Capture. For these instructions, download the fully functional demo version. It doesn't allow saving, but for now we don't need to as we have prepared the demo set for you.


Capture also offers a free Student Edition, which allows saving. It has a limited amount of fixtures, but it is ideal for experimenting with building your own lighting set.

System requirements

Note that the system requirements for Beam and Capture are different: Beam requires macOS 10.13+ and Capture macOS 10.14+. This means that if you're on an older macOS version than 10.14 (Mojave), you will be able to run Beam, but not in combination with Capture. Also note that Capture probably won't work with older Nvidia GPUs.

In Capture, open the Beam - Demo Capture Project.c2p file that came with the Beam Demo Set. This should present you with a small stage, seen from various perspectives.

Capture Sample Project Capture Sample Project

To make the Capture set perform well on most recent computers we lowered its rendering quality settings. With a beefy graphics card, you can get this simulation to look even more realistic.


If Capture is still too demanding for your graphics card, you can lower the quality settings more. Find the Rendering Settings in the Project panel > Design Tab > Views section > Rendering settings button. Details are in the Capture manual.

Note that these settings are saved in the Capture project, so you cannot change them permanently if you are using the Demo version.

The fixture list in Beam should match the fixtures loaded in Capture. You can verify this in Capture: Window > Fixtures.

Capture Fixtures Capture Fixtures

Alright! All the ingredients are here, let's connect them.