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Your first composition

Now that Beam controls Capture, this would be a great moment to open a new, empty project in Live, as we can use the Beam plugins in Live to control our fixtures.

Controlling Pars

In terms of control the simplest type of fixture is a Par. The Par 64 fixtures just have a single channel, which controls their intensity.

To control this intensity musically, add a Par device to a MIDI track in Live. You will find the Beam devices in the User Library folder, in the Live browser. You can just drag the device from the browser onto a MIDI track.

Par device in Live

Notice that in the tags dropdown, no tag group is selected yet. The dropdown contains all the tags that have been assigned to groups of fixtures in the Beam patch list interface. Let's choose the Par64 group.

The Par64 tag was assigned to all the Par 64 fixtures in Beam's patch list, so now we can use this plugin to control all the Par 64 fixtures. Increase the value of the Intensity dial to see all the Par 64 lights light up.

Pars on

Making it musical

One straightforward way to control the intensity of these fixtures musically would be to automate the Intensity control in a clip. But let's try something different.

You will notice that the Par plugin has an envelope with an Attack and a Release. It can be used to trigger the intensity of the Pars with MIDI notes.

First make sure the Intensity control in the device interface is down and the lights are all off. Double-click in a clip slot of the MIDI track to create a clip and add a number of C3 notes to it. When you now play the clip you will see the first lights of the Par group light up rhythmically.

Pars with ADSR

As you might guess, higher notes will light up the other lights in this Par group.

More Pars with ADSR

More detail on which lights are triggered by which MIDI notes can be found on the Patch list page.


A trained musician may notice that there is a small delay between triggering a note and seeing a fixture light up in the simulation. This is only the case when using the visualizer, real lights will not have this delay. A workaround when programming lighting to audio is to temporarily add about 300 ms of track delay to the audio track in Live.

You may have noticed that the Par instrument also has controls for color. These would be applicable if we were working with color LED pars, but with these basic single-channel Pars, the color attributes are ignored. However, we can do even better than color LED pars. Why don't we add some movement too?

Controlling advanced fixtures

Lets see if we can control those advanced moving head lights in the set.

In a new MIDI track, add a MovingHead instrument. Select the Sidebeams tag in from the dropdown and increase the Intensity.

You will see that the Washes at the sides are aimed at the floor. By adjusting the Tilt and then Pan, you can aim them at a suitable angle. Finally, click the color box to pop up a color chooser and set their color.

Adding Movingheads

Adding an effect

As a final touch, and to hint at how signal flow works in Beam, perhaps we can add some continuous movement to the fixtures. From the browser, drag an LFO effect behind the MovingHead instrument.

You will notice that effects don't have a dropdown where you select a tag group, but rather one where you select a parameter type. More about how and why this works can be found on Signal flow.

For now, let's just select tilt. You will notice that the fixtures will start moving rather quickly. Let's slow them down by setting Rate to 0.2 Hz and Depth to 10%. We may also want them to move in a symmetrical range. Therefore we set the Max control to 0.5 and the Min control to -0.5.

To top this off, we can set the Spread control to 75% for an individual phase offset.

Adding an LFO

Running the Demo Set

You have now used all the elementary tools needed to control lights in Capture from Live with Beam! This would be a great time to open the Beam Demo Set.als file in Live that came with the Beam Demo Set, and see if it looks similar to the video below. Feel free play around now that you know the basics of Beam!


Note that in the Live project of the Beam Demo Set the entire lighting composition is made in the Arrangement View. The Arrangement View is great for creating the initial lighting show as it's easier to work with multiple automation envelopes than in the Session View. Once you're done arranging your lighting show, you can move the MIDI clips with notes and/or automation to the Session View for your live performance.

Next steps

When you feel ready, you can review and expand on the features you have used so far in the Basics chapter. Or level up your understanding of Beam's under-the-hood flexibility and its advanced usage scenarios by continuing to the Signal Flow section.

There is just one more thing left to do in this guide: playing your composition on real lights.