Figure 53 recently released QLab 3, the latest flavor of the wildly popular software for cue playback. QLab was originally released in 2006. QLab 2, the next big update, came out in 2009. It’s been a few years since QLab has taken such a big step forward. QLab 3 boasts some impressive new features in all areas of the program. Taking a look at video, QLab 3 brings some new guns to the game, namely surfaces, effects, and more refined playback tools.
Surfaces is a powerful, though not unique concept. However, it’s great to see this feature set at QLab’s price point. This will open up many new possibilities for lower-budget shows. When you open the program, every connected display is a “surface.” You can throw video to one of these displays right off the bat for quick programming, or you can refine your surfaces to create a variety of outputs. Each custom surface has perspective correction (corner-pin) adjustments allowing you to adjust the perspective of a surface to any shape or location on a display. You can have multiple surfaces per display, which allows you to adjust video output to your exact needs, as long as your needs are within the footprint of the screen. Corner-pinning can’t go outside the bounds of the screen, which will limit you in some instances. The interface for corner pinning is a little clunky, and it isn’t exactly clear from the beginning exactly how your surface is being mapped. With some trial and error, though, you can be up and running in no time.
You can also add multiple displays to a surface. QLab 3 will even handle the blending between the projectors. You can also adjust the gamma of the blend, so you can hone in on the right brightness to complete the blend. Also of note, QLab 3 will only run on OSX 10.8 or later because of how it uses technology only available in the newer operating system.