By Claus Wolter

As former head of sound for the Royal Danish Theatre, I'm all too familiar with SFX as being the answer to a sure, safe run.  So when the people at Cirkusrevyen 08 enlisted me as sound designer for their yearly comedy, music and dance spectacular, I knew it would require the precision expertise of the miraculous SFX.

As I'd predicted, SFX was my best bet for ultimate show control punch and power.  For Cirkusrevyen 08, enjoyed by 165,000 attendees over three months amidst a huge tent in Dyrehaven, Denmark, I used this superb software for running effects, backtracks with click, and even SMPTE code for the lighting.

The original challenge was to create a configuration for the show whereby all effects cues would sound excellent and be as accurate as possible, including chains and fades.  Also, whereby all backtracks with click and SMPTE (for lighting) could  be precise, with the same timing every time, as we'd planned it.


I set the system up with a MIDI chain between the sound desk, outboard equipment and the Layla3G multitrack digital recorders sound card (which the SFX program works nicely with).  This way, I had only one knob to activate for every cue, and everything would change into the preset chosen.

I've found that the Wait function was  and is  a good way to make chains.  With it, I got the same timing between my cues, every time I ran the show.  For some shows, it was necessary to have a MIDI keyboard at my side for sound effects that had to be used at certain points.  In scenes not so tightly arranged, this setup allowed me to activate different sounds on different virtual cues.  It was also quite simple to set up in the program.

I had no problems using SFX during the production of Cirkusrevyen 08, as it worked exactly as I'd wanted it to.  I'm truly pleased with SFX's versatility.  When you're in production meetings, and you explain how easy it is to get all of the effects and backtrack sounds to work, people are impressed.  Its a great experience having this tool by your side, because it's so easy to work with.

Having SFX with me for Cirkusrevyen 08 was extremely handy.  Sometimes, the lighting designer likes getting a SMPTE code.  When there are click tracks and backtracks to work with, it's a good method of making the lighting cues as accurate as possible with the music, every time the button is hit.
You can always inspire people with this simple way to do a perfect show.  Whenever Im designing sound for musicals or other shows, the first thing I think to bring with me is my computer with the SFX program inside.  Since 1977, I've used it for any show I've made.

I've begun working on a new show, for the London Toast Theatre in Tivoli, Copenhagen.  I've  brought the SFX system with me for a smooth-running production.  It is the first time I am doing this  show, and I'm already impressed these people by having told them how easily we can move things around with all the wave tracks they'd wanted to use.  Thanks very much Stage Research!