Discussing The P3 Mix Channel: Revolutionizing Creative LED Programming

The Martin range of P3-compatible creative LED and lighting fixtures has been growing steadily. With the introduction of the latest Martin product families, including MAC Aura PXL and VDO Atomic Dot, a new function that revolutionizes P3 programming was added - the P3 Mix Channel.

When controlling these new fixtures via the Martin P3 System Controller, you can drive their colors and intensity from the lighting desk, a video signal or a mix of both. This offers a new range of possibilities to create looks on stage. For some songs or cues within a song you might want to dial in colors or pixelmap effects from your lighting console, while for other songs or cues you might want to treat your fixtures as pixels within an entire videomap.

DMX Value P3 Mix
0 - 26 DMX-Mode
27 - 228 Mix-Mode
229 - 255 Video-Mode

The P3 Mix Channel is a dedicated DMX channel, available on these new fixtures, with three different control ranges:

  • DMX Mode - In this range, the fixture is fully controlled from the lighting desk. Video mapping on the P3 System Controller is ignored by the fixture, as colors and output are fully controlled from the corresponding DMX channels.

  • Mix Mode - In this range, you can provide a crossfade between colors, dialed in from the lighting desk and video mapping from the P3 System Controllers. For example, you might have full red dialed in on the desk, and video with blue patterns feeding into the P3 System Controller. With the P3 Mix channel set to 27, the fixture will output full red. With the P3 Mix channel set to 228, the fixture will output the blue video content. With the P3 Mix channel set to an intermediate value, it will output a crossfade mix between the two (for example, when set to 127, the fixture will output half red with the blue video content overlaid).

  • Video Mode - In this range the output from the fixture is controlled from the video-content being fed into the P3 System Controller. But, the color channels on the lighting fixture can still override the colors from the incoming video. So if you have video content with white patterns being fed into the P3 System Controller, you can still use the color channels of the fixture to give that content a different color. This enables you to use any content (regardless of color), but still match the colors coming out of the fixture to the rest of your look on stage.

It's also worth noting that the built-in effect macros (and all other channels) from the fixture will work, regardless of what range the P3 Mix channel is in, allowing you to run the fixture in Video Mode, but still apply effects such as strobe, gobos, spectrum shift, etc., on top of the video, which offers even more control possibilities to achieve the desired look on stage.

Additionally, fixtures offering different “layers” of light will offer multiple P3 Mix Channels. The MAC Aura PXL is a great example, as it has the main beam LEDs and the Aura backlight LEDs. Therefore, the MAC Aura PXL offers two separate P3 Mix Channels: Beam P3 Mix and Aura P3 Mix, enabling you to determine how you want to control each “layer” of the fixture. Drive a solid color on the beam, while running video content over the Aura layer. Dial a solid color on the Aura while running video-patterns over the beam LEDs. You can even map the Beam and Aura onto separate pieces of video content. The possible combinations and achievable looks are endless.

But there is more...
Even on legacy fixtures without the P3 Mix channel, P3 System Controllers allow you to toggle between DMX controls, Art-Net PixelMapping and video mapping. The P3 Switch channel on these fixtures operates similarly to the P3 Mix Channel, with the exception of the Mix-mode, which offers maximum freedom to achieve the looks you want.

Make sure to check out the creative potential the P3 Mix Channel offers, once you get your hands on one of these fixtures.

Click here to access P3 and other Martin training videos.