I'm sure this has already been answered somewhere, but I'm having trouble finding it.
What exactly are the differences between the console modes (Primary, backup, client, and mirror)? Specifically, what level of autonomy and control does each have?
Do any of them allow a designer at a tech table to program completely separately from an operator in the booth? Where I work, we have multiple dance recital events every year that we have students design lights for, and since we have two consoles, it would be helpful to be able to have two of them able to program at once. Obviously only one console will output, but can two operators work program separately?
being able to work separately doesn't have anything to do with primary/backup/client. those three modes all have the same permissions. the difference is that primary has an additional job and that's outputting…
being able to work separately doesn't have anything to do with primary/backup/client. those three modes all have the same permissions. the difference is that primary has an additional job and that's outputting to the rig, backup has as additional job which is checking if the primary is still around and if it isn't the backup will take over outputting to the rig. the client doesn't have any additional jobs.
the way to make sure that people can work separately from each other when using multiple consoles simultaneously is making sure they have different user IDs. you can then think about more advanced things like partitions, separate cuelists, filtered cuelists, etc. . but different user IDs will get you far.
the most important thing about a multi-programmer environment is that your programmers need to find a set of rules that decides who does what. if both will start typing the same thing they heard on coms you will end up with a mess. and if for everything they're supposed to do they have to bargain first who should do it, you lost more time than you will ever gain with multiple programmers.