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Full stage VU/Intensity meter? (MIDI?)

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by TheDonkey, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

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    Location:
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    So as I was coming home after play rehearsal today, I got to thinking about fund-raising ideas. Being the most theater technically knowledged person at this school(as some others say, not me) I wanna take the toughest route.

    I'm considering the technicalities of setting up a Game day, find some people to donate Rock Band and/or Guitar Hero, DDR, etc for a day, charge by donation to play, etc etc.

    But I wanna do it with a twist.

    Because it's a high-school theater, it's more of a "Multi-purpose" space, so there's a drop down projector screen and projector, thus Game day.

    What I would like to do, is SOMEHOW, rig up our lighting board/system to act as a "Intensity" meter having the Cyc color lights flash, and the Stage Left and Right lights flash Down stage with the intensity.

    Only thing is, is that I have NO CLUE how to do it. Well very little.
    We have a Strand MX board at our disposal.

    At first I though it could be done with Effects, but I don't want the lights to flash in sequence as much as moving through the zones with the intensity(and the board uses Din audio connectors for which we don't have outs for on either of our mixers)

    Then I got the idea to use a laptop with MIDI out and plug it into the board.

    It would have to accept a line input from the mixer running the game, somehow convert it to a manageable format for VU, then convert to MIDI and send to board. I have read the manual, and there it shows that the MIDI is meant so that the board output can be recorded as an "Audio" track in a sequencer, then played back with the music.
    (In my head this sounded easy, but I just realized how complex the plan is)

    So any suggestions/theories as to how this could be done?


    Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    The MIDI in your console is designed to be able to fire cues and macros. Through this yo can also trigger effects and other actions. The console probably only responds to a very small set of MIDI Show Control Commands. Also, MIDI is not an audio connection, it is strictly data. The MIDI sequencer on the console allows you to send specific commands at specific times so that you could sync actions on the console with other MIDI Show Control capable devices.

    So, the short answer to your question is that there is no real easy way to do what you want to do. is it possible, probably. However, you would have to program all of the effects and you would have to find software that could convert audio amplitude to MIDI Show Control signals (this is the part I am not sure you can actually do). You would have to program all of the looks and decide when and how they get triggered.
     
  3. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

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    Makes sense.

    Yeah, the problem would be the lack of real control.

    And it doesn't even use Show Control, it has its own protocol.
     
  4. zuixro

    zuixro Active Member

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    What I would do is program some chases, lights, whatever on your light board as cues. Run a line in to your computer from your sound console, and write a MAX/MSP patch to fire cues on the board, through MIDI, based on different audio "events" (mostly volume probably, but I think you can do different frequencies). Instead of sending the "GO" MIDI command, you would have to say "GO Cue:x", I don't know if a Strand can do that, I don't have any experience with Strand (but I do know that the Express 48/96 can).

    Note: I do not have MAX/MSP, and I haven't used it much, but I have seen similar things done with it.
     
  5. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

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    Yeah, although your reply was much of a "I don't know how" you worded it in a way that somehow made teh whoel thing make sense to me.

    So yeah, what I may do it set up a MIDI recorder, record the triggering of some board events(mainly trying to make Scenes/cues light up) then have Max/MSP repeat the signal back.


    Now to just figure out how to run a composite to our projector which is currently suspended 20 feet above our house seats, I have no clue how they got that thing hung there.
     
  6. jared555

    jared555 Member

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    What kinds of connectors do you have available to run to the projector? (There might be other options besides running a cable).... If you only have s-video they make cheap adapters for composite <-> svideo.... VGA if you have a computer with a video in connector (tv tuner that isn't delayed, VIVO (video in video out) on a video card, etc. you could use that.
     
  7. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    It occurs to me that if you are running the audio from the computer and you are going to run video out of the computer, why not just use your MP3 software's built in visualizer to get some trippy graphics up on the screen. Then you don't need to worry about finding software and hardware to link the audio with the lights.
     
  8. malex

    malex Member

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    A cheap DJ lighting board with an Audio In port is what you want to go with. Steps/cues in sequences can be triggered by the dB level being fed into the console. Most of them even have a trim knob that adjusts the sensitivity. I've done this in cruise ship dance clubs with Leprecon boards and it works beautifully. One good option for this is Behringer's Eurolight console at about $100. Not very feature filled, but a $100 DMX controller is a heck of a deal. Look up the manual and see what all you can trigger through the Audio In. Should do pretty much what you're looking for. Post pictures whenever you pull it off. Great idea that would never have occurred to me...
     
  9. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

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    It'll most likely be running Guitar Hero/Rockband/Music lyrics, so visualizer isn't too much of an option.

    Currently, the only cable they have run is VGA(x2+2, they ran one Backstage, and another to the booth where it gets split between a laptop AUX and booth desktop)
    Sadly, this school/theater is 80+ years old, and they have plans in the near future to demolish it and build a new one, but till then, theater isn't getting any upgrades. Our "Video" department is an old Electronics room with 4 Casablancas and a couple G4's, I MAY POSSIBLY be able to find a VIVO card SOMEWHERE but yeah, it's a tossup, I shall see though.

    My budget for this project is 0 dollars and 0 cents, as totally great and awesome it would be to rent a board that does what I want, it's unlikely, our Strand MX already HAS audio in, but a)It's a DIN port and we have no converters available from our XLR, and b)It triggers through a sequence of steps, not by intensity/volume.


    So yeah, I'll look into borrowing a VIVO for a day and see how well it works, but I'll have top go get permission from 5 different people to get keys, remotes, and other various stuff for the booth after school >.<
     

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