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Hello, and a MIDI question

Discussion in 'New Member Board' started by pyroman, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. pyroman

    pyroman Member

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    Anyway, hi. My name is Patrick, I'm a Theatre Major (LD focus) at the University of Denver.

    So, yeah. I'm looking at doing a student project with MIDI triggering (as in; a pianist plays a keyboard and each key [or group of keys] corresponds to a par can).

    We have a Strand 520i and a Strand 300 series. Can I do MIDI on these? If so, what kind of keyboard do I need?
     
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    First off, welcome aboard! Now for that MIDI question...lemme go to some checking, and I'll be back soon.
     
  3. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    A few things that I note about the MIDI project: The strand consoles prefer SMPTE, from what I get out of the manual. It seems like it would be easy enough to make each key correspond to a cue, but I don't know about just having it respond to a channel (aka I don't know if it would be all that easy to make "chords" of light.) That Strand manual is one of the most unnavigable manuals that I've ever read. I know that it would be easy to set this up an Obsession, and I know how I'd go about it, but I have no idea how I'd do it on a Strand console...
     
  4. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Welcome Aboard!

    Give us a year or two and let me finish my electrical engineering degree before I try and answer the question on MIDI...:mrgreen: I'm sure in the meantime others will be able to help, however, you may be more successful if you ask it in the lighting forum...
     
  5. Traitor800

    Traitor800 Active Member

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    So if im reading the right manual from the strand sight this shouldnt be to hard, the first thing you have to do is go throught and set midi in/out channles, this shouldnt be hard because you only have one device, just make sure the out on the keyboard is plugged into the in on the lightboard, and the set them so that the out channel is the same as the in channel, i didnt look but you ca set this somewhere in your prefrences, just read the manual, shouldnt be hard to find.

    Now for the fun part, if you have less par cans then sub masters, you can use the default note on/off channels that just bump a sub master but the issue is that you have to use certain keys so it doesn't work well if your looking to play a piece and have the lights go.

    So now for what I find to be the easiest method for this type of stuff, this is going to require a couple of other things though, first your going to need a laptop or computer running windows, then your going to need to get a USB-Midi adapter, there like $50, yamaha makes the one that I use and I know m-audio also makes one. your also going to need to download Boone's MIDI translator and Midi-OX is helpful to just Google the names to find the programs, they were both free last time I checked. Basically hook everything up the same in to out out to in, and assign channel numbers, be sure to use 2 different ones on your computer, or else bad things happen.

    I don't have time to give detailed instructions right now, but basically the midi translator works as it takes and midi input and converts it to either a keyboard stroke or to a different MIDI command,( and this is where some basic programing knowledge and some knowledge of Hex is useful) if your not to good with those thing you can just hook the light boards out to the computers in and then use MIDI-OX because Midi-OX has am input and Output viewer so you can see whats commands are coming and going, so just push keys and right down what happens and then use that in the translator.

    I probably wont have time post detailed instructions so if you have any questions just post them and ill try to answer them as they come.
     
  6. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    You realize that SMPTE is just timecode, it contains no command structure, just links devices to a unified clock. You can program SMPTE events on the console, i.e. at 00:02:45:28 Cue 1 goes.

    On the other hand MIDI actually can be used to control the console. I don't have a manual in front of me, but if you can tell the keys on your keyboard to send specific MIDI commands, and you look at the commands that the Strand accepts you should be able to make something work. There is more too it than "Note ON" "Note OFF" commands though. Since MIDI has been used for show control there have been new variations on command structure. There are lighting command sets, sound command sets, automation command sets, etc. They are all based on the same principles, but not all the same exact language. Some devices require SYSEX commands as well.

    I did a bunch of work with MIDI and an Obsession II, and we have been talking about setting up a show control system between our Strand and sound, but we haven't done that yet. I know though, that the Obsession II only listens for a few specific MIDI commands, like: Go Cue X, Load Cue X, Fire macro X, Stop, Back, and a few more. As I haven't tried MIDI on a Strand yet, I am not sure what thy can do, but for sure those basic things.

    There are better things that you could do with MIDI though that are much more practical than having a keyboard turn lights on and off, that is why we have light boards. With things like MIDI relays you can trigger all sort of events. I have seen MIDI used to trigger falling trees in storm sequences, or trigger sound cues in SFX or on an AudioBox. Or use SFX or and AudioBox to trigger light cues through a sound effect or piece of music (that is a combination of MIDI and SMPTE).

    What you propose should be doable, you just need to know what commands your keyboard can send and what commands the Strand wants to hear.
     
  7. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Well, there's two different types of MIDI for theatrical applications. MTC, or MIDI time code, which is just what it says. Then there's MSC, or MIDI show control. This is what you are talking about.

    We've done a complete sync of a light show on SFX here. We had SMPTE running to the Obsession to control conventionals, and an internal MIDI loopback on the computer so that Hog2PC could receive MIDI data and fire the moving light cues. It was pretty friggin awesome. We programmed all of the conventional cues in the Obsession, the ML cues in Hog2PC, and used Cool Edit Pro to locate exact frames in the music where we wanted a cue to happen so we could tell SFX exactly when to fire the cue. Then, 50 hours of programming and debugging later, a 3 minute and some second show came together for the theater and dance open house less than a month in to the academic year. It was insane. And fun.
     
  8. Traitor800

    Traitor800 Active Member

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    Yeah I just recently dove into the MIDI world, I did a 1.5 min special effects sequence for my schools recent play, I used Adobe Audition to export the SMPTE time code of an audio track with a bunch of explosions to our Expressoion Board and then used a bunch of submaster bumps to flash some lights on stage in time to the explosions. It was really cool and I made it easier cause i used the learn function so all i had to do was listen to one track press the button when i heard the explosinons then solo another track and program the lights to that one and then the board sorted it all out into the right sequence.

    I'm getting more into it at the end of the semester when im going to be doing the entire senior dance concert with midi interface between the audio and the lights. Its going to be intresting since im only going to have like 3 rehearsals to sync up all the music and lights.
     
  9. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Our ATD intern here decided to use SFX to program for some of his pieces in our fall dance show, which was needed for the pacing of some of the cues, but it takes friggin FOREVER to try to get the sync right. He was up may late nights teching those pieces. But they were amazingly awesome...

    But anyway, on the original MIDI question, what exactly were you planning on doing with this? Sort of an uber-glorified light organ? Because that would be really cool!
     

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