The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Remote Control

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by icewolf08, Apr 11, 2008.

  1. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,077
    Likes Received:
    681
    Occupation:
    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
    Location:
    Lititz, PA
    Here is an interesting project. I have been asked to help spec some gear for a remote TV studio. The company doing the install has hundreds of these remote studios across the country, everything can be controlled from master control in either of their two home studios. It is actually really cool, they can turn on and focus the cameras, mix audio, and switch the studio lighting on and off.

    However, this new studio, the client want to do something a little more modern and have a cyc backdrop they can light. So, they want to use some LED strips to allow for some color creativity on the cyc. That is the easy part. The hard part is: how do we control it remotely. I Know we have had a few discussions on PC based lighting control, which I think is the way to go and use a VNC program to get in from master control. We are also interested to know if there are any hardware controllers that allow remote access that don't cost $10K or more.

    So, the goal is to set up a simple system that will allow either a user at the studio or in master control mix a pretty color (or colors) and then be happy. So if you have suggestions on easy to use software, or hardware that fits the bill, let me know.
     
  2. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    Whenever I think remote control one company name comes to mind - Crestron. The city hall I used to work in had a crestron system that controlled everything in the council chambers - projector screen, lighting, projector, audio levels etc. and could be interfaced to a LAN for remote control. I don't know of any Crestron products off the top of my head that integrate with DMX but I'm certain they have some. As for cost, I'm not sure, but I'd guess less than 10 grand. Somewhere to start, FWIW ?
     
  3. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,293
    Likes Received:
    82
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    you can run HOGIIIPC. Get on the network through a outside IP address, just like you would log on to upload a webserver. Then the person at the main location and the person at the remote location can both control the lights at the same time. You can buy routers that support VNC if you want to go that way, but all routers allow you to route specific ports and IP adresses. You would be best going with a DP2000 (will give you 4 universes) and then you can just use any pc to run as a hog server and allow you to control the lights. You can also buy a fader and programming wing so they can physically touch everything.
     
  4. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,077
    Likes Received:
    681
    Occupation:
    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
    Location:
    Lititz, PA
    Crestron is the wrong kind of remote control. While they are useful for so many things, this is not the right application. HOG is an interesting idea. The other idea I have came from chatting with a buddy of mine over at ETC Architectural, and that is a Pharos system. They are designed to be able to be accessed remotely, and they do exactly what we need it to. So that is another possibility.

    Any more options are more than welcome. We are trying to put together a couple proposals, to see where the client wants to go.
     
  5. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,850
    Likes Received:
    46
    What about analog dimmers? You only need a few control lines. Why, how far away is the central office?

    (Right, um, LED...)
     
  6. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,435
    Likes Received:
    1,834
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    x-connect and a basic console, or any console that allows a remote over ethernet. Put in a VPN and you are set.
     
  7. dj_illusions

    dj_illusions Active Member

    Messages:
    339
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    I agree with footer, any console that can run a network and a vpn and you are set. we run our strand over a wireless network and is accesable from remote locations. we also have a controlsoft arch system which is remotely controllable.
     
  8. jmabray

    jmabray Active Member

    Messages:
    546
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Pharos might be the way to go here. It's not a console, it's an LPC - Lighting Playback Controller. It is designed to be controlled remotely, either through some sort of button station, or a Crestron like system, or it's own software. As long as they aren't needing it to play back like a console you would be set.

    The other option is if they are wanting to have it playback like a console is just that - a console. Take for instance an ION. Throw an ion in the master control room. Then throw a node/gateway in the remote studio. As long as the VPN is set up correctly, the node/gateway should be able to output the DMX from the console. It might not be as instantaneous as it normally would be if it were on a self contained network, but it doesn't sound like that would be an issue here...
     
  9. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

    Messages:
    606
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Bethesda MD
    I think someone on here earlier was talking about their Strand board, and how they could go into their office on their computer and change levels in the theater? I remember him being chastised by others for not being able to see what was going on in the theater (fire...), but I don't remember the topic or who it was.
     
  10. dj_illusions

    dj_illusions Active Member

    Messages:
    339
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    as i write this I am using a parm pilot to change the lighting state in the theatre from the office :) i dont need to see it, i know what is going to happen haha
     
  11. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,077
    Likes Received:
    681
    Occupation:
    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
    Location:
    Lititz, PA
    Yeah, we are talking about a studio in San Francisco and master control in Boston. Also, it is a TV studio, so they would be able to see what they are doing!
    -

    The VPN idea is interesting, though I think the Pharos controller would be more cost effective and useful. It can be configured for remote access via web interface and they could create button presets that could be activated locally. It can even run cues if that was ever needed.

    However, I feel like I need to be able to offer up a solution that is even less expensive than Pharos, though I am not sure what that is. I suppose in the end, the client is not opposed to having just a small console with enough faders to drive the LED fixtures. They could live without the remote control if that is what the budget dictated, and then it would be an easy recommendation from the plethora of small consoles. So we shall see how it goes.
     
  12. jmabray

    jmabray Active Member

    Messages:
    546
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    If that's the case, you might just stick a couple of nodes on either end of the line. As long as the network is configured properly you should be good to go. All it would be is the right settings on the nodes and the routers between the two...

    If you had an input node in Boston and an output node in San Fran, then you could hook up any console you want and have it control the devices....

    Pharos could do the same thing, it's just that the programming is a little different than you might be used to with your standard console. It's a timeline based programming style, rather than cues.
     
  13. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,850
    Likes Received:
    46
    Let me make sure I'm following this:

    Console>DMX>Node>Ethernet/Tele-communications for 3,000 Miles>Node>DMX>Lighting?
     
  14. jmabray

    jmabray Active Member

    Messages:
    546
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Yep. That's it exactly.

    As long as your ip and other network settings are correct, this should work. Just like any other computer to another computer on a vpn.
     
  15. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,850
    Likes Received:
    46
    What happens if there is a power loss in San Francisco, and router settings get messed up, or if the ISP switches up some stuff? (You can tell I know a lot about networking, right? :rolleyes:)
     
  16. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    Most routers will come up out of a power outage with the same settings they went down in. You could also put the end routers on a UPS if you weren't planning on it already.

    Are the rest of the remote operated systems dependent on the LAN/WAN ?
     
  17. tgates

    tgates Member

    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sounds like an interesting project.

    How much control are you talking about here? Moving lights? Or just an LED wash on the cyc and some conventional? Maxxyz and LightJocky have a web server option, so you create a web page interface to control a range of cues and looks. Lightjocky's is a bit more advanced, and offers a number of control and programing type commands to be built into the web page, too.

    Horizon's Marquee offers a web server too, also offering playback and programing commands that you could set up into a web page. It was quite powerful when I last used it in the Horizon days, and it looks like it's even more powerful now. It even looks like it supports little sub masters embedded in web page. It also has a telnet interface for doing more direct commands. It even looks like you can do direct "channel x at y" sorts of commands over both telnet and http, (HC.UIMacro('1/[email protected]{enter}) in the manual)

    I'll have to download it and play with it again, looks like it might be worth a good look.
     
  18. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,435
    Likes Received:
    1,834
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    The only thing I would be concerned with is the refresh rate. I am not totally sure how much data is transmitted over a typical lighting network, but I do know there is some significant overhead. I don't know if a standard DSL or Cable line would do it without giving you issues. Even with the VPN, I think it might cause the network to go down. I will have to throw ethereal on a network and see whats going on, guess I have to dig out a hub again...
     
  19. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    From the wikipedia article on DMX512:
    Given all of that technical information about the serial nature of DMX, the actual speed of 250 kbps and the protocol's lack of error detection I would think it would be just about suited to work on a DSL connection, at least on the receiving end. The transmitting end (console) would be better suited by a T1 with a symmetric send/receive bandwidth capability but these days DSL/cable download bandwidth capabilities are at least an order of magnitude greater than DMX's native speed (or so the ISPs say) and in theory should be able to handle DMX512. Important phrase though, IN THOERY, as we have no real way of knowing how the nodes are converting DMX into TCP/IP. I may have to research how other RS-485 serial protocols are encapsulated to TCP/IP...
     
  20. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,435
    Likes Received:
    1,834
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    Ethernet alone has a huge amount of overhead, hince the reason you don't get your entire throughput. Yes. DMX is a small protocol, but when wrapped up inside packets on a TCP/IP network it because a totally different thing. ACN/ethernet protocol for lighting are designed to work as fast as DMX, meaning they are transmitting constantly. Also, if a node loses a connection for just a second it take a bit for the ports to re-open and control to come back (though they usually save the last known look). I think the best solution is a local controller and you would get into the controller over a VPN line, then you control the controler remotely, I would not try to run lighting data through the cloud, because they cloud is just designed to get to point a to point b at a reasonable speed, not right away.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice