Thursday, December 8, 2016

Raspberry Pi Security Camera Viewer

Most high-definition televisions have a "Picture-in-Picture" feature that is useless; if you are watching a HD input the PIP window can only display a low-resolution input such as RF or Composite SDTV.  Furthermore the sole Composite video input is often combined with the Component video input which may already be used by your older video game console. 

What's left?  I'll show you how to use your HDTV's coaxial cable TV RF input to view up to four network security cameras in the PIP window so you can keep an eye on your perimeter while watching something else.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Friday, December 2, 2016

Manage animatronic props from a wireless tablet, Part 2

Step 2:  Install a suitable web server and server-side application framework


(continued from Part 1)

Rather than Apache I went with NGINX for the web server.  Since I want to develop the web application in Python 3, I selected Django.  In order to work with Django, NGINX needs uWSGI.  I also want to use PostgreSQL as the database.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Manage animatronic props from a wireless tablet, Part 1

Moving up to a Raspberry Pi from the Arduino provides several benefits.  The Pi is basically a computer which allows us to do a whole lot more.  We have more choices in programming languages, the ability to play high quality video and audio files, and with the Pi 3's integrated wireless network interface we can even turn the Pi into an access point and configure the prop via an iPad (or other wireless tablet) using a web interface.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Trashcan Monster, Part 2

Moving to 1/2" tubing and fittings definitely sped up the prop.  I think as a general rule of thumb you should go up a size or two on the fittings and tubing.  Even though the cylinder, valve and accumulator all have 1/4" NPT connections, look at the difference between these two fittings:

Monday, October 17, 2016

Halloween Yard Haunt Sound System

I have always had sound for my yard haunts.  Even going back to my childhood I had a basic system - a Halloween record playing through an outdoor speaker.  Over the years it has evolved. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Trashcan Monster, Part 1

For Halloween 2016 I'm going to try to build a "trashcan monster" shock prop, using a metal trash can from Home Depot.

After getting tired of hooking up a laptop to my Jack in the Box prop to tweak settings, I decided to see what I could do with a small backlit 16x2 display and a pushbutton menu design.  Anything that needs to be adjustable could be done through this interface, simplifying things.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Use C-weighting to monitor levels in live sound

I continue to encounter live sound "professionals" who have not fully educated themselves on the science of sound and the frequency response of the human ear.  The topic evokes responses of borderline religious or political fervor, where discussion invariably devolves into personal attacks when defenders cannot produce technically accurate rebuttals. It's understandable that someone who has been doing sound for a long time would become defensive when learning they may have been doing something wrong the entire time.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Big Blue Clear-Com Call Light

Rather than flashing every time a station presses their CALL button, this light only comes on when a CALL button has been pressed four times quickly. It starts out solid, then after a while starts blinking.

Perfect for getting a specific person's attention and ONLY when you need that specific person. I use this for the conductor in the orchestra pit. They just can't see the little call light on their intercom station.

This project uses a couple of modules and minimal soldering.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Understanding Art-Net

While Artistic License publishes a detailed specification on the Art-Net protocol, I found very little additional documentation on the internet - including YouTube, to help configure an Art-Net fixture and light board to talk to one another.  So here is some info I'd like to share.

The light board we are using in this example is an ETC ION.  The fixture is an Elation SIXBAR 500.