Tue, Aug. 9th, 2011, 05:12 pm
Well. I've finally got the ancient desk, ancient laptop and my iPad talking. I've uploaded a video showing TouchOSC
controlling my digital desk, but at last check YouTube were still "Processing" the video. I'll try uploading again tomorrow, if we're still waiting a few minutes for their "Processing". When they're done, the video should be available here
In the mean time, here's some dancers to keep you amused:
Firstly here are the tips:
1. Two-way radios are really, really worth the money. Even in situations where wired talk-back systems make sense, the increased flexibility of radios is very helpful
2. It pays to use alignment images with your projector
3. "Test" written on plain white PowerPoint slide is NOT
an alignment guide
Now the back stories.
1. I originally put the SM on a two-way simply because I ran out of time (and cable) to run a wired system. This venue has no multi-core to the Bio Box and no room under the floor to run extra cables, so I have now run 2 balanced lines to feed the FOH speakers (Line level feed to active boxes) along the roof trussing (Away from the lighting looms). I wanted to run a third line for comms, but I ran out of cable. Talkback went in the too-hard basket until the afternoon before opening, at which point the only practical solution was two-ways. The SM took a few shows to get used to the "one-at-a-time" nature of two-way radio, but thankfully there are not too many calls required. The usefulness of these radios popped up again today because we were able to quickly coordinate shutting down the venue HVAC system so it didn't cause problems with the curtains. The controls for the heating are in a locked machine room accessed from outside the building. Great building design feature. I love it. (In fairness, it is a long way down my list of things that need to be fixed. It ranks as a minor annoyance... This venue has some major gotchas in it.) Although we only need to make a few calls per show, having everyone there and reachable is a fantastic time-saver. We no longer have to do several laps of the venue to find out who has the keys. We can put a call out and it's done.
2. Now that school's back, we have to reset the venue to the school's preferences at the end of each weekend. That means we need to realign the projector (The school uses a screen hung in the centre of the venue... right in front of our main set pieces... we use the prompt side wall). My favourite piece of software for this is Nokia Monitor Test
, but it's Windows only (Yuck!). It's been a while since I have had to precision align a screen, so I haven't needed to pull out NMT... but I was not happy last week when I realised that I now have no way to run it. I tried to do the alignment using a plain white slide and some lines to show horizontal and vertical. I think I did a good enough job for most people to not notice... But as always, I'm only happy if it's at least perfect. I'll take better than perfect, but that's my minimum. A quick google for "Test Patern" turned up dozens of patterns and some of them were even close to useable. At a minimum I think you need a a regular grid pattern that goes right to the edge of the screen, some colour bars and some mixed colours. All up, 5 minutes this week compared with 20 minutes last week
Here's the plan. I have a MacBook for all my Audio and Video cues in shows. There's a great program, QLab
which can talk to my mixer, an original Yamaha 01v
, using MidiPipe
. Great setup. It really impresses people when I switch to the Preshow memory on my sound desk and iTunes opens up automatically (I've even implemented fade-up and fade-down times for iTunes using AppleScript). Once I have a show programmed, the first thing I do is transfer the whole setup to my G4 AluBook. That way I can switch over mid-show if my MacBook dies. The Midi mappings, cue numbers, audio files, etc. are all identical, so I only need to move cables and I'm up and running again. Great plan, eh?
What happens when I'm not the sound guy, but sound guy is using the G4 for sound? The obvious answer is to use the MacBook as the backup... except with Blackadder, the MacBook is doing video. I now have 2 primary machines and no backup. After another wasted day fighting with the G3 Lombard, I've reached the conclusion that it ain't gunna work. (Int'l Eng translation: It's not going to work). I really need to get OS X 10.4 installed, but XPostFacto is complaining that the Lombard (PowerBook 1,1) is not supported by XPostFacto and the 10.4 installed won't run unpatched because the Lombard does not have a firewire port.
So what do I have to blog about that is of the faintest interest to anyone out in the big wide world. For the past four years, basically nothing. But you can probably figure that out from my posting history. There are plenty of people already blogging and tweeting the latest IT news and industry trends. While I could just retweet the same old news everyone else is, I can't see much value add in that. A few months ago I had an epiphany. I've been doing so much with so little at AWTCo
and the G for so long... Surely some of the crazy things I've been jury rigging could help out someone out there.
Much of my day today has been spent repairing my old G3 Powerbook. For those that are interested, here are the steps on iFixIt.com
. I should note that a large part of my problem was not getting to the audio/power board, but actually repairing it. I have previously attempted this repair (I've had this computer since High School) and looking at my soldering skills back then... I'm amazed I got it to work. After spending some quality time with desoldering wick, I've managed to get the pads for the power connector to look relatively respectable, but I've ordered a replacement board regardless as I suspect some of the components on that board were probably heat damaged when I last repaired the laptop. There was a SMD capacitor half attached (and half melted) next to the connector. Still to get nearly ten years of service out of a repair when I barely knew which end of the soldering iron to hold... I must have been doing something right.
Looking at my history in LiveJournal... it looks like I blog a lot and then just give up. Oops. If anyone's interested, the big news at the moment is I've become the Albury O-Week Leader Co-ordinator for next year. Could be interesting. As such I have to work out all sorts of stuff. Those who know me know how fond of work I'm not. And I'm on the MCC (Murray Campus Council) which is the Albury Student's Representative Committee.
I received an interesting email today. It's the first chain letter I've even been remotely tempted to forward... But I'm still not into forwarding chain letters (much too much like distributing spam). Anyway, the email follows.( Read only if you have time for God Collapse )
Mon, May. 14th, 2007, 11:35 am
Julia is happy
Julia has a new battery. My poor little PDA has been trying to cope with a dodgy battery for some time now... I'm sure you know the fault I'm talking about. A tiny little design flaw known as natural ageing. I completely failed to take pictures of my PDA while I had it demolished, but I have also received a new battery for my Mum's PDA, so I should be able to take pictures of that.
Sun, Jan. 14th, 2007, 01:09 am
JMS on the Jury
Volume 10 is in pre-production and the plan is for a February release. When in February you want to know? So do we!
You see, JMS has been given the ultimate time line wrecker -- jury duty. (JMS on a jury. What we would give to be in that deliberation room).
So it would appear that the next Babylon 5 scripts book has been pushed back again. The last time it was pushed back was due to Christmas (a whole lot of people complained about a lack of funds and JMS decided to help them out by not releasing a script book in December.
It has been a while since my last update but I really can't think of what to put up. Heaps has been going on. Christmas time is like that, it seems. One of the biggest changes however is there's a new girl in my life. She's still yet to be named, but I have baby photos
. Any suggestions for names would be appreciated.