Show Machine https://www.showmachine.net Better Shows Tue, 11 Sep 2018 22:31:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5 https://i1.wp.com/www.showmachine.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Show-Maching-100x100.png?fit=29%2C32&ssl=1 Show Machine https://www.showmachine.net 32 32 133394501 Riedel Panel GPIO https://www.showmachine.net/riedel-panel-gpio/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=riedel-panel-gpio Tue, 11 Sep 2018 21:45:42 +0000 http://www.showmachine.net/?p=523 The Problem It all started several years ago. I was managing the communications on a UK music festival put on by a well known fruit company. This was a great time with lots of very creative people, both artistically and technically. To make it even more interesting, we were allowed to experiment, with in reason....

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The Problem

It all started several years ago. I was managing the communications on a UK music festival put on by a well known fruit company. This was a great time with lots of very creative people, both artistically and technically. To make it even more interesting, we were allowed to experiment, with in reason.

The lighting crew for this run had a rather interesting dynamic. There were two programmers, one lighting designer (LD) for the house, one lighting designer for TV, a dimmer op, follow spots, and graphics, all in no particular order. This was the normal crew or as I liked to call them, the home team. This didn’t account for any traveling LD’s that would come along with the main act each night.

For most of the thirty-something show nights of this festival, only the main acts would be traveling with an LD. The design of the lighting rig would have been advanced to the traveling LD by both our house and TV LD’s. For the most part, very few opening acts traveled with an LD. They would simply leave the lighting decisions up to our “home team”. Not to say that any of the main acts lighting looked bad, but the house lighting team had really learned their way around the rig by the end of the run.

Early on we found that the lighting department leads really needed two things; communication with each other and more hands.  We already had a Riedel Artist system in place, so there was plenty of communications horse power to go around. The second part was to make the comm system easier to use, preferably hands free.

Finding a Solution

After a quick visit to a local music store we had purchased a few keyboard sustain pedals. A little manual reading and soldering later we had a prototype. After some discussion with the LD’s, programmers, and graphics operator we figured out what buttons each used most that we could be transferred to a pedal.

GPIO and you

So what is this GPIO thing and what can it do for me? General Purpose Input Output is just like the name suggests. In it’s simplest form, the input is a sensor to trigger some function when is sees a small amount of voltage. The output is looking to send out a small amount of voltage to trigger some external device when commanded to do so. We can get creative and use these sensors to our advantage.

Programming

Once we have our interface, be it a button, or pedal, or some other device, now what? First thing is to open your version of Director and navigate to the panel you want to add an external control to.

Undefined GPIO

Next, right click on the “GPIO Ins” where it says “not defined”. A button will appear asking to “define GPIO”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defined GPIO

In this menu you’ll choose whether the GPIO should expect to see a normally open or normally closed circuit. This has to do with the switch you’re using and means when the button is in it’s normal state, not being triggered, is the circuit open or closed. Most of the time I use normally open switches, but it’s nice to have the option.

 

 

 

 

 

Programming like a normal key

Once you hit OK, you can program it like a normal key. In the case of my lighting department, they like to get their reply key, a lighting department all call, and a key to call the spots. With an Artist system, any key can be almost anything, so everyone can get what they want.

 

This setup proved to be very successful. So much in fact that the lighting gang would get bummed out when I told them they could only have three pedals each. Each year that we repeated the show I learned I needed to have more pedals with me and never had enough for everyone’s needs. It just went to show how valuable hands free communication was for some departments.

Comm Pedals

 

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Tech Support Philosophy vol. 1 https://www.showmachine.net/av-tech-support-philosophy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=av-tech-support-philosophy Sun, 08 Apr 2018 17:26:19 +0000 http://www.showmachine.net/?p=401   Over years of helping people with their A/V problems I’ve come up with a few tech support philosophies. Sometimes it’s an equipment issue and other times it’s the operator. Regardless of where the issue lies, it’s my job to find it and come up with a solution. At times it can be stressful, but...

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Tech Support Hell

Over years of helping people with their A/V problems I’ve come up with a few tech support philosophies. Sometimes it’s an equipment issue and other times it’s the operator. Regardless of where the issue lies, it’s my job to find it and come up with a solution. At times it can be stressful, but for the most part it’s a lot of fun. I get to help someone solve a puzzle and hopefully learn something along the way. In my time of doing this work I’ve come up with (and picked up) a few philosophies when it comes to support.

 

“Take the temperature” – When I start a support phone call I ask how they’re doing, and pay close attention to the response. This question has become very disposable in our language, to the point that the reaction is automatic. I find if the person actually thinks about it or responds negatively I know I’m in for a treat. This also tells me the person I’m talking to isn’t in auto-pilot yet and it listening which makes trouble-shooting a lot easier.

 

“Make a friend” – Nobody wants to talk to me. But when they do it’s because there’s a problem. They’ve tried everything they know and they’re all out of ideas. Chances are pretty good that they’re frustrated, with the next step being to give up completely. I’ve found if I can develop a repore by talking to the person as more of a friend than just another person that may or not be able to help we can get a lot further. Maybe along the way I’ll make some jokes about the situation to lighten things, it’s all about keeping everyone relaxed. At the risk of sounding new age, a relaxed mind tends to make for more efficient problem solving.

 

“Everyday is someone’s biggest day” – This is one of those rare truths that seems not recognized often enough. The problem presented may seem small to you, but to the person asking it their world is on fire and their reputation is on the line. This could also be titled “Respect”, but I think this sounds more elegant.

 

“I don’t know”These are the scariest words I know, but they’re not bad words. I’ve found that I don’t have to know everything and I can admit it. The catch is I have to be willing to go out and find the answer. People are surprisingly grateful when the answer to their question is “I don’t know, but I’ll find out”. The catch is actually finding the answer and following up; the idea that I’m trying to make my client’s problem my problem and we’re going to work on it together.

 

“Following Up”Sometimes, if a problem was particularly rough, I’ll call or text to check back in. I don’t need to, but I want to know that everything’s alright. When was the last time your ISP called just to ask how things are going? Never!

 

This is a very short list of how I go about supporting clients in general terms. It definitely has its highs and lows, and there’s nothing better than getting through a really challenging problem.

 

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Networking for Audio https://www.showmachine.net/networking-for-audio/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=networking-for-audio Fri, 06 Apr 2018 05:27:26 +0000 http://www.showmachine.net/?p=398 Networking is making it’s way into every part of our industry. Some are ready to take the plunge and others are being drug along against their will. These products coming to our industry are truly amazing in what they’re capable of and how they can make our lives easier. But, they’re not without learning cliffs....

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Networking is making it’s way into every part of our industry. Some are ready to take the plunge and others are being drug along against their will. These products coming to our industry are truly amazing in what they’re capable of and how they can make our lives easier. But, they’re not without learning cliffs. My aim is to give you some of my thoughts as a technician that’s learned networking from audio equipment, not as an IT pro. Maybe tell some stories of success and failure along the way…

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