DESIGN: MULTIMEDIA CONTROLLER

Simplifying the Complex

 

IdeasAnvil was contacted by Green-i limited who were undertaking an overhaul of a major leisure destination in the Midlands. The management of the site had requested a system that gave them more direct control of the complex sound, light and video system. The site managers required more direct control of the system so that they were better able to create shows and events for the venue. This control needed to be via PCs located in their offices - the actual control equipment was located in a secure back room connected to the managers PC with cat5e cabling.

 

The existing control hardware was a complex combination including a Wholehog show controller, a 16x16 Kramer audio/video switching matrix, a Soundweb audio processor and a ReelTime 8-channel video server. These in turn controlled 6 Sanyo video projectors, over 130 speakers, over 100 DMX controllable light units, 15 audio amplifiers and a host of other units.

 

Control of all of these items needed to be via a simple to use Microsoft Windows style interface whilst allowing for complex scheduled control of all the systems.

IdeasAnvil developed a custom server application that runs on PC hardware in the server room of the venue. The server controls the back room hardware over a number of MIDI and RS232 links. A range of ascii commands are used to trigger functions within the server application - these commands can be parsed in from a simple text file - with time stamps next to the commands to produce a schedule of events. The commands can also be sent via a TCP/IP telnet session. A custom client application was developed that is installed on each manager’s PC. This client application can also be run on PCs away from the site via a secure VPN to allow for remote management.

 

Maintenance requirements meant that the use of lamps and bulbs needed to be tracked. The server application logs when each piece of equipment is turned on or off and then via FTP sends the logs to a remote site for review.

 

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