Theater Automation

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Leo Kerr, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    The third section of this forum area just caught my eye.

    Does anyone here have any "real" automation in their home theaters? By "real" I mean something more advanced than a programmable remote that plays macros, but something more along the lines of AMX or Crestron controls.

    From my own part, I think I would find them really annoying. I can understand their use in a conference room type setting where many users share the same space. But in my own case, I much prefer my own, direct control.

    And yes, I've worked extensively with numerous AMX installations, and had them built for me (not personally, but as a part of the working group,) with touch screens, RF remotes, and a few other points of access for monitoring and control, and tying dozens of players, computers, monitoring, projectors, sound and light shows, et cetera together. I just don't see it as something suitable for the home market..

    Leo
     
  2. Brian Osborne

    Brian Osborne Stunt Coordinator

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    Agreed. Although I would like to get as close to automation as I can. I picture the curtains opening when the projector turns on and the previews start playing. The lights dim during previews, then just before the movie starts the sound turns up and the lights go off.

    Now if I can just figure out how to make a 10 minute macro on my Harmony, I'll be all set....
     
  3. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    The catch is, for what you want, you need something with play-listing.. put your theater trailers, your sound trailers, and whatever previews you want on your video server, put in cue-markers in the playlist file, and tie in to your controls.

    Real theaters can do it easily, 'cause, as one theater owner described it, "it's a train. Once it gets started, it doesn't stop," so you can just put the little metal tabs on the edge of the film...

    Leo
     
  4. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Full automation is a huge commitment. I can imagine scenarios in my home where I would like it but it's more of a luxury. The extent of my automation is macros in my theater. As suggested above I have macros that start the movie and turn the lights down, or for intermissions pause the movie, bring the lights up to a predefined level, and turn the volume down so it's not blaring for the return. Plus the usual for turning on or off the system. That's all I need down there.
     
  5. TommyHawk

    TommyHawk Extra

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    Not to hijack the thread, but what are cue-markers? Is this something inside, say, Windows Media Player? I'd love to get this exact type of automation for previews and such... how do these tie into my macro controls?

    So if I stream a preview or two from my computer, is this something telling the Harmony to initiate the movie-watching sequence?
     
  6. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    "Real" cue-markers are metal tabs that are attached to the edge (outside of the sprockets) of a piece of film. When the tab goes through and shorts the contacts, the theater-automation system does the next cue - open the curtain, turn the lights down, switch to the projector's sound feed, or whatever.

    The "soft" cue-markers I was imagining would go in a playlist file, interspersed through the list of files that were actually being played out. And yes, they would "call" external cues, such as changing inputs, adjusting levels, or opening curtains.

    Not that I've looked, but I don't know of any systems that actually *do* that sort of thing.

    Leo
     
  7. TommyHawk

    TommyHawk Extra

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    Ah, nuts. I was pretty excited there for a minute. Thanks for the description.

    People on Halloween forums often talk about prop controllers. They're small computer-interface "boxes" that will synchronize yard haunts. I believe it's a glorified power strip - sending power to different areas for specific durations, triggering effects, etc. I've not dealt with them myself, but it might be something to look into for HT automation. Maybe some of the software could be used inside a HTPC...
     
  8. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

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    I have full Creston control of my home: lights, HVAC, audio, security. It's great. I don't have the theater finished yet, but there will be a wired TP that will support video. My rec room theater has a 2 way wireless TP that doesn't support video, but gives me feedback for everything else. Jay is correct in saying it is a major commitment. I'll post some pics tomorrow. I did most of the design work and about 65% of the programming (and counting).
     
  9. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

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  10. Ben Ch

    Ben Ch Agent

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    Would you consider Applied Digital's Ocelot or Leopard controllers?
    they are computer programable with If - Then type language (Boolean logic?), run stand alone afterwords, can learn and receive IR and emit IR or X-10, receive X-10 and emit X-10 or IR, can respomd to contact closures, comunicate with RS-232 protocol...

    a forum for the ocelot and leopard is here:
    http://www.appdigsupport.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php
     

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