Halloween Ideas

* mutli-channel player — sned sounds over individual channels of a 5.1 setup. pretty useful for running multiple sounds off a single pc. Also a random tip on this page — “Want a “dead ringer” for Halloween? Run a string from a grave up to a bell mounted on the tombstone!” — I might try this.
* Another random good tip I read — used rotisserie motors make great prop animators
* Electronic Goldmine for random electronic and control supplies
* What to do with an old CRT?? Make it into the world’s heaviest strobe light of course.
* Article on 4-bar linkage design
* Fittings Depot — for pneuma fittings. Awesome.
* Great article on how to use a Shiatsu massager as the basis of a prop.
* EFX-tek prop controllers.

Halloween Gear

Latest links culled mostly from the MoM Forum

* Simple Dimmer. Lots of other kits and components here too.
* Simple prop controllers and some nice application notes like this skull idea (zipped pdf)
* I’m sure I’ve blogged this before, the hauntmaster controller — “The Flex ECT is an externally triggered, dual timer that is connected between a sensor (switch) and the electrically operated event device as shown in the diagram to the right”
* Plans to build your own event control timer.
* A range of LED fixtures and drivers. Seems like all halloween lighting should move to LED over time?
* Some hints in here on silencing pneumatic solenoids — the exhaust noise doesn’t really bother me but maybe I will want to do this some day.
* Some very basic intro guides to haunt lighting
* Lighting control units. These look like overkill to me, better for Christmas applications.

Halloween Status

Minor meltdown over the last 6 days. My DMX512 system became inhabited by gremlins. Really teh gear is not supposed to be used outdoors so the fact that it survived 5-6 years is amazing. But I was using it to control every effect and so the s$%t hit the fan. Over the past 6 days I have ripped DMX control out of most of the system and gone to simpler, cheaper x10 and Zwave. Much more durable signalling (wireless and powerline) but much higher latency. I have kept DMX only for my lightning effects, as latency matters and I don’t have the time to build a bunch of color organs (tho next year).

Anyway nearly everything is working again. I have a major air leak in my pneumatics which I will fix tomorrow.

Oh and a rant — why so many fricking plug types for 220V service? The circular locking type, the regular 3 prong with a 90-degree twist on one of the prongs, and the bigger 3 prong? And this is all for 20A service. Getting things to plug together is a major PITA. Some electrician out there probably knows the answer and can probably tell me why converting from circular locking plugs to the 3 prong type is a major no-no.

Using christmas lighting gear for Halloween

Lots of discussion in the MoM group about using Christmas lighting and control gear for Halloween. Lots of good pointers — Light-o-rama control software, Dasher at the Christmas Cave, Animated Lighting for all kinds of controllers and props, a simple two-outlet fade controller. Now controlling Christmas lights is actually a bit different than Halloween — Christmas lighting is not intended to surprise, so much of the software and gear doesn’t pay attention to latency, and doesn’t have all the input/control options. But some useful stuff here anyway.

MIDI over Ethernet

For future Halloween consideration — looks like you’ll be able to run MIDI over IP — IEEE P1639 – Distributed MIDI — I’d assume 802.11 would work too. Would be a nice control protocol option, there is lots of MIDI-compatible prop control gear and lighting. And I’d love to be able to use a nice MIDI keyboard as my central control station for Halloween props.