Using Projector Midi Remote with Isadora

The Projector Midi Remote (http://halfdanj.dk/projectorremote/) may be one of the single simplest and most useful programs ever made (for people who play with projectors for a living) but for a very long time I was confounded at how to connect it with Isadora or Qlab. Turns out the answer is incredibly simple. 

  1. Download Projector Midi Remote and make sure it's connected with your projectors.
  2. Go to Applications > Utilities and open Audio Midi Setup
  3. In Window click on Show Midi Studio (or just hit ⌘2)
  4. Open the IAC Driver by double-clicking on it and make sure that Device is online is turned on.
  5. Open Isadora and create a Send Control actor
  6. In Projector midi remote click the Learn button next to your desired projector and function (I'd recommend only connection the shutters for safety reasons).
  7. Now Trigger your Send Control actor in Izzy and the the numbers next to the projector midi remote should now match the Channel and Controller values in Izzy.
  8. Sending 0 and 1 values will switch your shutters on and off. (There may be some delay in Projector Midi Remote's indicators switching to the correct status but dont worry, the actual control happens with practically no delay)

This is similar to how you can connect Projector Midi Remote with Qlab. For that I'd recommend following the link: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/qlab/l6ugKy5nrCk

Hopefully this works for you and helps your tech run even smoother!

Post-Thoughts: The Role of the Designer

The role of a projection designer has always, and still is, an evolving concept in my mind. I guess it's to the extent that the word "design" is used when describing what's required for the job. In college I was really the only person with a real desire to pursue projections design. Therefore in the shows I worked on I was the designer, content creator, programmer, and often hung my own projectors as well. To me this was all part of the responsibilities of the designer; to "design" the content yourself, (aka build it yourself), to "design" the way the show ran and looked through programming, and foremost, to "design" what the projections will look like on stage and how they'll interact with the other visual elements. While there's nothing wrong with this style and indeed this is still how I work 90% of the time when I'm hired as the projection designer, I'm learning that viewing the other parts as something to be "designed" may not be always accurate. 

Recently I worked as the programmer for a fantastically talented projections designer. It had been a while since I'd worked as a programmer especially at the level that was expected of me so I was a bit concerned. At the start of the process things went smoothly enough and if I had frustrations they were mainly aimed at myself for not being fast enough. But as we went on I started to become frustrated with the designer and his ideas. Before tech began we were both at an understanding of the technical "difficulties" presented in programming the show the way we had agreed upon. Yet as we got deeper and deeper into the show he began asking for more and more complicated changes and ideas. I was so confused why he was asking me to do things that he complete understood and would be hard to accomplish, especially in the limited time that a tech always entails. I hunkered down, did my best and surprised myself by making it through. It wasn't really till the first run-through that it really dawned on me, those ideas and difficult programmatic request bright the entire design of the projections to another level. It was the fact that he was not thinking in the way of "how could someone quickly and easily program this" but the central question that every designer should always be thinking; HOW CAN I MAKE MY CONTRIBUTION TO THIS SHOW BE THE ABSOLUTE BEST IT CAN BE? 

I suppose what I've really learned is that the design of the show must always come first. I used to have a saying I'd use in college when people were asking for projections; "I don't know what I can't do!" Recently I'd sort of dismissed that as being foolhardy but I think as a designer it's our responsibility to lead with near-blind ambition and to trust our collaborators, or in many cases, your future self to come up with a solution. 

Triggering Qlab through a Lighting Board

This is something I've always known I needed to learn and recently I was forced to figure it out. Big thanks to Matthew Houstle for stepping me through it.  

First you'll need some sort of midi connector to USB or Ethernet connector for connecting the board and your device. Test that you're getting signal by using the MIDI Monitor program that comes in the Mac's utilities.  

On the board (in this case an ETC Ion) 

  • Go to Show Setup menu
  • Find Show Control menu
  • Set the MSC transmit channel to any number. I believe it defaults to 0

In QLab

  • Select the workspace options. (Aka the cog in the corner) 
  • Under MIDI Control, check the Use MIDI Show Control
  • Set the Device ID to match the MTC Transmit number from the board. 
  • No just match the cue numbers in qlab to the light cue numbers. 

 

Learning n' stuff

Things I'm currently trying to learn more about/have recently discovered.

 

Processing - a coding based program where you can very quickly see your results generated. Might finally break my mind into understanding the basics of coding. 

 

TCP coding - some sort of programming language that can do things like control prpjecter lenses from isadora. So far it's had the least resources. 

 

Cinema 4D - I've been slacking lately but I promise I am trying to get a handle on the basics and can start forcing myself to use it in more shows.  

 

TouchDesigner - the hardest to learn because I need to borrow a PC to use it. Even so I'm still doing research and trying to stay involved.