controlgeek.net/Timberspring Orlando 2017 Show Control Geekout Wrapup!

Jim Janninck's and my annual Geekout during Infocomm this year was the best yet! More than 50 people came and watched four great presentations; and afterwards we joined a Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) mixer just outside the doors.

A very special thanks to Loren Barrows of Alcorn McBride and Eric Cantrell of Medialon/Barco, who sponsored our space and also created the TEA mixer. Eric also brought a Barco Clickshare that saved the presentation from problems in the house video system.  

First up was Mitchell Schuh of Smart Monkeys, who presented "Show Control Pushing IT: A Case Study in Large Show Control Networks for Warner Bros. Abu Dhabi".

Next was Drew Dalzell and Ian Burch of Diablosound presenting Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood

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Third was Robert Schoneman of Blumenthal Performing Arts who presented on the one man show Basic Training. 

And finally was Marc Rosenthal of Personal Creations, who presented on his work on the Strike Force at Binhai Aircraft Carrier Theme Park.  

All the presentations were great, and Jim and I extend a special thanks to all the presenters:

I chose two attendees at random and gave away two copies of my book and it ended up Mr. Shoneman and also Gavin Cannan of Rational Acoustics!

We will be looking for presentations again next spring; watch this space and the show control mailing list for more info.

I need your help! Looking for Show Networks and Control Systems Book V1.1 Update Suggestions/Corrections

This summer, I am in the process of doing a ".1" update of my book, Show Networks and Control Systems. I'm not anticipating adding any new chapters, I'm just planning on updating anything that's out of date, fixing typos, replacing photos, putting things into an updated context, etc.  If you have a correction, suggestion, or addition for the update, please fill out the form linked below.  If I implement your correction/suggestion/etc, I will send you an 8 x 10 photo of your choice from my website www.johnhuntington.photography. Everyone who submits will be entered into a drawing for a copy of the updated print edition when it comes out (anticipated Fall, 2017).

Please check the errata page before submitting: http://controlgeek.net/book-errata/   

The form closes on the summer solstice: June 21 2017 at 12:24 am NYC time.

Click here for the submission form!

Storm Chase May-June 2017

I had my last class on May 24 and then immediately headed south for my sister's wedding in Asheville, NC.  That was a great weekend, and since I was so far west, I had planned afterwards to head out for storm chasing.  Although the forecast was pretty marginal, I headed out anyway.  

I ended up driving a total of over 4200 miles, and basically saw a couple rain storms and a little hail.  All my prep worked out great, my car worked great, and even the cell phone signal booster I bought at a Radio Shack closing sale worked great.  I saw everything I could have seen; I did get on several severe thunderstorms and even got on the only tornado warning of the time.  But the problem with storm chasing is that you have to have storms to chase and with the "death ridge" firmly in place, it just wasn't worth it, so last Saturday I started heading home, getting home Monday.  

The sad thing is that this is now my third chase trip in a row where I didn't even see a supercell. I never get lonely when I'm on storms but this was a lonely trip; I have think for the future whether these longer trips are worth it or it's worth instead just saving up money and flying in when things look active.

controlgeek.net/Timberspring Orlando 2017 Show Control Case Studies and Geekout during Infocomm!

Jim Janninck and I are really excited about the breadth of projects we have for our annual Geekout during Infocomm!

The free and open-to-all event will be at 6:30pm Thursday June 15th, 2017, at Main Event at Pointe Orlando. Google maps says it's a 12 minute walk from the convention center.

June 7 UPDATE: Stick around right after the geekout for a Themed Entertainment Association reception with food, drink and bowling!   

We will start promptly so we can make it to the reception, don't be late!!!

Special thanks to Alcorn McBride and Barco/Medialon for providing the venue!

Here's the talks (in order of submission):

Show Control Pushing IT: A Case Study in Large Show Control Networks for Warner Bros. Abu Dhabi

Presented by: Mitchell Schuh of Smart Monkeys 

Exploring how specific user requirements for show control networks push traditional IT systems in directions that are outside of their traditional use cases. The WB Abu Dhabi project consists of 13 primary edge locations plus a core that are tasked with distributing data in a redundant yet segregated fashion. With over 120 switches, the challenges presented by the client forced specific topologies and architectures that are both not traditional for Show Control but also present specific difficulties for IT systems, mainly latency and long term management.

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood

Presented by: Drew Dalzell and Ian Burch of Diablosound

Sound, video, and lighting control for Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood, using Alcorn McBride vCore, Qlab, Brightsign, Martin M5.

Basic Training

Presented by: Robert Schoneman of Blumenthal Performing Arts

In the one man show Basic Training, Kahlil Ashanti plays about 50 different characters. QLab is used to control the light board, sound board and fire all of the sound effects. Once programming and rehearsals were finished, the show was run by the Stage Manager every night with just a GO button. Audio console was a Yamaha O1V, Lighting console was an ETC ION.

Strike Force at Binhai Aircraft Carrier Theme Park

Presented by Marc Rosenthal of Personal Creations


Another chapter in diplomacy wherein the Chinese turn a Russian aircraft carrier into a theme park and bring in Americans to provide the entertainment. Mirage Entertainment’s Strike Force is a water based stunt show with giant flame effects, barrel launches, water canons, falling towers, man on fire burns, pyro, the ship’s massive gun turrets, rocket launchers and anit-aircraft weaponry. Show control system includes safety/ignition feedback, sensors, relay modules, E-Stop, scheduling, audio announcements, timecode, mon storing, deadman switches, interfacing to Chinese built effects and ship control. The system is run using Barco/Medialon Manager.

Spring Break Storm Chase/Bust

After last year's successful spring break storm chase, I booked tickets for this year's break Thursday 4/6. By Wednesday, a strong line of thunderstorms was forecast to pass through NYC right about the time of my flight. I tried to change my flight but American was not waiving their change fees. A couple hours before my flight, I checked the radar, and sure enough, a strong line of thunderstorms was forecast right before my flight time. And, of course, the flight was diverted, delayed several hours, and then cancelled. No seats were available for four days (!) so I cancelled the tickets, and missed some big weather on that Sunday. The weather setup still looked very marginal, but I was really itching to get out on the road, so I rebooked a ticket on Monday (4/10) on Delta and headed out to Dallas (and caught a nice sunset on the way, see above photo). It looked like a marginal setup for Wednesday out in west Texas/eastern New Mexico, so once I picked up the car after yet another flight delay I headed that way.  

I woke up Tuesday west of Dallas, and nothing much was forecast so I continued west to get in position for Wednesday. I enjoyed the wide open spaces and was able to clear my head after a a busy school year (which still goes for a few more weeks).

I ended up in Hobbs, New Mexico, and caught a nice sunset and moon rise in this region dominated by oil production:

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Wednesday ended up being a pretty marginal setup, but I did navigate the spotty road network and the oil truck traffic jams and got on a couple severe-warned storms.

I headed south to Fort Stockton for the night, since another marginal setup was forecast for the next day.  

Thursday morning, on my morning run, I saw well-known chaser Daniel Shaw's truck parked outside my hotel, and just as I was wrapping up breakfast he came in and we ended up talking for a long time. He's a great guy who comes over from Australia for three months of storm chasing each year. I had been a bit down after driving around and not even getting any decent photos for a couple days, but Daniel's energy and enthusiasm cheered me up.

That Thursday was again a marginal setup, but since I needed to be back in Dallas Friday for my flight home, I was looking at a very marginal target of Wichita Falls, TX which was in that direction.  I set out on a leisurely trek back towards Dallas, and with a weak forecast, eventually abandoned the Wichita Falls target and ended up sand sledding in Monahans Sandhills State Park, and seeing the Million Barrel Museum.

I ended up for the evening in Abilene and found the Art Walk, which was fun.  I headed out of town to catch the sunset:

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And of course while I was wandering around Abiline, a supercell formed in my previous target of Wichita Falls TX which produced a tornado.  And the next day, while I was sitting at the airport, Daniel, who I had just been hanging out with, caught an absolutely amazing storm.  

So I was in the right place but at the wrong time--I missed incredible storms by just one day, and I ended up driving almost 1300 miles for pretty much nothing. But that's storm chasing, especially when you don't have flexibility in your schedule. But in the end, it was good to get out into the wide open spaces, and get a break. And I'm hoping for better storm timing when I go out again in late May.