Standard reference work on show control
By: Jos van de Haterd
John Huntington initially wrote his standard reference work about automation and show control in 1994 and three editions have been published since. This fourth edition has been changed and updated to such an extent that the book now has a new title. What used to be Control systems for live entertainment has now been published as Show networks and control systems. And it is indeed a different book now as Huntington not only updated the information, he also reorganised everything thoroughly. In part one he discusses what forms of automation and show control are used in different disciplines, from lighting and lasers to pyrotechnics, audio, animatronics and stage machinery. Highly informative and comprehensive. In part two he discusses what is covered by show control and what concepts there are (linear vs. nonlinear, event-based vs. time-based cues, absolute vs. relative data, feedback loops), basic electrical technology, counting systems (decimal, hexadecimal, binary) and his list of seven design principles for a show control system. Part three is about data communications and networks, the core of the book. He explains how data is coded and transmitted electrically (or in the form of light), he discusses network basics (from point-to-point to TCP/IP and virtual LAN), and issues such as USB, FireWire and Bluetooth. In part four he covers specialist protocols used in our industry, including MIDI and DMX512A and also MIDI Show Control, RDM, ACN, OSC (Open Sound Control), MVC (MIDI Visual Control) and NTP (Network Time Protocol). Finally, part five addresses the design of a robust show control system and discusses five case studies. The book is now more up-to-date and comprehensive and is still highly recommended to anyone who seriously wants to study the subject.