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Discussion Starter #1
I'm currently looking to setup a whole room show and I'm not too sure where to start.
The overall idea is to have a ambient state for the room that plays a music playlist and controls the default room lighting.
Maybe a Spotify playlist if not too hard to integrate (if not a MP3 playlist will work) and Philips Hue light bulbs.
From there, I'd like to have triggers I can press that will pause the ambient room setting and play a room event.
The event would include new audio, trigger props in the room and alter the lighting for the life of the event.
At the end of the event, the room would resume the ambient state right where it left off.

This room would be permanent and indoors so no worries of weather.
I was thinking maybe I could control this show from a laptop? Maybe a way to run from the cloud?
Also,for the props I was looking to build with Arduino boards.

Basically think Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar.
Has anyone had any experience with this type of setup?
I know it's rather complex but I'm willing to dive in if I can get pointed in the right direction.
Thank you all for your time and happy haunting!
 

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Here is just one way you might accomplish what you want, using my show automation software, DAZL (DAZL Show Automation Software Released!).
  • Import all the audio files you want to use for music and special effects into DAZL. This will make them available for use.
  • Create a ‘set’ that represents the room.
  • Create a ‘scene’ under that set that represents your ambient state. You can configure this scene to start whenever the show starts, and to loop continuously, for example.
  • Create an ‘audio track’ under that scene to hold your ‘ambient music’ soundtrack.
  • Add each of your music files to that audio track as ‘audio clips’ (lay them end to end).
  • If you wish to control lighting, you can add an ‘animation track’ or ‘chase group’ to the scene for each light/fixture you wish to control. For example, one for a desk lamp (perhaps it flickers, pulses very slowly, or is just on/off), one for a ‘lightning bulb’ in a window (which flickers in time with a thunder audio clip), and one for a fake fire (flickering in the fireplace).
  • Note that the easiest way to control lighting for shows these days is using DMX (with an appropriate DMX controller). Most of the lighting effects you find at Guitar Center or on-line are DMX-controlled. Velleman (and others) also provides some cheaper kits/units to control lighting via DMX. DAZL supports several of these via ‘I/O device interfaces’, enabled in the software as needed. You would have to buy a supported DMX controller, though, if you currently have none.
  • Once you have a soundtrack for the room and have interfaced the lighting, you can create animation data to animate the lighting as desired. Many people use cheap MIDI controllers to record animation data to animation tracks. It is also easy to edit/draw animation data on animation tracks using a computer mouse.
  • Chase Groups are a special type of animation track that animate computer-generated/user-drawn chase effects (across one or more channels). DAZL has built-in chase effects to simulate flame flicker, and to control the color change of an RGB light fixture, for example.
  • DAZL can also easily convert audio files into animation data (e.g., turn thunder into lightning!)
  • Since you said ‘Tiki Bar’, DAZL is particularily well suited for controlling animatronics! It is very adept at animating groups of servos synchronous with audio playback. For example, you could have a talking raven on the mantle! It could be doing very minimal movement and/or ‘muttering’ during the ambient segment of the show, and then move into a full-blown dialoguing with the audience for the main show.
  • If you want to trigger another scene to play for your main show, you could create an ‘event’ to start the show (for example fired when a MIDI controller button is pressed, or a detector is triggered). This event would perform ‘actions’ to: stop/fade-out the ambient scene, start your main show scene (amongst other things).
  • The main scene could be whatever you want to present to your audience, such as the raven delivering your Halloween message.
  • If you want to have Arduino/try-button effects, there is no problem integrating them with DAZL (e.g., using relays, analog/digitial circuits, serial/UDP data messages, etc.) That is, as long as you can handle the interfacing. Velleman has several boards for circuit-based interfacing that DAZL supports, and serial/ethernet is usually not a problem for Windows systems/modern networks.
  • I haven't even gotten into integrating video with all this, using either my DAZL Player software or stand-alone video players (BrightSign, MedeaWiz).
  • See this video where I use DAZL to run a raven animatronic: Mr. Chicken / DAZL Animatronic Raven
  • Here is another video just running down some of DAZL’s capabilities: DAZL Introduction
  • Check us out at: Misery Bay Software
 

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What sort of budget do you have?
Something like the BooBox controller (with various add-ons such as relay boards) would do the job. I use one on my virtual haunted ride to control videos, animated props, lights, water sprayer and seat vibration. With the Director Connect and Director software it's relatively easy to set up a complete scene. One advantage with the BooBox is that once the scene is setup (using the Director Connect and Director software) it will run from the BooBox itself, no need to leave a computer connected to it.

Anyway just another idea
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Here is just one way you might accomplish what you want, using my show automation software, DAZL (DAZL Show Automation Software Released!).
  • Import all the audio files you want to use for music and special effects into DAZL. This will make them available for use.
  • Create a ‘set’ that represents the room.
  • Create a ‘scene’ under that set that represents your ambient state. You can configure this scene to start whenever the show starts, and to loop continuously, for example.
  • Create an ‘audio track’ under that scene to hold your ‘ambient music’ soundtrack.
  • Add each of your music files to that audio track as ‘audio clips’ (lay them end to end).
  • If you wish to control lighting, you can add an ‘animation track’ or ‘chase group’ to the scene for each light/fixture you wish to control. For example, one for a desk lamp (perhaps it flickers, pulses very slowly, or is just on/off), one for a ‘lightning bulb’ in a window (which flickers in time with a thunder audio clip), and one for a fake fire (flickering in the fireplace).
  • Note that the easiest way to control lighting for shows these days is using DMX (with an appropriate DMX controller). Most of the lighting effects you find at Guitar Center or on-line are DMX-controlled. Velleman (and others) also provides some cheaper kits/units to control lighting via DMX. DAZL supports several of these via ‘I/O device interfaces’, enabled in the software as needed. You would have to buy a supported DMX controller, though, if you currently have none.
  • Once you have a soundtrack for the room and have interfaced the lighting, you can create animation data to animate the lighting as desired. Many people use cheap MIDI controllers to record animation data to animation tracks. It is also easy to edit/draw animation data on animation tracks using a computer mouse.
  • Chase Groups are a special type of animation track that animate computer-generated/user-drawn chase effects (across one or more channels). DAZL has built-in chase effects to simulate flame flicker, and to control the color change of an RGB light fixture, for example.
  • DAZL can also easily convert audio files into animation data (e.g., turn thunder into lightning!)
  • Since you said ‘Tiki Bar’, DAZL is particularily well suited for controlling animatronics! It is very adept at animating groups of servos synchronous with audio playback. For example, you could have a talking raven on the mantle! It could be doing very minimal movement and/or ‘muttering’ during the ambient segment of the show, and then move into a full-blown dialoguing with the audience for the main show.
  • If you want to trigger another scene to play for your main show, you could create an ‘event’ to start the show (for example fired when a MIDI controller button is pressed, or a detector is triggered). This event would perform ‘actions’ to: stop/fade-out the ambient scene, start your main show scene (amongst other things).
  • The main scene could be whatever you want to present to your audience, such as the raven delivering your Halloween message.
  • If you want to have Arduino/try-button effects, there is no problem integrating them with DAZL (e.g., using relays, analog/digitial circuits, serial/UDP data messages, etc.) That is, as long as you can handle the interfacing. Velleman has several boards for circuit-based interfacing that DAZL supports, and serial/ethernet is usually not a problem for Windows systems/modern networks.
  • I haven't even gotten into integrating video with all this, using either my DAZL Player software or stand-alone video players (BrightSign, MedeaWiz).
  • See this video where I use DAZL to run a raven animatronic: Mr. Chicken / DAZL Animatronic Raven
  • Here is another video just running down some of DAZL’s capabilities: DAZL Introduction
  • Check us out at: DAZL - Misery Bay Software
I thank you very much for taking the time to answer!
The program looks great but $200 for a first time home haunter might be a little much for me.
Does DAZL support 5.1 audio output? Also, can you control RGBW light strips from this program? Sorry for the questions as I'm still very new to this all.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What sort of budget do you have?
Something like the BooBox controller (with various add-ons such as relay boards) would do the job. I use one on my virtual haunted ride to control videos, animated props, lights, water sprayer and seat vibration. With the Director Connect and Director software it's relatively easy to set up a complete scene. One advantage with the BooBox is that once the scene is setup (using the Director Connect and Director software) it will run from the BooBox itself, no need to leave a computer connected to it.

Anyway just another idea
My budget is pretty low as I'm very new to this all and don't want to spend money going down the wrong road.
I like that the software to program these boxes is free but I'm hesitant to buy into a complete ecosystem as I look to be limited by the hardware they offer.
Can a BooBox run 5.1 audio?
What are your thoughts on the BooBox system?
 

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Yes, DAZL supports up to 7.1 audio output per sound device. It also handles multi-channel audio files and mixing to output. Also note that one can add additional sound devices to add channels (e.g., add another USB sound device; I’ve tested several cheap ones and they've all been plug-n-play with Windows).

As for the RGBW light strips, the answer is yes, with the right interface hardware. I've tested several cheaper DMX RGB LED controllers (pricing $20 and up). I’ve found that spending a little more can help with reliability. (I've found the same to be true with DMX controllers, too.)

I totally understand your cost concerns (been there; I still think about it all the time). The way I’d view purchasing something like DAZL is to think of it as a Multimedia Show Operating System™ (;)). It has an up-front cost to be sure, but it also provides a structured framework for show design and delivery, which can be leveraged show after show, year after year. It ties everything together—delivering audio and video to multiple locations, responding to various inputs, driving outputs (relays, servos, motors, whathaveyou), lighting, special effects, other devices; all without having to become a show software developer. I think these are the big dividends of PC-based show control software: it’s user friendly and powerful. It also scales from basic to Disney-level without skipping a beat. For example, it could run an entire escape room business (multiple rooms, with their media and puzzles).

This is just me speaking (grain of salt), but I'd rather pay more for the fundamental reusable technology (control software, DMX controller, lighting, effects), and then save money on the creative side, crafting displays myself (not buying Spirit props). Since the core is already taken care of and can be reused year after year, one can spend their time worrying about the important stuff: creating new stories, shows, props, media, decorations, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes, DAZL supports up to 7.1 audio output per sound device. It also handles multi-channel audio files and mixing to output. Also note that one can add additional sound devices to add channels (e.g., add another USB sound device; I’ve tested several cheap ones and they've all been plug-n-play with Windows).

As for the RGBW light strips, the answer is yes, with the right interface hardware. I've tested several cheaper DMX RGB LED controllers (pricing $20 and up). I’ve found that spending a little more can help with reliability. (I've found the same to be true with DMX controllers, too.)

I totally understand your cost concerns (been there; I still think about it all the time). The way I’d view purchasing something like DAZL is to think of it as a Multimedia Show Operating System™ (;)). It has an up-front cost to be sure, but it also provides a structured framework for show design and delivery, which can be leveraged show after show, year after year. It ties everything together—delivering audio and video to multiple locations, responding to various inputs, driving outputs (relays, servos, motors, whathaveyou), lighting, special effects, other devices; all without having to become a show software developer. I think these are the big dividends of PC-based show control software: it’s user friendly and powerful. It also scales from basic to Disney-level without skipping a beat. For example, it could run an entire escape room business (multiple rooms, with their media and puzzles).

This is just me speaking (grain of salt), but I'd rather pay more for the fundamental reusable technology (control software, DMX controller, lighting, effects), and then save money on the creative side, crafting displays myself (not buying Spirit props). Since the core is already taken care of and can be reused year after year, one can spend their time worrying about the important stuff: creating new stories, shows, props, media, decorations, etc.
Sweet! Very nice! So just to make sure I understand, I would just need a Open DMX USB and a DMX 512 LED Decoder to get the RGBW to work with DAZL? Really leaning towards taking the plunge with DAZL but want to make sure I understand it's limitations. Does DAZL come with any kind of documentation for new users like myself? So I can stop asking you all these beautiful questions. :) Haha!
 

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Yes, I do recommend Enttec (the DMX USB Pro model is more performant, and technically handles more channel traffic, but the Open is typically fine on modern computers). As for the decoder, as long as it is DMX it should work. (You also need a DMX cable between the two. Also, you can daisy-chain to subsequent DMX units. Also consider buying a DMX terminator plug that fits the number of pins your unit has at the end of the daisy chain; it can vary between 3-pin and 5-pin connections with DMX.) The software does come with Windows Help outlining almost every screen in the software plus overview stuff as well (press F1 to bring up contextual help). Questions are no problem; ask away.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, I do recommend Enttec (the DMX USB Pro model is more performant, and technically handles more channel traffic, but the Open is typically fine on modern computers). As for the decoder, as long as it is DMX it should work. (You also need a DMX cable between the two. Also, you can daisy-chain to subsequent DMX units. Also consider buying a DMX terminator plug that fits the number of pins your unit has at the end of the daisy chain; it can vary between 3-pin and 5-pin connections with DMX.) The software does come with Windows Help outlining almost every screen in the software plus overview stuff as well (press F1 to bring up contextual help). Questions are no problem; ask away.
Okay! I’m back and about to make the purchase! Thank you for reducing the price!!!! This makes the software much more accessible and I’m excited to create something great to share with the world! :)

I have two final questions that I’m a still a little unclear on...
1. Is it possible to use physical buttons to trigger scene changes with the basic home version? Or does that require the $300 version?
2. If I trigger a scene change, can I set it up to fade the main scene down, start the event trigger scene, and then fade back to the original main scene at the same location after event trigger scene ends? Or would it restart the main scene to the very start?

As always, thank you for your time!
 

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Okay! I’m back and about to make the purchase! Thank you for reducing the price!!!! This makes the software much more accessible and I’m excited to create something great to share with the world! :)

I have two final questions that I’m a still a little unclear on...
1. Is it possible to use physical buttons to trigger scene changes with the basic home version? Or does that require the $300 version?
2. If I trigger a scene change, can I set it up to fade the main scene down, start the event trigger scene, and then fade back to the original main scene at the same location after event trigger scene ends? Or would it restart the main scene to the very start?

As always, thank you for your time!
You really should look at the Boobox FlexMax. It has 16 inputs, DMX, 7 triggers and flowchart like settings, ex. If this then that. Super simple to program you just need Director to hook to your laptop. There is also an Escapekeeper if you want need more flexibility. I have programmed some elaborate stuff with them.
 

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1. Is it possible to use physical buttons to trigger scene changes with the basic home version? Or does that require the $300 version?
Yes! One simply needs to create an input for that physical button, and then use it in a trigger. That trigger can be used to start a scene, a timer (that does something after a given period of time), an Event (which can execute a list of Actions), amongst other things. DAZL is pretty flexible, and I can help you with figuring out how to do stuff.

2. If I trigger a scene change, can I set it up to fade the main scene down, start the event trigger scene, and then fade back to the original main scene at the same location after event trigger scene ends? Or would it restart the main scene to the very start?
Not precisely. If you were to stop a scene, it has a user-configurable fade-out time, which would accomplish the fade out, but there is no current way to start back up at that precise spot. There is a scene pause, which would allow one to restart that scene at the precise spot it stopped, but that would not involve a fade-out, per say. If you take the first course of action (scene stop with fade out), it would restart the main scene at the very start (or at a specific start-up point). Perhaps if you told me the specific scenario you have in mind, I could help you craft a solution that works. (Or, we could figure out some new functionality for DAZL. :))

As for reducing the price, it seemed the best thing to do, given our current circumstances. Challenging times, indeed. Any-who...no big deal about my time. I'm glad to help.

DP
 

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When I think about it, perhaps having a scene remember its last point of execution might not be a bad idea. Then, one could use a "scene resume" action to start the scene up again at that same point, perhaps with a user-defined fade-in period (just as for fade-out). I like it.
 

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FYI. I just got done adding Scene Resume to DAZL. You can now resume from where a scene stopped/faded out. It can start immediately/fade-in, as you wish. I just thought that this was a nice addition to the panoply of features DAZL already offers. (If you downloaded a demo, you can install the latest release (1.1.2.0) on top of it to add this functionality.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
FYI. I just got done adding Scene Resume to DAZL. You can now resume from where a scene stopped/faded out. It can start immediately/fade-in, as you wish. I just thought that this was a nice addition to the panoply of features DAZL already offers. (If you downloaded a demo, you can install the latest release (1.1.2.0) on top of it to add this functionality.
Awesome!!! Thank you very much. I’m currently out of town for the week and only on mobile. When I get back home I will be purchasing DAZL. Very excited to get my hands on this! Thanks for all the support you are giving this community by providing the tools we need to get the job done. :) I’ll keep you posted on my project to see all the creative you are helping bring alive!
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Got it! Im to start playing around. I already had the demo on my computer, how do I start up the license wizard to update my software? I don’t see that option anywhere. The license wizard went away after activating my software license.

Edit: Figured it out! Run program in admin mode. :)
 
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