After working with some of JR Clancy's older control systems, we began to realize the next step in scene control software.
The first test was a theater-specific 3D scene control software made for The Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, MD. Because this theater featured an array of 42 3-axis acoustic panels, "visualizing" the shape that the panels would make from just a table alone would have been nearly impossible for an operator. The solution was to provide an easily navigated 3D view of the theater in order to "shape" the acoustic panel array into visually and acoustically appropriate shapes. And then, with the touch of a button, the on-screen visualization became reality.
Because of the success of that project, the Scene Control 500 was created - a fully customizable, general-purpose 3D stage controller. This software has been installed in over 70 theaters worldwide.
The PC software was written exclusively by myself. It was written in a combination of Visual Basic and C#, and interfaced with Direct3D and OPC. The software communicated with a Siemens PLC, which was programmed by Larry Eschelbacher at JR Clancy.
- Intuitive graphical user interface
- Plug-in based controls to handle new types of motion and theater-related sets
- Custom scripting language well-suited to defining 3D appearance and motor behavior
- Position, rotation, scale and keyframe-based display of motor sets
- Support for 3 and 2-axis acoustic panels, rolling banners, floor lifts, acoustic doors, bi-part curtains, traveling track curtains, sliding walls, multi-axis chandeliers
- Acceleration, deceleration and speed control
- Variable-speed targeting - hit a target in exactly the given number of seconds
- Motion sequence capability (ie, open door, deploy curtain)
- Support for "load sensing" to detect dangerous changes in weight
- Ability to paste images from a USB drive onto models in the view
- Automatically follow a sequence of moves on multiple channels