DIY Entertainment Technology

Background

I thought I should probably contextualise this project:

Initially, as many projects do, it began as a desire to own a piece of technology too expensive for me to purchase (especially with no reliable source of income). However, the idea of developing a lighting control system from scratch also offered learning opportunities in electronics and particularly the Arduino platform (which I’m still very new to). The opportunity to create a free-choice “major work” for Design & Technology arose at a similar time as I was considering this, and I settled on the idea.

As for why the interest in lighting – I’ve been involved in shows for 5 years now (probably around three dozen) and am now operating school and community events and (tentatively) corporate. The ability to shape the audience’s response to a performance through light has always appealed to me, as has the “wow” factor that lighting can often achieve.

Following this interest, I’ve read many books on the subject, along with online research and have near-memorised the DMX protocol (although I still can’t get a MAX485 chip to play nicely) and so experimentation in DIY lighting control has developed into a full-scale lighting console.

As I said, this has been very much a learning experience for me, most of the code and electrical implementations are improvised based on knowledge that is likely very limited compared to the readers (e.g. those directed from HaD) and as such a lot of the decisions I’ve made may not make sense in the context of wider knowledge. In other cases, good practice has been compromised to meet financial and time pressures.

Any improvements or constructive criticism you can contribute would be very, very much appreciated as it can only add to what I gain from this build.

Thanks,

Michael.

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