Mixed Gems 02

Mixed Gems 02

Monday, Mar 29, 2021

Listening To: Little Sprout - Fake Cake
Photo: Stanley supervises Mr Merlot’s performance
Video: Mixed Gems TV Episode 2

Last show of the pandemic. Done. I was hesitant about this one as we are ramping into a third wave due to the slack pandemic response by both citizens and government locally (see: Slow Canada: Here’s How Badly We Muffed the Pandemic).

But we forged ahead with only three performers unmasked and a otherwise (distanced/masked) skeleton crew. This unit is going to stay isolated for a time to make sure it doesn’t spread anything, I hope the others do the same. Chances are low, but it’s better to be safe.

The show, while mostly comprised of pre-recorded submissions went well. A very savvy director and crew made it so that after initial show prep, it was smooth sailing. While the rough and tumble of less experienced staff learning the ropes is the intended goal of the production equipment, considering the timing, it was most welcome.

“STANLEY STOLE THE SHOW” was the overwhelming response. The bugger loves attention SO much that he stayed on stage for the entire thing. And even awake. I assumed he’d wander off for a nap at one point but never did. Even watching the closing act perform and loving the crew afterwards.

Everybody was masked for our bus ride home (I’d had a few :-), which was surprising, as the few other times we’d braved transit it was a nightmare, so bad that we’ve jumped off and walked home.

It’s starting to be nice out and with the wave upon us, expect a slow spring of solo expeditions. Unless we get to the “stay at home order stage” stage.

Well, then I win a bet…

2 minutes read
Projector Hush Box

Projector Hush Box

Saturday, Jan 30, 2021

Photo: “Hush Box Project” by Chaz
Listening to: Nina Hagen - Live at Rockplast 1978 and Herman Brood - Live at Rockplast 1978 . The movie they co-starred in, Cha Cha, was released the next year (it was a hot mess with an really awesome soundtrack album).

A hush box would neat to build. Especially since my studio space is full of sawdust and scrap wood anyway with some ongoing renos.

A hush box channels air around baffles in order to quiet a projector’s cooling fans (which can be annoying after awhile, especially in a small space). Having recently acquired a Bomaker Parrot to watch movies on, I need one.

Figure wood will be free, it will just need some hardware (hinges, corner braces), optic glass, fans and power supply. Then a thin coating of acoustic foam. We’ve previously used thin layers of acoustic bat insulation for such things but the proper foam will be easier to handle. If I use industrial velcro to attach the baffles, it can be reconfigured for a different unit down the road.

Ya, will be fun.

Probably take me a month to decide what colour to paint it thou…

Hush Box project at hackaday.io

1 minutes read
DIY(ish) Video Streaming Setup

DIY(ish) Video Streaming Setup

Sunday, Jan 24, 2021

Listening to: Primetime - Going Places
Photo: “my” back yard. Lots of shade from the trees in the summer (and yes, the fence has been fixed now).

I said the video/streaming setup down at Red Gate would be documented. So that’s on today’s bill.

Turnkey systems can run into the tens of thousands of dollars and that obviously was not a go. So we had to DIY it. The quality and features suit us and match some far more expensive setups but it all takes a bit more in the way of tech skills to keep running. We also wanted to keep the setup flexible to accommodate various needs and future expansion.

Stream Box:

A refurbished Lenovo M93p SFF with an i5-4570, 16 gigs ram, 500 gig SSD and Geforce 1030 running a arch-based linux distro and OBS Studio. Everything was on used/free/on sale. If that’s ever not powerful enough any other computer could be used with very little tweaking. I’m presently building a second machine for that room so solo artists and interviews can be done there without all the setup required for the main area.

Camera Setup:

Three Panasonic G85’s and a Panasonic G7. The stabilisation from the G85’s stock lens is rather terrific for handheld work and after the cameras were set up, it only takes five or ten minutes of training to get the operational basics down (on manual, fixed zoom with ability to snap focus when needed). One can hand them to any available staff or group that books. All cameras will shoot 4k video to the internal card (until full, no time limitations) and if filming at 1080p 30/fps, can also output raw HDMI to a NDI encoder for streaming. We also have a 40mm (panasonic) and 85mm (Voigtländer) primes available for special shoots. Neither is stabilised but both work with the in-body and electronic stabilisation and are much faster lenses.

Encoders:

These were the fancy bit. Three Birddog Studio NDI units. They attach to the camera rigs and send the HDMI video over ethernet to the stream box. Quality is great and they’ve proven dead reliable. They are bi-directional and also feature SDI so that we could accept a show which brings proper broadcast equipment. They work over POE so there are no additional power needs.

Network Equipment:

Two Ubiquiti UniFi Switch 8 60w POE switches, a Unifi Security Gateway and a lot of gigabit ethernet runs. We have two rooms wired now and will eventually do the front gallery as well. It means we can move a camera, plug it in and it just works, auto-configuring itself with the stream box. The administration is simple and GUI based so anybody should be able to pick up administration if I’m not available.

Lighting:

Mostly donated. The lights were updated with stronger bulbs and the lighting board apparently dates back to Expo ‘86 in Vancouver. We do have a 5600k Godox SL-60 with softbox and a few DIY work lights to fill in when needed along with a small ring light for interviews and the like.

Software:

OBS Studio with only two additions. libndi-bin and obs-ndi-bin. Things like Krita and Shotcut are also on the box for graphics and any trimming of videos. The box is not heavily GPU fortified so any major editing is done elsewhere.

The Best Bit:

Even during a global pandemic, I occasionally get to see a performance.

Totally worth the hundred or so hours of work :-).

3 minutes read

About Me

A dorky artist living in Vancouver, BC.

email: flay@pm.me

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