Part of the light rig for Keller Kinder was a custom midi controller. The idea was to make something very industrial that looked like it was straight from a Nine Inch Nails concert, but have it actually be playable.
Everything on this works, and beyond midi, the controller can also talk a whole bunch of other protocols (DMX, ILDA, ACN, and OSC)thanks to the computer. The main input device is a 61 note midi keyboard that was specifically chosen for its modular design. Along the front edge of the keys are two faders primarily for controlling speed and intensity of the effects. Upper right are the organ stops (second hand Hammond parts) that control song changes and some preset effects. Center is a dmx controller that can act as a standalone device should the computer fail. Upper left is the emergency button (all lights on), the mod wheels from the keyboard.
All custom controls are fully assignable within the limits of the software. Most come in as midi via an Arduino which is also connected through usb for easy re-programming. There's also the ability to add an ipad for additional control through touch OSC or remote desktop. It's handy as a remote wifi control unit allowing you to walk around while controlling the show.
One of the engineering challenges was the four bar linkage that allows the laptop stand to fold down into the case when closed. I used an iterative dimensional synthesis approach to solve for the link lengths and pivot positions.
In the future, I'd like to decrease the size and weight given most shows are just me doing all the setup. I'd also like to add a second keyboard and a more powerful computer for handling multiple projectors and input devices such as a Kinect.
©2024 Kevin Whitfield