How to Make Video Characters Interact with Real Objects

General

Haunting season is upon us (yes, I know it’s only September), and you’re probably thinking about all the props and effects you want to build for your haunted house.  Video effects are becoming more popular, but in most instances they’re no substitute for good old-fashioned physical effects.  I say “why not have both?”  Give your videos the power to affect and control the real world!

 

 

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Waldorf Microwave XTk No Power Fix

Synthesizers

Waldorf Microwave XTk

The Waldorf Microwave XTk is the keyboard version of the Waldorf Microwave XT.  It uses the same line-lump power supply, only it’s hidden inside the unit.  The coaxial power connector normally used on the XT is covered up, and the power supply wires are soldered directly to the board.

Waldorf Microwave XTk Board Rear

There are many things that can make these synths not power up, but one common culprit is the transient voltage suppressor diode that is connected across the power input.  This can fail to a short, causing it to appear that the power supply has died. Read More »

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Modd3d Halloween Roundup

General

Halloween is almost here!  If you’re looking for some last minute costume ideas or projects for your haunted house, here are some past articles from Modd3d that will help you out.

Scares

Gross Squishy Eyeball Doorbell ButtonGreet your trick-or-treaters (or TOTs as they are called in the industry) with a gross squishy eyeball doorbell button.

Flying Crank GhostPut a giant glowing floating ghost on your roof.  It’s guaranteed to attract folks from way down the block.

 

Tech

Fog Machine Pump RepairIs your el-cheapo fog machine not putting out much fog since you dug it out of storage this year?  Try repairing the fogger’s pump.

Fog Machine Timer Remote for Lite F/X FoggerAre you trying to find a wireless or timer remote that actually works with your Lite FX fogger?  Try modding one.

Always Ready Mod for Lite F/X Fog MachineTired of missing fog cues because your fogger decided it needs to warm up instead of spraying fog?  Mod it so it’s always ready for fog.

MIDI Controlled Talking Animated SkullGot a talking skull from the store, but you want it to say what you want it to say?  Mod it so you can control your skull with MIDI.

Motion Sensor HackWant to trigger props when your victims approach?  Modify a flood light motion sensor so it can be used with just about anything.

 

Costumes

Geeky Girl CostumesLadies, does it seem like all the good geeky costumes are for guys?  Here are 25 geek girl costumes for you to check out.

Gaping Hole CostumeLooking to really freak people out?  Let them see right through you with this gaping hole costume.

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Surefire P2X Fury Review

Shiny

Surefire P2X FuryI think I’ve turned into a flashlight snob.  When I was a kid, those disposable flashlights with the batteries you couldn’t change were just fine.  When I started doing theatre in high school I discovered the Mini Maglite and I thought I’d died and gone to flashlight heaven.  They were bright (compared to the disposables) and you didn’t have to hit them to get them to stay on.

Years later a friend introduced me to Surefire flashlights.  They put my old Mini Maglite to shame.  They’re bright (for real this time), they’re tough, and they do neat tricks like shine in multiple colors and brightnesses.  I own several of them, and I’ve been carrying their Backup model around in my pocket for a couple years now.

A few months ago I stupidly lost my Backup.  I don’t want to go into detail on how I lost it, but it has to do with how my brain doesn’t really work in the middle of the night when I get up to go check something out with my flashlight.  I miss that light.

Recently I bought a Surefire P2X Fury as a replacement for my old light.  It was more than twice as bright on its maximum setting and a little cheaper even, so I figured I should get one.

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Seattle Mini Maker Faire

Science

It’s true; there’s going to be a Mini Maker Faire in Seattle on June 2nd and 3rd, 2012!  Swing by the Seattle Center to check out all the fun interactive projects and displays that your fellow makers will be showing off.  If you want to show off your own project, you can sign up for a booth space on their web site (hurry though-  the deadline is April 7.)

 

Seattle Mini Maker Faire

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New Site: The Synthesizer Academy

Synthesizers

I’ve been working on a new site, and I think it’s ready for you to check out. It’s called The Synthesizer Academy. Every Monday, myself or a guest writer will post a new synthesis tutorial, how-to or lesson. Topics are going to include everything from what exactly a synthesizer is to how to put together your very own system. If you like synths, or even think you might, go have a look.

The Synthesizer Academy

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Flying Robots Play James Bond Theme

Robots

The University of Pennsylvania posted this fun-to-watch video of flying robot quadrotors playing the James Bond theme on a variety of instruments.  The slower instrument parts (keyboard, cymbal) are played by having the robot fly up and down.  The faster lead part is played on a “couch guitar” they rigged up by running a series of strings tuned to the right series of notes across a couch frame.  3 robots take turns dragging a wire across the strings to play the sequence.

The whole thing is pre-programmed and the robots are acting autonomously.  We’re one step closer to Skynet.

 

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Desktop Mastering: How to Master Audio

Audio

What is mastering?  It’s what happens to your music after you’ve finished recording and mixing it.  This includes:

  • Arrange tracks and spaces between into their final order
  • Perform any minor edits that may be required
  • Remove noise
  • Adjust levels
  • Sweeten tracks by proper application of equalization and compression
  • Adjust ambiance or stereo width as necessary

This is of course an over-simplified list.  My good friend Steve Turnidge wrote a book explaining the mastering process in great detail which is about to be released.  He’s a very talented guy,  so if you really want to make your music and studio recordings shine I highly recommend you check out his desktop mastering book.

 

Desktop Mastering Book

Update:  Here’s a video of Steve explaining how audio production is like pie.  Sweet, delicious pie.

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Make Timer & Wireless Remotes Work On Lite F/X Fog Machines

Haunting, Theatre

The Lite F/X 1741 fogger was cheap and readily available a few years ago.  Many of us have one or more of them that still work great.  One down-side to these fog machines is that it’s tough to find fog timer remotes and wireless remotes that actually work with them.  I’ll show you how to make common remotes that are readily available work with these foggers.

Lite F/X Fog Machine

 

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