From the WTF Files – Ladies and Gentlemen, A DMX-Controlled Fire Machine


hahahaha – “spray the fire”

I had no idea that something like this existed until I saw it from your buddy and mine, Big Clive.  Clive apparently got one of these from China; it’s powered by an electric spark, an aerosol can (like air freshener), and a spring that basically pushes the aerosol canister into the block that sprays the aerosol gas.  What blows my mind is that it’s DMX controlled.

Holy moly.  DMX controlled fire.  Better hope you didn’t track that through all of your cues in Act One!  From Big Clive’s YouTube channel:

Internal examination and demo of a typical Chinese fireball and flame jet type of effect that I bought purely to take to bits. Note that I used a can of air freshener as the fuel source inside the unit and this is not endorsed in any way by the manufacturer of the unit or indeed the air freshener. 🙂 The official fuel cannisters are probably either butane/propane with or without added flame colourants. I used the can of air freshener because it was a handy can of butane with a dip-tube that goes to the bottom of the can so that a mist of fuel is sprayed from the nozzle. While it would be nice to be able to use standard cans of butane refill gas, they only produce a small blue flame because the amount of gas coming from the jet is much lower than could be achieved with the mist of a dip-tube can. The resultant small flame mixes more thoroughly with the available air producing a low intensity blue flame.

Most standard cans of air freshener are quite tall and may not fit in some units without a hack on the spring loaded base. The one I used was actually too short and I had to use an inverted metal chutney dish to centre it and raise it to a good height. The short stubby aerosol air fresheners used in timed release units are no good because of the single shot dosing valve built into them. Not all air fresheners use combustible propellants. The Puresse range by Ambi Pur make excellent fireballs. Keep in mind that any ingredient in the freshener will be incinerated and may be toxic. But then, they were probably toxic before they got burnt anyway.

Do not use air fresheners in this way and never do anything like this indoors as everyone in the vicinity may die etc….

Check this out:

Thanks a lot for being so awesome, Clive!

Interactive LightBoxes from Enlighter and Light Act

I got an email a little while ago from Mitja PrelovÅ¡ek who runs the lighting website Enlighter.  (Sorry I haven’t posted this yet Mitja, I’m in just released software land!)  Enlighter did a project recently with interactive product called Light Act, which is pretty cool — imagine tracking a person as they walk past a store front, and allowing the lighting to literally interact with them as they realize they’re being entertained.  Now that is what I call outstanding!  I thought sticking a large pixellated box in front of a video display was pretty creative, this kinda just blew my mind and made me have a morning period of creativity!

Check this out:

From the video description:

Interactive LightBoxes is an interactive lighting installation using 1 reActor and 2 SmartView modules from LightAct system. These modules control 6 light boxes that through the interactivity draw people closer and invite them to interact and play with them. The message displayed on the light boxes gets across much more easily while the interactivity helps to save energy.

This is outstanding, and it’s not really that complicated!

The system itself is a motion tracking-type system that has some extra translators for lighting protocols other than DMX (like DALI for architecture and any pulse-width modulation signal stuff for homes and buildings), along with a software suite that allows you to either write your own code or use the software to set up your “interactivity barriers” as we would call them.  Check out a diagram of the system — opens up to 1024 pixels!

Awesome work, Mitja and the Enlighter crew!  Thanks for letting us know about your project!

XBox 360 Kinect + DMX = 100% Awesome

I saw this amazing video on Hack N’ Mod about turning an XBox 360 Kinect into a DMX lighting control device.

Of course I said “SAY WHAAAT?” to myself ever so gently.  Can you imagine this with a full lighting rig?  Right now, it’s just being done with two green LEDs.

Check out the video!

Kinect + Touch Designer DMX Light/Laser Control from Phil Reyneri on Vimeo.

Hack the world!  Thanks, Hack-N-Mod!

Synthe FX Releases Luminair 1.5


Luminair has been rocking the iPhone for a while now – the iPhone/iPod Touch DMX device control application uses Art-Net to communicate with devices employing Wi-Fi over your network.  It’s sexy.  Synthe-FX just released Luminair 1.5, an update with great features for the interface, real time data display, and moving light control just to name a few.  From the product page for Luminair 1.5:

Luminair enables you to wirelessly control, view, record and manage intelligent DMX lighting fixtures, consoles, media servers and other software directly from your iPhoneTM or iPodTM touch. Using Artistic License’s Art-Net protocol over your device’s built-in Wi-Fi connection, Luminair communicates with other compatible hardware and software nodes on your network. A gorgeous user interface provides desktop-calibre features and performance, all on a mobile platform. Use Luminair as the ultimate remote focus tool, for advanced architectural lighting, or simply as the centerpiece of your intelligent lighting rig.

Multi-touch output controls
As a pocket-sized DMX controller, Luminair is in a class all by itself. Multi-touch fader controls allow you to manipulate DMX values with accurate precision. Control fixture color values in both CMY and RGB color modes with color changer tracks. XY grid controls allow you to pan and tilt moving heads with fine control. The touch-board channel editor provides quick channel setup for all of your DMX fixtures. Quick-Touch cues, each with an assignable fade time, allow you to store fixture information for easy touch-based triggering.

Input analyzing & recording
Luminair’s Art-Net input port allows data to be displayed in realtime, as a touch-scrollable overview of all channels in the input universe. Selecting a specific channel shows the current value, as well as the past 24 seconds of data in graph form. Luminair also offers the capabilty of recording snapshots from the Art-Net input port directly to Quick-Touch cues, a useful feature for backing up from a console or any other DMX source.

Over the airwaves
Wireless connectivity allows you to be unchained from the lighting desk or closest patch-bay. Simply connect a hardware Art-Net to DMX converter to your Wi-Fi router and lighting equipment. Luminair is compatible with any standard Wi-Fi router, and supports all existing security settings such as WPA, and WEP for keeping your network locked. Efficient use of your device’s processor, memory and network communications, help conserve battery power for long use.

File management
Both fixtures and entire projects can be saved and restored at any time, making Luminair an indispensable tool for configuring your intelligent lighting networks. A built-in file manager makes this a simple process. Restoring lighting settings for your next location, event, or mood is as easy as selecting from the project and fixture preset files saved on your device. File transfers to and from your device(s) is handled via Synthe FX LCompanIon app, which is compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and above.

Industry standards
Luminair was created with industry standards in mind, and is compatible with numerous existing hardware and software products. All DMX signals are computed natively on the iPhone or iPod touch, without relying on a master console’s proprietary protocol. This makes Luminair versatile for both initial installation, as well as switching between and/or upgrading your lighting equipment in the future. One recommended cost effective Art-Net to DMX converter is Enttec’s ODE, for which we now provide a 10% off coupon with every purchase of Luminair.*

Check out this video on using Luminair 1.5 – worth a look!

DMX Processor 8000

I saw these at LDI (and I apparently did not win one via the card drawing that was held, sigh), and there is a press release pimping the new v3.0 software, and the fact that they’re shipping.  The DMX Processor 8000 is the new big bad wolf of DMX processing.  Get an expander, and you can do up to 16 universes.

From the product page:

The DMX Processor 8000 adds extraordinary DMX processing capabilities to the Wholehog line.  With no compromise to Flying Pig Systems’ exacting standards, its longevity, quality and innovation are assured to set new standards.

The Wholehog DMX processor 8000 provides the output power for Wholehog systems. The Wholehog Operating System doesn’t limit you to a fixed number of DMX channels – just add as many DMX processor 8000s as needed (along with an Ethernet switch) to supply the specified number of DMX universes for the production or installation.

With an unprecedented amount of computing power, the DMX Processor 8000 manages 16 DMX universes with ease while expanding the power and reliability of the Wholehog control system as a whole. By providing both standard XLR and Art-Net output at a steady rate, the possibilities for lighting design are truly endless with the DMX Processor 8000.


  • Eight 5-pin XLR DMX 512 outputs
  • Expandable to 16 via USB Expander or Widgets
  • Sixteen universes of DMX via Art-Net output
  • Powerful distributed processing of cross-fades and effects
  • Local interface with LCD screen and buttons for configuration and testing
  • DMX status and test facilities
  • All functions are configurable remotely
  • Firmware remotely upgradeable over network


  • 2.0 GHz Intel Dual Core processor with 1 GByte RAM and 1 GByte Flash
  • Gigabit ethernet
  • Dual Ether-Con connectors (Hog-Net and Art-Net)
  • White LED backlit graphic LCD for graphical user interface
  • Comprehensive LED status feedback
  • Connectors: 8 5-pin XLR, 1 EtherCon for Hog-Net, 1 EtherCon for Art-Net, 2 USB-A
  • Auto-ranging mains input (90-250V AC)
  • Locking IEC connector
  • Precision machined Aluminium panel with wear-resistant anoprinted legends
  • 1U 19″ rack unit, 11″ deep
  • Kensington Security Slot
  • Compatible with Wholehog 3, Road Hog Full Boar, Hog iPC, Hog 3PC
  • Traxon’s iMagic Weave

    I saw this product at LDI this year.  Traxon’s about to get some attention on JimOnLight.  Rina, I emailed you, will you put me in touch with a product specialist?

    Check out iMagic Weave – accepts either DMX or DVI.  Cool stuff.

    DMX Controlled Iris and Projector Douser

    Behold:  The City Theatrical DMX Iris and DMX Projector Douser.

    DMX Iris

    City Theatrical in all of their greatness has released a DMX controlled iris for all of your irising needs.  It runs off of a 24VDC power supply, like your typical Forerunner II or Chroma Q PSU for scrollers, with a 4-pin cable, just like scroller cable.  Do you think that maybe the unit is meant to best utilize your existing power supplies and scroller cable?  Way to go, City Theatrical!  The DMX Iris is available for both Strand SL’s and ETC Sourcde Fours.

    It’s $775 right now, and if you have Source Four Zooms, don’t buy.  It won’t fit!

    DMX Projector Douser

    The City Theatrical Projector Douser is also $775, and is powerable via your 24VDC Chroma Q, Forerunner, etc scroller PSUs.  It’s basically a flapper on a servo motor.  I used one of these a few months ago on a production of Urinetown!  The Musical to douse a projector front-of-house.  Worked like a charm.

    The DMX Coffee Pot

    That’s right – it’s a DMX-controlled coffee pot – 12 cup coffee pot, to be exact!  For those of you not familiar with Doug Fleenor’s work, Doug Fleenor is – or should be known – as the Lord of DMX Device Design.  From converters to splitters, recorders for playback to overdrive mods for the Hog II.  He’s got it all, and you need to check it out.  Fleenor’s work has been around for a very long time, and it only gets better.

    Doug Fleenor Design – check out his work.  WHo knows, you might find he made something you’ve been looking for.  I mean, come on – a DMX controlled coffeepot?  Who DOESN’T need one of those?!

    Doug Fleenor Designs site