Cinelex Project Spectre

EMP Designs Partner Cinelex to Develop their Project Spectre DMX Lighting Control Range

Cinelex have just launched their new website featuring their Project Spectre range of universal wireless DMX control products. EMP Designs is delighted to have worked closely with Cinelex on the design, development and realisation of these leading systems.

The range features:

  • Spectre TRX – univeral wireless DMX controller
  • Spectre desk TX8 – portable wireless DMX control desk
  • Skynode – micro plug and play DMX control

For more information on the Project Spectre range please visit the Cinelex website, or contact Cinelex.

For more information on design and development of electronic products, parts or systems please contact us at EMP Designs.

SkyNode

Sky Node – the micro radio DMX receiver

As technology improves, the market continues to call for smaller and smaller products. In response to this, EMP Designs have developed the SkyNode, a micro radio DMX receiver that we believe to be the smallest available. It docks to the back of any light unit with great ease and can be left in, becoming an integral part.
The SkyNode was originally designed for a client to use with the excellent soft lighting Arri Sky Panel, but it fits into any DMX light to instantly enable radio control. It features the CRMX technology of LumenRadio, giving the best interference free connections.

Radio dongle

All you need is Radio Dongle!

First developed a couple of years ago, our radio dongle remains popular. With LumenRadio technology inside, this small neat device can be plugged into any light to enable it to be remotely controlled by DMX radio.

The radio dongle works well with our other products and lighting systems.

TrueLED is our sister company, who offer a range of flexible, state-of-the-art lighting controllers for the film, TV, event and entertainment industries. All standard TrueLED products can be manipulated or developed to any requirement by EMP Designs.

cinelex-universal-wireless-dmx-controller

EMP Designs work with Cinelex on their innovative universal wireless DMX controller

EMP Designs has been working with Cinelex, a broadcast, video and film lighting specialist supplier, on the launch of their Universal Wireless DMX controller. Launched as Project Spectre, the product was a response to the demand for a standard, portable, high functioning and sturdy wireless DMX system that can work with any DMX controllable light.

Cinelex took the concept to EMP Designs, who developed the embedded radio solution using technology from Lumen Radio. It fits neatly on the standard V-Mount between the light and the battery, which when stacked together give radio control to any light. EMP Designs provided Cinelex with a one-stop solution, turning their concept into a reality. Having developed the electronics system, EMP then designed and built a high quality product with custom extrusion, before fully testing the electronics ready for launch.

Definition Magazine recently ran an article on the product, noting “It could be the world’s first wireless DMX system to be powered via the same battery powering as the light, and “it’s already starting to set the standard in universal wireless DMX control”. Project Spectre is an innovation and a great addition to the professional broadcast and film lighting market allowing for existing lights to be upgraded to radio control in a clean and sleek format.

Artnet to DMX lighting Gateway

New Compact Artnet to Radio DMX Gateway

EMP Designs has created an Artnet to Radio DMX Gateway – a device that allows users to control radio DMX lighting via any controller that has an Ethernet port and broadcasts Artnet, typically an iPad, a laptop or a lighting desk, etc.

Benefits

Although systems have been created that control lighting directly from Artnet sources like the iPad, these use wifi. A film set is usually a heavy radio environment with busy airwaves. Particularly for real-time applications, wifi can be unreliable and suffer from interference. A radio DMX protocol is more dynamic, and using the excellent Lumen Radio technology can jump around and find gaps to give reliable real-time responsiveness. As such, EMP Designs have created this smart gateway device to connect the controller to ethernet and provide radio DMX.

As always, working in the film and TV industry since inception, the product was designed in response to customer demand and frustrations with existing options. It provides a compact, highly reliable solution and is already in use in productions.

Click here to find out more about products, and product design and development at EMP Designs or contact us.

Radio Desk Transmitter

Portable Radio Desk Transmitter

Our standard radio desk transmitter provides easy and portable control of 8 channels, with a manual interface, Lumen Radio technology inside, and taking just 2 AA batteries to run for 10 hours.

Each slider provides a channel of easy access and real-time control – these have been used for lighting, motor control, movement and high level control for puppeteers and animatronics.

The radio desk works well with our LV4.

Features

Flash buttons 1-8 – turn from 0% to 100% instantly

Sliders 1 – 8 – to vary brightness, movement direction or axis control

Sync button – clears memory and connects to new source

Down / Up buttons – to change DMX address

Digital DMX address display

For more information, please contact us.

LV4-4Channel-handheld-LED Controller

LV4 – Market Leading, 4 Channel, Handheld, LED Controller

The LV4 is our market leading, 4 channel, handheld LED controller with embedded radio.

This product was developed following a client request to add W to the existing LV3’s RGB, giving RGBW control. It has since become sought after in the industry and we regularly develop additional custom modes for our clients’ specific requirements.

With the capability for manual or remote setting our units are small, flat and discreet – easily hiding in costumes, or settings. Controlling LED strip at high frequency,  they’ve been used for the likes of adding atmosphere to scenes and lighting up superhero and other costumes.

FEATURES

Options and adjustments to the LED controller are screwdriver applied to ensure a flat, ‘invisible’ product.

Modes 0-9 – 2 primary modes: manual or radio, along with a selection of other variations as required, e.g. bi-colour mode brightness and CCT modes.

  • Manual – with adjustable brightness for each of the 4 RGBW channels when illuminating, tuning colour and brightness as a static controller is required.
  • Radio control – with one click, switch to the in-built Lumen Radio, to take remote control of features from difficult to reach or moving locations.
  • 8 further modes available – custom modes EMP Designs has created for clients include 16-bit mode for a finer resolution, 8-bit control but with a specified set percentage resolution, and RGB plus global to dim whole colour up and down.

RDMX port – with light to show what the radio controller is doing/if radio is in use.

Sync button – clears memory and connects to radio desks.

Analogs – 0 to 100%.

100s, 10s, 1s dials – to set the radio address for the DMX with 512 channels available.

BO – option to black out / turn all outputs of.

For more information on this LED controller or any other products or services, please contact us.

wavell-logo

EMP develop custom electronics GCSE circuit boards to aid student experience at Wavell School

EMP has been working with local specialist technology college, The Wavell School, and teacher Tom Nobron, supporting students on their final projects for Electronics GCSE. Dan Stanton went along to help ensure the 32 student projects were up and running for their deadline. Following discussions with the teacher, EMP designed and built circuit boards to improve the learning experience and project success.

The GCSE projects involved creating a scoring system by building circuit boards that showed a number via a 7 segment LED display (as on a digital clock). The number was required to increase by one at the press of a button.

digitds

To do this, students were required to demonstrate their understanding of the electronics processes that make this happen, solder components onto the circuit board and simulate the circuit in software.

As with most technology, circuit boards are getting smaller, which is great for the general advance of products, but not so great when you are learning soldering and electronics for the first time. Dan encountered many frustrated students, and spent an intense morning trying to help the students deliver functioning systems.

After discussions with Mr Nobron, back at EMP Dan designed a larger circuit board, with enlarged solder pads to help simplify the soldering. The idea was to enable students to learn and use the necessary techniques in exactly the same way, but with equipment that allowed them to produce a high quality functional product more easily. EMP then built and supplied the school with the new circuit boards.

The new boards were so successful that the next time Dan went in to support the final projects, he spent 4 hours making tea! EMP has continued to build and supply boards to the school. Wavell students have continued to succeed. Here’s to the next generation of engineers!

RDM DMX Buffer

RDM Fully Isolated DMX Buffer (3:4 and 3:10)

Remote management and distribution of film, TV and theatre lighting just got easier!

Responding to the needs and requests of lighting companies and directors in film and TV, EMP has created a DMX buffer with built-in ‘Lumen Radio’ and Remote Device Management (RDM) capability to improve network control and flexibility of lighting.

Even when we are simply delivering existing solutions, we are always looking to ensure we make the most of the latest technology and deliver the best capability availability. The units are very economical for the given functionality.

Technical Detail
Removing the need for a separate radio unit, there is now a 3rd choice of remote connection in addition to the standard 2 inputs. To aid diagnostic and initial set up, the system allows 2-way RDM communication – the unit communicates with the lighting fixture, and the fixture communicates back to the system controller.
For ease of use, each output has a switch allowing users to choose from each of the 3 inputs, universe A and B, and Lumen Radio. There is also a small LED light by each output that lights up to indicate when data is coming through, with the colour of the light identifying which source. This allows easy reading of the connections in a dark setting and also aids quick recognition of a selection fault.

To make the system more robust, each input/output is both galvanically isolated and opto-isolated, with no electrical pathway between it and the control electronics.

This system is also available with 4 outputs – version 3:4. At EMP, we are now developing RDM software and hardware for all controllers.

led-lighting-challenges-in-film-and-tv

Lighting the Way For Flicker Free Filming

LED Lighting Challenges in Film and TV, Dan Stanton, Director at EMP Designs

Flicker – a familiar issue for film & TV. As LED lighting & camera technology boom, what is the root of the flicker problem and how can it be resolved?

LED lighting has been glowing increasingly into our everyday lives for years. The benefits of energy efficiency, longevity and instant light have reached a full range of products and industries. But one sector where the use of LEDs has recently burgeoned, is that of TV and film.

Whilst offering many advantages such as flexibility, portability and low temperatures, the use of LEDs in filming is not without its problems. In a film environment, lighting is crucial and needs to be controlled and managed to precise yet highly diverse requirements.

The flicker issue is one well-known to the film industry, even before the rise of LEDs. As camera technology advances, higher speed shooting has made flicker issues ever more prevalent.

The control systems used for LED lighting are critical as they can have a significant impact on the quality of the filming. If the system is of low quality or nor tailored to the precise scope, size and shape of a particular light, then many visual issues can occur. With such a range of lighting available, the demands on generic controllers are complex.

The most economical way to control LEDs, and particularly effective at dimming them, is via a method known as Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). It involves LED lights being turned on and off very quickly. Basically, it uses a square type electrical wave whereby the more time the light is on within a given period, the brighter it will be, the less time it’s on, the dimmer. This topology is widely used in a number of controllers in the industry.

This is where the frequency that LEDs are driven at (and turned on and off at) becomes crucial. The frequency needs to be high enough that the light appears constant and the ‘on and off’ switching is not visible. This in itself is manageable, but of course cameras themselves shoot a number of still frames per second, whether via a mechanical shutter or digital CMOS scan with a software shutter. This brings another range of frequencies to the equation and it can be highly problematic synchronising the frequencies of the camera shots with those of the LED lighting. If not synchronised then a distortion occurs that shows in the film as a flicker or a scrolling effect.

Some companies have attempted to combat the distortions by increasing the frequency of the LED control higher and higher. But there are limits and as the speed increases the LED and control efficiencies diminish causing many arrays such as LED tape to start to underperform.

There are also constant current solutions which with a consistent linear current can work incredibly well, but only if the controller is built with knowledge of the full specifications of the light it will be connected to and this is rarely the case. This is combined with the fact that constant current solutions are larger and have more components in an industry that is highly sensitive to space economics and constantly demanding compact, discreet control systems.

As cameras continually upgrade to higher scan rates, the PWM principle will simply no longer be adequate. We are asking more and more of the technology and no existing system currently deals with the all issues. As such EMP is researching and applying new technologies to LED control to develop flexible solutions that resolve frequency and distortion issues, whilst maintaining full high resolution brightness control and dynamic, instant, response. It’s an exciting area to be working in, and we are looking forward a flicker free future.