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Author Topic: Anyone want dedicated software for communicating from FOH in theatre?  (Read 5898 times)

kristianjohnsen

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Re: Anyone want dedicated software for communicating from FOH in theatre?
« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2015, 02:57:43 am »

I do a lot of musical theatre with lots of radio mics and a radio mic assistant back stage, but communications between FOH and radio mic land (to handle broken mics, mics succumbing to sweat, mics in need of turning on or moving to a different position of the actor etc.) has traditionally been by walkie talkies, which is not optimal for the following reasons:

1. Difficult to hear over the music
2. Too noisy communication during quiet passages
3. Stressful to have to handle that communication while busy with running the show

I've been dreaming of having made a dedicated software solution to handle this, and I just had a meeting with a couple of developers about this. Now we're interested in knowing if anyone else out there would be interested in buying something like this - and if anyone knows something like this that already exists.

The solution we're looking into right now, would likely be a small HTML-server based thing, that could be accessed from any browser so it could be platform independent - possibly having the server run on a Raspberry Pi and then using whatever laptop, tablets or phones you want to access it on a local network - wired or cabled as you wish.

It would have a "technician mode" interface to be used at FOH and by the radio mic assistant and probably an "info screen mode" that you could run on tablets mounted all over the venue - back stage and in dressing rooms.

It would work like this:

When the FOH or radio mic assistant spots a problem with a radio mic, it's as simple as typing the number of the radio mic (rarely, if ever, more than 2 digits) and then hitting one of 8-10 dedicated buttons with assignable issues. These buttons would be configured with labels such as: "Sweat", "Bad Cable", "No Output", "Turned Off", "Move Mic Closer to Mouth", "Move Mic Further from Mouth" etc.

With just these 2-3 keystrokes a new "issue" will be opened, and will appear flashing on a list of currently open issues on all terminals connected to the server, and the radio mic assistant can press "Acknowledged" and the flashing will stop, then go on to solve the issue.

In the meantime, as soon as a new issue is opened, all terminals connected in "Info Screen"-mode, will go from a complete blank, black page to having the issue displayed in large text while flashing the background of the screen to attract attention. This will alert all actors hanging out backstage or anywhere else, that there's an issue, and the actor involved can be quickly located and instructed to go to the radio mic-area, turn on his/her radio mic or whatever action may be appropriate.

When the radio mic assistant has solved the problem he/she will close the issue, which will be reflected on the terminal at FOH to let the FOH engineer know the problem has been fixed and the info screens around the back stage and dressing room areas will go blank once again.

A small free-text chat interface on the terminals in technician mode will accomodate all eventualities and allow communication of complex unforeseeable issues. The radio mic assistant could f.inst. use this to write: "We're swapping radio mic 5 for radio mic 31" etc.

The question is: what do you theatre guys think of this? Would anyone be interested in paying for this software?

This sound like a great idea to me - not just for theatre.  We often resort to texting to convey quiet messaging during all kinds of gigs.

Some kind of hardwired solution with better alerting could be useful.

If you could make the current input names of the mixer be displayed on stage during patchup, I'd be buying you dinner :D
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Andrew Broughton

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Re: Anyone want dedicated software for communicating from FOH in theatre?
« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2015, 07:01:15 pm »

Here's a shot of the A2 RF/Monitor position at Beautiful, where I'm currently mid-second act:


Pic didn't post.
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Tim Padrick

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Re: Anyone want dedicated software for communicating from FOH in theatre?
« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2015, 10:44:04 pm »

I've looked into ShoFlo before, but have never used it or seen it used.

Bad link

It seems fairly expansive as far as capabilities go, but it would fill a nice niche in our industry if it works well.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Re: Anyone want dedicated software for communicating from FOH in theatre?
┬ź Reply #22 on: December 12, 2015, 10:44:04 pm ┬╗


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