Recently one of our Brain V2 customers Emile Chauvin shared his DIY lighting console project with us. This is a really nice portable lighting solution,and he did a great job with the build quality. We caught up with Emile to get the details on how and why he decided to build his own controller.
What made you create your own controller?
I have been a user of Martin Light Jockey for years now, it’s a powerful and yet simple software.
The problem with Martin Light Jockey, compared to MA or Avolites PC solution, it never had a specific controller for it. You have to have a standard console to have some controls along side of your pc,but those consoles where not really made for this and aren’t very comfortable to use.
Since no one has made a controller dedicated to LJ, well, I just started my own.
Did you have any previous experience that helped along the way?
It’s my first try with DIY MIDI and I have to say that the Builder tools made it quite easy.
Why did you design your controller the way you did?
There aren’t may alternative layouts that I find very practical. If you look at any lighting console, things are always generally laid out the same, my controller has a similar design with a few twists.
I tried to keep the same bottom layout as the martin light jockey, for easy access to the controls I need.
I put it all in a 19″ rack format so I didn’t have to build a separate flight case
What made you choose Livid’s builder series for your project?
I had a lot of ideas how to build this, from an Arduino base system to a cheap dmx
light desk, hacking the electronics of it and wiring everything to it.
The points that made me choose Livid’s Brain v2 are:
• It’s really flexible. You can just plug so many things into it. I have total freedom on the number of buttons or faders I wanted for my project.
• It has great documentation and an excellent wiki. I didn’t need a driver and the testing software is great.
• Since most of the connections are on ribbon cables, I could also reuse the Brain in another project if it didn’t work has planned.
In the end, I really did good making that choice.
Were there any surprises along the way?
Yes … When I got my front plate, it fit perfectly ! I designed it all in CAD, from the screen to the faders, and it all fit perfectly. It’s always a nice feeling when first try turns out perfect.
What was the hardest part?
Finding all the parts at a reasonable price. The Alps faders I use are listed at 30e / 1pc almost everywhere…
Otherwise, it was quite an easy build!
What would you say to other people thinking about making their own
Go for it! It’s not that hard, and at the end, where ever you go you’ll impress everyone
Just my little tips : before you start anything, make a proper list of all you think you need and add some bottoms/faders/pad to it. You don’t want to run out of these!
How are you planning to use your controller?
It’s going to be a daily work tool: I do light show in clubs, concert ect… I am planning to use it quite often for gigs where a large DMX console is not available, since they are quite expensive to rent.
It will also follow me to bigger events, in case I need a backup.
Do you have any plans for future projects?
Of course I do! Next It’s a laser show controller I want to build.