Synchronized Audio, Video, and Show Control for Dark Rides

A typical dark experience centers across the experience system itself.  Rides are usually programmed to comply with a selected path along a monitor and someday also have a built-in movement base that strikes around to thrill visitors. As fascinating as that could be, a shifting car shouldn’t be enough to make a enjoyable darkish experience.  For this you need different parts like audio, video, lighting, and animated figures that coordinate with the experience system to offer an immersive expertise.

The most important challenges for building a majority of these points of interest is making certain the synchronization of the varied kinds of gear with the journey system.  That is troublesome as a result of journey techniques aren’t actually designed with audio-visual-sensory expertise in mind.  They are designed with security in thoughts as a result of it’s usually frowned upon to maim and/or kill visitors.

This is the place it is good to have a system that is uniquely designed to coordinate with the journey system as well as all the other points of the attraction in a tightly synchronized method.  This includes communication with the PLC units that function the journey as well as a exact synchronization technique that works over wireless connections.

This guide explains easy methods to use the V16X and RidePlayer to coordinate synchronization between the journey automobiles and the offboard methods.  It also ties in our AV Binloop Uncompressed to offer video playback for the projections generally utilized in trendy dark rides.

As you’ll be able to see from the appliance diagram, we’re going to implement a dark journey that comes with a experience system, video projection, animation management, and onboard audio.  By monitoring knowledge inside the onboard journey management PLC, each RidePlayer is ready to sense its location (scene) along the journey path.  When the car reaches particular places inside the experience, RidePlayer coordinates synchronous playback of onboard audio with the offboard video and animation control for that location.

System Elements

Let’s take a look at the gear we’ve got designed into this technique and its position in implementing the dark journey.

RidePlayer – Onboard Synchronous Audio Player and Show Controller

This product is designed to endure the high-vibration environments of experience automobiles and to offer many options to scale back the need for auxiliary gear aboard the car. A number of the key options embrace 16 channels of audio output in addition to onboard show management.  Different helpful features like DSP, amplification, network audio, power monitoring, and superior synchronization are all rolled into a nice compact, rugged, and power efficient package deal to make this product the last word onboard audio and management answer.

For this darkish journey system, we are using a RidePlayer unit for every experience car to manage onboard playback and control.  Each RidePlayer will keep very exact clock synchronization with the offboard V16X using NTP, and will even communicate with an onboard PLC to set off the AV experience based mostly upon car location.

RideAmp – Excessive-powered Onboard Amplifier

The built-in amplifiers of RidePlayer are highly effective sufficient to drive the primary audio system on most automobiles, however louder or bigger speakers (i.e. subwoofers, transducers) benefit from high-power amplification.

RideAmp delivers up to four channels of amplification, every able to as much as 350W of output energy.   This product can also be designed to endure high-vibration environments and function from a DC power source, making it superb for onboard audio purposes.  To ensure a nice clean audio sign, RideAmp leverages the digital Dante/AES67 network audio interface of RidePlayer.  For car configurations that require multiple amplifiers, this connection may be simply daisy-chained without the need for further network change hardware.

PLC – Experience Control System

It’s very typical for darkish experience automobiles to have an onboard PLC that’s accountable for controlling all car movement.  This technique is usually exactly conscious of the car’s working status and position alongside the experience path.  RidePlayer can simply access this info for the purpose of triggering the show experience based mostly on the car’s location.  For the sake of this example, we’ll simulate using an Allen Bradley ControlLogix PLC since they are so commonly used for this kind of software.

V16X – Synchronous Show Controller

This system primarily manages the offboard techniques, but in addition coordinates with the RidePlayer models onboard the automobiles to ensure that both techniques synchronize completely with each other.  On this example, the V16X will distribute a master clock to all RidePlayers utilizing NTP to make sure everyone is triggering based mostly on the identical reference.

A/V Binloop Uncompressed – Multi-channel Synchronous Video Participant

The purpose of this unit is to offer multiple channels of uncompressed playback for the varied scenes of this darkish journey. Content is saved on solid-state media drives as uncompressed Targa sequences.  This product physically connects to each projector using a 3G-SDI connection to offer video with out the need for extension units.  This gadget additionally connects to the offboard RidePlayer by way of Ethernet in order that video clips could be performed at the applicable time and synchronized with different units in the system.  Genlock is offered from the offboard RidePlayer as nicely to make sure completely synchronized timing between the show control timeline and video playback

Animation Controller

It’s very common to have many animated figures in darkish journey points of interest.  For this example, we’ll carry out this management using a Weigl ProCommander that is triggered from the V16X.

Network Infrastructure

Though it isn’t shown in the system diagram, it is implied that a system like this is able to include network switches, routers, and wi-fi bridges as needed.  A reliable wireless connection between the offboard system and the journey automobiles is important to constant operation.  WIFI might not all the time be the perfect device for this, but there are several wi-fi networking technologies which might be well-suited for dependable low-latency networking.

Correctly implementing the show control interface between the onboard RidePlayer and offboard V16X techniques is important to synchronous AV for this software.  Both of those units are configured and programmed utilizing our WinScript Reside software.

Show Control Programming

We have to create two show management scripts to correctly implement this dark journey software; one for the offboard V16X and another for the onboard RidePlayer.  The journey car script shall be accountable for monitoring the journey control PLC tags for triggers and coordinating synchronous playback for each the onboard and offboard methods.

These two scripts have been included with this software word and are appropriately named:

Dark Experience – Offboard.WS4
Dark Journey – RV.WS4

Though Alcorn McBride goes via nice effort to make this programming considerably easier than many different management methods, there is a studying curve to using WinScript Stay, V16X, and RidePlayer.  When you’re trying to study more about using these instruments, Alcorn McBride gives free coaching within the form of interactive in-person courses and on-line programs.

Units – Offboard

An ideal first step when writing any script is to configure the listing of units that will probably be related to the V16X.  This includes searching the great library of units in the WinScript library by producer and model number, selecting the gadget, and then configuring the bodily connection to the gadget (i.e. Ethernet, Serial, and so on.).

The V16X should join with the Binloop, the animation controller, in addition to each of the RidePlayers in the experience car fleet:

Units – Journey Car

We’ll configure the RidePlayer script in order that it may be simply deployed to a number of automobiles.  This configuration technique uses a single gadget identify (i.e. “RV”) that may be referenced all through the script.  When it comes time to deploy this script to multiple automobiles, individual RidePlayers can be uniquely recognized utilizing this identify mixed with an array index (i.e. “RV[1]”, “RV[2]”, and so forth.).  These identifiers make it clear which car methods are working and whether they are up to date with the newest script and media content.  From the connection display, you can even select to deploy updated content material to individual models separately, or to a number of automobiles simultaneously.  This strategy avoids an incredible amount of pointless duplication by managing giant fleets of automobiles with a single script.

Next, we must configure the V16X in order that the RidePlayers can talk with it:

Finally, we have to configure the PLC connections.  What’s unique about that is that every journey car is more likely to have a PLC with its personal unique IP handle.  It’s our job to determine which PLC is associated with every specific RidePlayer unit:

PLC Tag Configuration

The script must be configured to scan the PLC tags in order that we will set off based mostly on journey car position.  It’s widespread for some of these triggers to be associated with particular person bits within INT or DINT tags.  To make these set off bits simpler to keep monitor of, we will make the most of the Alias function to assign them with descriptive names:

Sequences – Journey Car

Sequences are the guts of the show management script and include all the practical events which might be programmed.  Let’s take a moment to walk by way of the important thing sequences contained within the Experience Car script.

Here’s what the RV sequences seem like:

First, there’s a sequence referred to as Initialize which does nothing more that fill the front-panel show of the RidePlayer with some textual content.  This is widespread apply because the RidePlayer show is a useful solution to show status info to operators and upkeep employees.

Subsequent, we’ve the RVC_Heartbeat sequence which simply toggles a bit within a PLC tag.  On the PLC aspect, this bit is usually associated with a ‘Watchdog’ timer to verify the present system (RidePlayer) is working normally.

Then we now have our RVC_Stop and RVC_StartScene sequences.  These sequences are fairly simple.  They are triggered by the PLC tag bits we configured earlier.  When a scene is entered the tag bit modifications to a worth of 1, and the suitable sequence is triggered in consequence.

The triggered sequence then schedules two timelines to start out synchronously; one within the offboard V16X and one within RidePlayer.

Discover that the checkboxes within the ‘S’ (Sync) column are enabled.  Which means these two sequences can be scheduled to trigger concurrently.  When this synchronous technique is used, there’s a constant ‘Event Sync Delay’ that occurs before these occasions run.  For this example, that delay is configured to 16 frames (approximately half a second).

The Timeline_Scene sequences are timelines that trigger audio playback onboard.  Different timed events like onboard video, effects, captions, and so forth. can be inserted into this timeline as needed.

The final collection of Status sequences that replace the front-panel show with standing info, and additionally replace necessary status variables inside the V16X.  These sequences are triggered every time a variable value modifications.  For instance, when the journey car enters scene 1 the display might be updated with the textual content “Status: Scene 1” and a variable can also be set inside the V16X to keep it up-to-date with the RidePlayer’s current status.

Sequences – Offboard

The sequences of the offboard V16X are even more easy in this example.  The only major practical sequences are the Timeline sequences which might be devoted to every scene.  These sequences are triggered instantly from the journey car RidePlayer when scene triggers are encountered.

These timeline sequences set off video playback and animation control on the offboard system.

Clock Configuration – Offboard

Final, however not least, we have to configure both the V16X and RidePlayers to synchronize their clocks with each other.  For this software, the V16X features as the clock grasp and distributes this clock as an NTP Server.

Clock Configuration – Journey Car

The RidePlayers operate as NTP shoppers so they can lock to the V16X NTP Server.

With this configuration and proper networking infrastructure, these products can synchronize clocks with sub-millisecond precision to ensure the scene timelines are triggered with unimaginable accuracy.

This software word can function a place to begin in implementing your personal darkish experience software.  Take into account that it’s straightforward to scale the system to incorporate as many journey automobiles and scenes as you need.  You can too do WAY extra with the offboard system than simply set off video playback and animation control.  It’s widespread to regulate and monitor things like queue line shows, lighting, projection, DSPs, and so on.

Now it’s time for you to implement your personal undertaking with the V16X, RidePlayer and the AV Binloop Uncompressed.  Please don’t overlook that we are here that will help you so be happy to contact us with questions.