Debconf Video Team Sprint – Day 3

Projects ,ToeTally
January 31, 2019

Today has mostly been spent in conversation.

Jonathan has started to scratch an itch that I share, we need a better tally light solution.  When we were using DV switch we had a simple tally light system using (iirc DTR on a) serial port to turn on or off an LED.  This was fine because there was always a PC available at each camera running DVCapture.

Since the move to Voctomix, each camera no longer has it’s own dedicated PC.  Instead we have long 50R co-ax cables (remember the days of cheaper-net 10 base-2?) going directly to a PC running VoctoCore….  Yes we still use a serial port to drive a tally light (all be it these days from a USB to serial converter) but we could do so much better.

Whilst an LED is good to indicate to a presenter which camera(s) are currently active, but wouldn’t it be good to be able to interact with the camera operator some way as well?

Sure we can dedicate an LED or two for this task, but given how cheep SPI displays are these days why not go for a small display instead?

Now the director can send camera operators canned messages (or free text if they have the time to type one).  The camera operator can easily see what the director would like them to do – and they can acknowledge the instruction.  of cause they can also prod the director as well  – two way comms and all :-)

Our tally light / display can be mounted to our cameras using either a flash shoe (shame we can’t grab power this way) or from a tripod screw, both are available on our cameras.

We could choose to hang all this behind a really cheep SBC (think Arduino) but given the cost and that we only need a few something like a RaspberryPi is perhaps a better option.  We could even add USB headsets and mumble if we later want to have full talk-back…

We spent some time fleshing out the requirements for and the road map of the ToeTally project.

I have ordered myself a little SPI display and a case from ebay (Jonathan already has something similar – there are many such things on Ebay and other sites).  This should be plenty to get the project up and running.

/me has found another rabbit hole to spend my time – I may even make some software commits!