Monome for DMX light display and control

  • Hey all,

    I needed to control a 20'x10' grid of common lightbulbs arranged in a grid of 4x12 for this goofy music festival out in the California desert. The monome seemed like a very obvious interface to use to control this. Basically, I patched together a very rough app which uses a 4x12 sub-grid on a grayscale 128 as a display for the DMX data being sent to the stage. I use that same area as a way to toggle lights on/off and edit frames within patterns.

    The rest of the buttons on the grid are used to trigger either “one shot” or looped patterns. There are a few columns which contain buttons to swap between four playback speeds, overall brightness and ease in/out of frames. Oh yea, also some single buttons for bump all channels on, stop active pattern, tap tempo and blackout.

    More than anything this needed to be something which could be used for a wide variety of acts performing at this festival with zero learning curve, as some groups brought LDs. Just choose a column for a section of a song, switch between them on downbeats, etc…

    Unfortunately didn’t have a chance to properly document the finished project at the festival. Sort of became the LD for the entire festival—lots of running—but something decently shot will likely pop up sometime. Here is a quick video of an early prototype with only a handful of patterns.

    Actually... here's one photo and an instagram video I found. You can see the half-circle in the back kinda obstructed by the stage, which was unfortunate, but, you get the idea. It was really bright. Oh yea, that's not fog in the photo—that's dust. Super fine dust in the form of a sandstorm. Included a photo of my performance machine after the weekend for good measure, ha.

    k, that's all! I guess if anyone has any questions about using the monome for DMX show control I'd be glad to try answering some of them.

    During DIIV:


  • crazy good stuff

  • rad!! How did you end up cleaning that? Vacuum?

  • that's dope. grate job, man.

  • @emergencyofstate that trackpad was cracked from the battery expanding over the past week or so. strategically waited to take it to the apple store after that weekend so they'd clean the guts while replacing the parts!

  • @jondashkyle ah, that's good thinking. I'm guessing you have the extended applecare protection or whatever it is called. :P

    I'm curious how you wrote the patch that interfaces with DMX. Is it a Max/MSP patch that sends midi data? Is the patch receiving midi clock from DMX? Did any acts actually sync to common tempo at the festival?

  • exactly! :)

    i've been developing a library of devices which can be used to easily interface between MIDI and DMX output, or Serial output which resembles DMX packets to custom LED fixtures. however these festival are usually largely improvised affairs—never quite sure what to expect until you show up.

    because of this it seemed best to create simply a large palette of patterns which could then be used to improvise along with whatever music happened to be playing. sort of similar to what you see in jank clubs w/ the local LD button mashing, but with this being so simple it appeared pretty cohesive regardless of what you ended up doing.

  • Old thread, but an interesting subject: can you give any more specifics or suggestions for working out a Max to DMX communication schemes? Any advice based on your experience will be highly appreciated!

  • Many moons ago I built an arduino - 3 pin DMX interface and controlled it with Max. All you have to do after you have some basic code set up is to pass serial packets from Max to Arduino and walla!

    I used this code library: It works quite well on individual lights (or groups of lights acting as slaves), but I had to write a timing section to get it working with a full 5-Pin DMX rack.

    The schematic is on there as well for the shield. Quite simple, it's basically just some resistors, a line driver, and a XLR connector.

  • I'd be really interested in this app if you could upload it somewhere with a description on how you utilized it's DMX output.