What is a Controller device?
a Controller device is a hardware tool that allows for:
- External control of Aximmetry's interface
- Control production gear (for e.g. light fixtures) from Aximmetry
Controllers use specific communication protocols to be able to communicate with a computer: MIDI, OSC, GPIO, and DMX (ArtNet) are the four most common ones in the video, audio, and lighting communities. They can be used for sending control information between instruments, computers, consoles, and lighting equipment.
What is a Communication Protocol?
It is a protocol that serves as a translator between a hardware device or software application from two ends. In Aximmetry every control element (a button, a slider, a value placeholder) can receive and send control information over these protocols.
Why use a Controller?
Controllers make using Aximmetry much easier and more intuitive. By mapping the functions that you will need during production to a few physical buttons on a control board or virtual buttons on a touch screen, the operators will be able to go through production with ease.
For example, using a MIDI Controller, you can switch between cameras just by pressing a button. You can also change the virtual camera's panning speed by turning a knob. Alternatively, using OSC, you can create a virtual interface on your phone or tablet allowing you to control all aspects of Aximmetry remotely. The options are limitless.
Which controllers are supported by Aximmetry?
Aximmetry supports any Controller device that uses the after-mentioned communication protocols.
MIDI is a technical standard for communication that was created for the purpose of controlling Musical devices such as electronic instruments. However, it can also be used to communicate between computers and other devices that support it.
MIDI Device: Any device that can send or receive MIDI messages is referred to as a MIDI device. Input ports, output ports, or both are present on MIDI devices. A MIDI device may be virtual or physical.
You can learn how to use MIDI with Aximmetry here.
OSC (Open Sound Control) was originally intended for sharing musical data between electronic musical instruments, computers, and other multimedia devices. OSC messages are usually transported within local computer networks, but can also be transmitted across the internet. Nowadays, it is mostly used on a software level as other protocols such as MIDI are more commonly used with physical gear. Softwares such as TouchOSC allow us to create a virtual interface on your phone or tablet, making us able to control all aspects of Aximmetry remotely.
Please note that Aximmetry can only receive and send OSC messages via UDP.
You can learn how to use OSC with Aximmetry here.
GPIO (General Purpose Input/Output) describes electronic circuit boards that can be used as input or output. The electronic circuit board consists of multiple pins that can be used to send or receive signals. A GPIO pin is a generic pin whose behavior can be programmed through software, in this case, programmed through Aximmetry. All the pins on the GPIO board can be assigned individually as input or output pins allowing Aximmetry to be controlled externally or to control external hardware.
You can learn how to assign GPIO signals to Aximmetry here.
DMX / ArtNet
DMX or more particularly DMX512 is the standard protocol for digital communication used to operate stage lighting. A DMX console delivers DMX messages to fixtures through XLR cables.
The number 512 after the DMX stands for the number of control channels available on a single cable which is often referred to as a universe. One DMX channel can be used to control a single parameter, such as the brightness or hue of a light fixture.
The DMX protocol will do just fine in case of a small production where not a lot of fixtures are used, meaning with a DMX console that has 4 XLR outputs for example (4*512= 2048 channels or 4 universes are available) you can have 4 fixtures with each one using 512 channels. There are some fixtures that support daisy-chaining, which allows you to connect more fixtures without the need for a larger DMX Console (Keep in mind that you are limited to the 2048 channels that the DMX console supports). For a larger-scale production, Art-Net is a better choice.
Art-Net is a protocol to transmit a DMX512 signal. However, instead of using an XLR cable, an ethernet cable is used. This allows us to transmit multiple universes over one ethernet cable allowing for a much larger operation scale. So, from your DMX console, you will have a single ethernet cable out that connects to an ethernet switch with an arbitrary number of ethernet ports. This way you can connect an arbitrary number of fixtures using ethernet cables. Better yet, if the fixtures can output a DMX512 signal or have an output ethernet port you can connect even more fixtures. Learn more about how Art-Net works here.
You can learn how to control light equipment using DMX/Art-Net here.
Being communication protocols, we can use DMX and Art-Net control boards as controller devices for Aximmetry. You can do so by following this guide.
We refer to devices that are targeted at personal consumers as Game devices. These can have programmable buttons, screens, knobs, and more. They use a USB cable to connect to your machine. You can learn how to use them to control Aximmetry by pressing on the respective device's name:
Aximmetry can initiate its own HTTP server, allowing us to send and receive HTTP commands to and from other servers. This allows for:
- Controlling Aximmetry externally from a server (available from Professional Edition).
- Retrieving data from a server (available from Broadcast Edition).
You can learn how to externally control Aximmetry via HTTP here.