Hands-Free Magic Drawing Board Controller
Programming your own “magictrax” type routines is exciting but technical. You will need to have patience and allow yourself plenty of time to learn the process.
The easiest way to begin seeing your board controlled by the programming is to play one of our Axtell “MagicTrax”. We have provided you with 4 free tracks and will be producing more for purchase.
The Transmitter Controller looks like your Remote Control Board Eraser but has some high-tech differences.
Besides the advanced circuitry, there is a jack on the end for a 1/8” mono audio cable, and a switch next to it (for playback and programming or recording). The way to remember directions of the switch is “Play = Away”, “Record = Toward”. This refers to away from or toward the jack.
The mp3 source switch is inside the eraser and can be set to playback the mp3 magictrax from either an iPod or from other sources such as a PC or non-iPod Mp3 players such as the Creative Zen. (Switch toward the Jack for an iPOD).
You don’t want to have to handle your iPod or click keys on your laptop during a performance. Most all Mp3 Players have remote controls. Make sure to use a RF (Radio Frequency) controller not an IR (infrared). IR requires direct line of sight to the transmitter. RF can be operated from inside a pocket or behind your back without line of sight.
The iPod has the most devices including the iJET which we have tested. You plug a little receiver into the iPod and then use a fob to control the iPod.
If you are using a laptop computer a good remote control that will work with Powerpoint or Open Office Impress is the Power Presenter. We sell this with our Netbook system and is a great device.
In this example we will be playing from the PC netbook that we sell at Axtell Expressions already set up with software needed. Since it’s not an iPOD the mp3 source switch (inside the eraser) will be AWAY from the Jack.
NOTE – A “MagicTrax” is a stereo audio file with the audio on the Right Channel Only (Voice, music, sound effects) and the Data on the Left Channel (motion programming) the mp3 combines the audio with the data in perfect sync.
Insert the STEREO to MONO / MONO splitter into the Audio OUT jack of the PC / Mp3 Player. Put 1/8” Mono Cables into both jacks on the splitter. The Right channel will go to your PA System so your audience can hear the routine, and the Left channel cable will plug into the jack on the Hands-Free Controller. You are now set up to playback a MagicTrax routine. Turn on the Controller Power, and when the data is received from the MagicTrax it will transmit to the Drawing board wirelessly.
Open an Axtell MagicTrax in any audio or media player software such as Windows MEDIA PLAYER. With both the Board and the Controller turned on and the controller connected to the Mp3 Source properly, the board will respond with motion synced to the routine.
NOTE – you will need to learn what proper volume settings are required for your specific player. Too little or too much volume from the MagicTrax will affect the playback of the motion data and cause the board to jitter or act erratically. Finding and remembering the settings of your preferred player is a very important responsibility.
You will need to record your programming on a computer. Audacity is our recommended audio editing
software and is available free on line at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
STEP 1: Record and edit your audio. This can include the voice of the character, music and sound effects. You will need to have expertise in this area or hire someone who does. The more professional it sounds the better. We offer Studio Services at Axtell Expressions. Contact us us at gjackson@axtell .com for more information.
STEP 2: Make the Audio File MONO and balance or pan it to the RIGHT Channel.
STEP 3: Connect a 1/8” mono audio cable to the Microphone Jack on the PC and the other end into the Controller. The Controller Switch near the jack should be set toward the Jack. (Note – turn off the controller when moving the switch) Depending on the Audio Software and the Computer you are using, you may notice a loud buzzing noise. That is the sound of the data. Obviously you need to quiet this so you can hear the audio during programming. We have 2 solutions:
2. The other option is to plug the STEREO to MONO / MONO Splitter into the audio out jack on the computer and connect a 1/8” mono audio cable to the RIGHT AUDIO mono jack in the splitter….a PA system to hear the audio.
STEP 3: Click on the RECORD Button on the Audacity Toolbar to begin recording your data. (NOTE – allow a little blank room at the beginning of your audio so you have time to pick up the controller. You can trim off this front end later to clean it up).
Notice the data waveform is a large block, very different from the audio waveform. Keep the Data record volume level at about 75% as shown.
During recording / programming, you are going to move the controls on the eraser / transmitter just like you would normally do in a Remote Control LIVE presentation. The movements will be recorded in the audio software. Click the STOP button in the software to finish recording.
STEP 4: Edit the beginning and ending of the tracks so they are exactly the same length.
STEP 5: Pan the balance of the Data Track to the LEFT
STEP 6: Export the audio track as an Mp3 file to a place on your system where you will be able to find it. (Note – before you can export Mp3 files from Audacity you will need to download and install the free LAME encoder available on their website).
You should now be able to playback the track from any Mp3 Player following the instructions above.
You can use POWERPOINT, or OPEN OFFICE IMPRESS (Free) as your mp3 player giving you the added benefit of a large on stage display of your track names. If you have many tracks in a show you can create slides that display text with key information on them.