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  1. #31

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    Re: How they do make the lights in Indiana Jones Adventure flicker and dimmed?

    A computer that runs a DMX system does not have to be a PC or have internet. DMX systems started to be used in the mid-late 80s. Before then Microplex systems were used to do theatrical dimming. DMX is not some crazy new technology that wasn't available when Indy was built. The computers that run the EMVs are far more than capable to run a DMX sequence for flickering lights.

    I'm not saying that this is how it's done in Indy. But it's how I would have done it. An analog system would be almost just as complicated if you wanted it to match the sounds with the generator.

  2. #32

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    Lightbulb Re: How they do make the lights in Indiana Jones Adventure flicker and dimmed?

    Quote Originally Posted by BurtGummer View Post
    A computer that runs a DMX system does not have to be a PC or have internet. DMX systems started to be used in the mid-late 80s. Before then Microplex systems were used to do theatrical dimming. DMX is not some crazy new technology that wasn't available when Indy was built.

    Touche. I stated you would need a computer to run this sequence. I suppose you could use a lighting board, but I don't know of a lighting board from the late 80's -- early 90's that could have picked out the peaks in the audio and processed them. After all, DMX was pretty new, it just was introduced in 1986. I would assume at that point, lighting consoles were not as advanced as they are today.


    As I was writing this reply, I thought of a simple way they could have done the effect in the (mostly) pre-digital ages. It could have been done like an audio cassette, with two tapes running simultaneously. They of course would be endless looping tapes, one would be the audio track, and the other would control a triac. The triac tape would have been pre-recorded. Presto.





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  3. #33

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    Re: How they do make the lights in Indiana Jones Adventure flicker and dimmed?

    Great conversation. This could be done either analog or digital. It could also be done with digital without using DMX.... (There are plenty of other solutions to digitally controlling a circuit, DMX is just the standard solution for theatrical production, WDI could very easily roll their own especially for such a simple repetitive pattern). Given the scale of the number of lights being controlled and the fact that they are synced perfectly I would guess it is likely to be digital.

    There are too many lights for this to be on one circuit so multiple controllers would be needed. Each of these controllers would need to be kept perfectly in sync so that the effect is consistent through out the queue (a rather large queue at that).

    Using a digital system it would be trivial to keep the system in sync through out all zones (where a zone is a set of lights controlled by a given controller) since a signal can be sent to all controllers continuously.

    Achieving the same sync in analog can be done but is a bit more difficult.

    So to really get an answer we need to hear from someone in the "know".

    I know I have seen some custom looking light control boxes around the park that do not look like DMX. To me this lends credence to FantasywaterDude's theory.

  4. #34

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    Re: How they do make the lights in Indiana Jones Adventure flicker and dimmed?

    This makes me think of quote from Model Railroader Magazine: (paraphrased)

    "If a solution to a problem is complicated and consists of many parts (and expensive), then there's a very good chance there is a simpler and cheaper solution with fewer parts".

    This is certainly true for the flickering lights. Back in the day, there wasn't any DMX or complicated controlling circuits. It was simple relays and dimmers. Nothing crazy. Sure, they may not be as programable or controllable, but if the effect is the same, then it really doesn't matter how it's done.

  5. #35

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    Re: How they do make the lights in Indiana Jones Adventure flicker and dimmed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nautilus View Post
    This makes me think of quote from Model Railroader Magazine: (paraphrased)

    "If a solution to a problem is complicated and consists of many parts (and expensive), then there's a very good chance there is a simpler and cheaper solution with fewer parts".

    This is certainly true for the flickering lights. Back in the day, there wasn't any DMX or complicated controlling circuits. It was simple relays and dimmers. Nothing crazy. Sure, they may not be as programable or controllable, but if the effect is the same, then it really doesn't matter how it's done.
    If the ride was just built with vehicles driven by their own onboard computers, I think they would have a little more something than an analog circuit. DMX is not complicated at all. In fact, it is used because of it's simplicity and ease of operation compared to analog systems. If it was harder to use, I doubt it would be the near-only way that lighting is controlled. It's accurate, only requires XLR cables to link fixtures, and doesn't need to send high-voltage/ high-current long distances.

    Fantasmic! started in 1992 right? I'm sure they wouldn't be using analog to run the show. Indy wasn't built in the 40s or 50s like the storyline suggests, haha.

  6. #36

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    Re: How they do make the lights in Indiana Jones Adventure flicker and dimmed?

    The reasoning behind digital is control - if you don't need control - don't use it.

    You can setup a analog circuit to 'listen' to the generator soundtrack... and act accordingly. Why build up some big control system when something autonomous will work for practically ever on its own.
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  7. #37

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    Re: How they do make the lights in Indiana Jones Adventure flicker and dimmed?

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyLD View Post
    Though that is correct, I don't think that's what BurtGummer was asking. Indy's queue uses normal incandescent light bulbs which can be electronically dimmed.
    What I think he was asking is why use a relay switch if the dimmer itself can kill 2 birds with 1 stone and do the dimming and flicker. To answer that, electronic dimmers (more specifically DMX controlled dimmers) are not designed for rapid fast fades. They can with-stand chases like you see in rock concerts, but anything faster can really take toll on the transformers in the dimmers.
    Modern dimmers are actually much faster than relays, which often are a physical switch that is flipped magnetically. Current dimming systems use something called a SCR-- silicon controlled rectifier.

    The short, short, version of how a rectifier works is to very rapidly turn the lights on and off (at specific times in the sine wave of AC power). So in fact, not only are they capable of quick flickering, they use that as their method of dimming.

    The lag of an incandescent source is FAR longer than the speed with which an SCR operates.

  8. #38

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    Re: How they do make the lights in Indiana Jones Adventure flicker and dimmed?

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    The reasoning behind digital is control - if you don't need control - don't use it.

    You can setup a analog circuit to 'listen' to the generator soundtrack... and act accordingly. Why build up some big control system when something autonomous will work for practically ever on its own.
    Yes, control is the primary function. But you also have to consider installation and cost.

    Off the shelf and stock equipment is MUCH cheaper and easier to deal with than anything custom. Even though there may be a sleeker solution to a problem, it often happens that equipment is used because it is available and known to be reliable, even if it is only used for a tenth of what it can actually do.

    Also, the lighting industry, like all industries, has certain methods that become standard. It is much easier (cheaper) to find a DMX programmer than to engineer and audio loop to trigger the effects properly.

    Though the audio-based solution you propose would work, and may have been the solution in years past, for a ride like Indy I can assure you they are using a show controller that links to a DMX light board and syncs the audio track.

  9. #39

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    Re: How they do make the lights in Indiana Jones Adventure flicker and dimmed?

    The generator is a prop that runs on a looped program, which also controls the lights. Basically the system is like an AA figure - sound and animation. The lights are controlled from the control room from a very large switch board... which intigrates ride operations and ride security. when the ride is taken out of show conditions the lighting program is stopped and put into maintenance mode where all effects are turned off... this means that it goes to steady and bright.
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  10. #40

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    Re: How they do make the lights in Indiana Jones Adventure flicker and dimmed?

    From Disneyland Wizard: Indiana Jones Adventure

    Copied from http://disneywizard.angelfire.com/generator.html

    Gas-Powered Generator which powers the Temple Lights.

    You will notice that the lamps dim when the generator slows. This is because the boiler pressure is set at seventy-five pounds/square inch. The generator is automatically throttled by a spinning automatic governor which is supposed to maintain constant speed. When the temple first opened, the gage read 120 p/si while the painted note on it said "Keep below 80!" Many of the parents, who were waiting with their children in this area, were, like fuming live steamers, concerned about the safety practices of our hosts by this potentially explosive situation.


    Indiana is at this very moment attempting to locate the Jewel of Power, neither for it's illustrious luster nor it's incredible value as a gem or artifact, but to restore it to it's proper place, or rather to restore it's proper place to it. The natives agree with this and are only too eager to assist, being very helpful with the excavation, but more often than not getting in the way of our archaeological goals. When the ingenious mechanisms which used the Jewel of Power to provide heat, light and other temple utilities (some of which were perilous) are restored, only then can Indy resume his research without relying upon the awkward and inadequate generator.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU5LG5DIT0E"]YouTube - Indiana Jones Adventure Queue[/ame]

















    Spoilers!



    When the attraction first opened, the connecting rod from the piston to the flywheel was missing, but the generator continued to operate.
    The flywheel is actually driven by a rubber wheel attached to a motor which is hidden under a wooden crate.


    Both the motor speed and the light brightness are controlled by the queue sound which is fed to the speakers near the generator and to SCR's or silicon control rectifiers which simultaneously modulate the voltage sent to 75W roughhouse [urethane dipped] 120-130v Phillips lamp bulbs and to the motor, which varies its speed.


    When the '30s themed lights strung above throughout the queue are lit to full brightness and no longer dim the adventure is "101", "down" or experiencing a delay while troop transports are being switched out. The wires strung throughout the temple do not actually power the lamps. The power is sent through the fixtures where they attach to the walls and the well themed, braided cloth wrapped, cord is actually unterminated [no connection] contemporary high bandwidth coaxial cable.

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