Monthly Roundup: 12/5/16

Ben spent most of the last month glued to his computer, working on product development, Horatio updates, and lots and lots of coding. But that’s not to say it wasn’t an exciting month! Here’s a few peeks at what we’ve been up to:

  • We created a mockup for a public art installation in downtown Pittsburgh, which includes a web-portal control interface for an RGBW light. The controller also tracks temperature and humidity, since the lights in this installation are going to live in some pretty extreme conditions. (More on that soon!)
  • The new revision of the Horatio hardware now sports an internal battery backup, allowing us to distinguish between a power failure and a network failure.
  • We have a new system in the works (Code Name: Prometheus), and we’re getting close to a beta release and announcement. Can’t say more than that yet, but we’ll have more details for you in next month’s roundup post!

Monthly Roundup: 11/7/16

It’s almost two weeks since Ben got back from LDI, and we’ve finally recovered enough to post an update! The show went really well – Ben got the chance to talk to a lot of great people, the comfy chairs were a hit, and we even won an award! We’re not sure what for exactly, but you can check out the Barnelli Awards on Twitter to see the other winners – we’re in good company! We’re pretty sure it’s because they figured out the secret messages hidden in our booth. (Did you? You’ve got all the clues you need in the photos below – first person to figure it out and leave a comment below wins a prize!)

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth and made our first time exhibiting at LDI so successful. If you didn’t make it to the show, check out the photos below to see what you missed!

LDI, Here We Come!

LDI Booth in a BoxWe’re headed to LDI this week (exhibiting for the first time!), and we’re excited to show off some great products and chat with people over locally-crafted pop while reclining in our super-squishy chairs. Here’s a peek at what you’ll see if you stop by and see us in Booth #1782:

A live demo of the Horatio Architainment Monitoring System – an affordable, easily integrated, internet-connected system that monitors unattended lighting systems, collects diagnostic data and sends out immediate notifications of problems. Designed to be manufacturer agnostic, Horatio dramatically increases the accessibility and visibility of the inner workings of any lighting network.

The Prospero DMX cue light controller – a reconfigurable controller that enables the creation of simple, flexible DMX cue light systems, providing the benefits of a custom cue light controller without the expense. Developed to the specifications of Broadway electricians and stage managers, it has been used over the past two years on more than 30 Broadway productions and tours, as well as installations in regional theatres and road houses.

The MSC Box – the newest addition to BPI’s product line, the MSC Box is a unique tool that provides visibility into a MSC message stream and can also pause the data stream, temporarily isolating portions of a show’s control system. We’ll be giving two MSC Boxes away this week – one at the show, and another one online, so follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter if you aren’t making it to Vegas this year!

If you are at the show, stop by our booth and relax for a bit while you chat with Ben – we’ll be fully stocked with a supply of pop from Natrona Bottling Company, including root beer, ginger beer and almond cream soda. A word of warning, though: the chairs are so comfy, you might not want to leave…

More product info


Cut Sheet


Cut Sheet


Cut Sheet

Monthly Roundup – and some Big News!

It’s been a big month for us here at BPI!  We moved out of the old shop (just in time, since that huge storm blew out a window – if we hadn’t already moved Ben’s office out, all the computers and electronics would have been soaked!), and we’re mostly settled into the new shop.  I’ve been organizing the office, while Ben got the router set up in its new home and started organizing the electronics shop.  Meanwhile, the littlest member of our team has settled right into her office – we’re pretty sure she’d be happy to just move in there and never come home.

We got the move done just in time, since cue light season is back in full swing – we’re shipping 6 Prospero units in the next six weeks – and Ben is about to do a beta installation of Horatio Outdoor.  He’s also continuing development on the Midi Show Control box, which should be done by mid-October.

We’ve also got some exciting news:  we’re exhibiting at LDI for the first time this year!  I’ve gone into master planning mode, making schedules and designing the booth, while Ben gets Horatio and Prospero ready to show off to the world.  It’s going to be a crazy couple of months, but we’re excited.  If you’re going to be at LDI, drop us a line, and stop by to chat with Ben – Booth #1782!

We’ve Moved!

We’ve been slacking off on the weekly roundup posts, but we had a good reason: we were moving the shop!

While we loved our shop at the Design Center, with its urban stained glass (aka graffiti on the windows) and awesome neighbors (hi, Plant Lady!), an opportunity arose that was just too good to pass up. Clear Story Creative, who we’ve done some great projects with in the past, had some extra space and invited us to move in!

BPI is still a separate operation, with our own dedicated space in their shop, and Ben gets an air conditioned and heated office out of the deal (no more fingerless gloves for programming in the winter!). Ben also gets people to talk to during the day (so you might see him on Facebook a little less often…), I get my own desk (instead of a tiny corner of an electronics workbench), and the littlest member of our team even gets a new office and some new friends (who are already providing her with exciting new toys…).

Posts might be sporadic for the next few weeks as we continue to settle in, but keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter accounts for pictures as we get the office set up and decorated!

Weekly Roundup: 5/23/16

The shop is clean! Mostly. Enough that we could have a fun party, meet some great local artists, and chat with them about their current and future projects. Thanks to everyone who came out, and to the Office of Public Art for hosting! We’re hoping to make this a regular (maybe monthly?) thing, so more news on that soon!

Ben’s also been hard at work this week continuing work on Horatio development – and he even found some time to fix his 30-year-old backhoe, which made the littlest member of our team very very happy.

Weekly Roundup: 5/16/16

Not a lot of photos this week, but it’s been busy nonetheless! Ben finished up work on the Water Cube, which soft opened at the EQT Children’s Theatre Festival downtown on Thursday. In addition to installing a custom Horatio with more than 30 sensors to monitor the water and lighting systems, he also ended up designing a custom lighting controller and helping to troubleshoot some lighting problems. The end result is a pretty great installation – great art, great lighting, and still and sparkling water on tap!

We also spent some time this week getting the shop ready for a party! The Pittsburgh Office of Public Art is hosting an event for local artists as part of their Public Art 201 series, and we’re excited to meet some more Pittsburgh artists and chat with them about what we do.

And as always, Ben continues work on Horatio development – the outdoor beta unit spent some more time on the roof this week, and it held up great in those crazy windstorms. We’re hoping to get the chance to beta test it around the city this summer with the PGH Lab project – our application is in, and our fingers are crossed! We’ve had such great experiences working with the city on various projects over the last few years, we’d love to have them give Horatio a spin!

Weekly Roundup: 5/9/16

Ben spent most of this week working on a custom Horatio installation for a public art project downtown. When the installation opens tomorrow, we’ll be monitoring everything about it, from lighting to water to CO2, via 30 different sensors connected to a custom-built Horatio. We can’t say much about it right now, but check out the photos below, and stop by the parklet at Penn & 8th downtown after tomorrow to see it for yourself – it’s going to be great!

Ben also found time this week to do a little more testing on the outdoor Horatio, stop by a local Horatio installation in progress, and head down to Market Square to assist with Mix N’ Match strike. It was a busy week!

It’s Arbor Day! Have you scheduled your annual rigging inspection?

USITT Rigging Day of SafetyTheatrical rigging can be found in nearly every theater, from small systems supporting drapery tracks in cafeteria auditoriums to counterweight systems suspending hundreds of pounds of equipment in high school, college and professional theaters.

The general industry recommendation is to have your rigging system inspected annually by a qualified inspector – someone who is familiar with the full gamut of rigging systems and can evaluate whether or not a particular system or component is safe.

Ben has been working with, designing, and inspecting rigging systems for over 15 years and is familiar with the most recent developments in the industry. Through our sister company, Pittsburgh Hoist & Sandbag, we offer annual rigging inspections at competitive rates, and since Pittsburgh Hoist and BPI do not offer repair services, you can be assured that Ben’s reports are unbiased: we offer inspections for the sake of making your systems safer, not to find more work for ourselves. If your system is in need of repair, we can also recommend several rigging contractors throughout the region who can offer competitive bids based on his inspection report, allowing you to get the best price available for the necessary repairs.

Pittsburgh Hoist’s inspections start with a pre-inspection visit to ensure that safe access is available to every part of your rigging system. Call or e-mail to set up your pre-inspection today, on USITT’s Day of Rigging Safety, and we’ll give you a $500 discount on your inspection and report!

Image via USITT

Weekly Roundup: 4/25/16

Ben’s been working on all sorts of things this week, including customizing a Horatio for a new art installation in the Cultural District, finishing up that DMX-to-IR converter, and updating the touch-sensitive basketball backboard we built with John Murray Productions for Chevron STEAM Zone’s Vertical Leap exhibit a few years ago. He’s also testing out a new outdoor version of Horatio – by hanging it out the window at the shop. Life is never boring here at BPI!