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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Over the past 8 months, I have been working on recreating the Disney Tower of Terror Basement elevator in the room leading to my home theater. I have posted intermediate updates previously, but have now completed all the major props, lighting, sound effects, and programming to control it all. The goal was to recreate a set that looks like the Basement elevator entrance to the ride, and also create a sequence of special effects that tell a story of what happened leading to the elevator failure and disappearance of the 5 occupants; all triggered by the push of the faux elevator button. Let me clarify that I actually did little, and had a variety of talented people work with me in making it all come together. Hope you enjoy the show!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpz1xqCo0nU[/URL]
 

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Really cool work. It definitely is something I haven't seen done yet.

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Over the past 8 months, I have been working on recreating the Disney Tower of Terror Basement elevator in the room leading to my home theater. I have posted intermediate updates previously, but have now completed all the major props, lighting, sound effects, and programming to control it all. The goal was to recreate a set that looks like the Basement elevator entrance to the ride, and also create a sequence of special effects that tell a story of what happened leading to the elevator failure and disappearance of the 5 occupants; all triggered by the push of the faux elevator button. Let me clarify that I actually did little, and had a variety of talented people work with me in making it all come together. Hope you enjoy the show!



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpz1xqCo0nU


Wow this is amazing. I’m interested in doing some sort of preshow in my theater. Can you talk a bit about the control systems being used, what software? How do you do something as basic as press a button, video plays, lights flicker at appropriate times.

PS my chairs would be perfect for the interior of your theater!!



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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Wow this is amazing. I’m interested in doing some sort of preshow in my theater. Can you talk a bit about the control systems being used, what software? How do you do something as basic as press a button, video plays, lights flicker at appropriate times.

PS my chairs would be perfect for the interior of your theater!!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tLFJ4YvRm9U


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The system is controlled by two escape room/haunted house controllers called a BooBox Flex max.

https://www.frightprops.com/controllers-electronics/frightideas-controllers/boobox-controllers/boobox-flexmax.html

They are pretty versatile, and IMHO not that expensive. There are alternative professional level show controllers, and I had some communication with some people who work with them, but they were talking about starting costs of 30K-50K for the equipment and programming, and I decided the approach I chose is the route that I could afford. The BooBox flex max can trigger media players (I have 3 sprite media players for the show)

https://www.frightprops.com/video-visual-effects/digital-video-players/sprite-seamless-looping-hd-triggerable-video-player.html

There are accessory equipment to allow 110V equipment control. and they can do DMX control (used to trigger a CO2 cannon for the steam pipe burst effect), have built -in amp for sound (I use a dedicated Sony AV amp in my application) The controller has a variety of options for programming it including a free software download (for Windows only; not mac), but this approach does require a $99 interface device that connects the PC and the controller. Now I had zero experience with such equipment or design of props, so I was fortunate to find someone skilled at working with this escape room controller, as well as general prop design, electronics, and is a talented trouble-shooter which has been critical to getting the system to work. Maybe you are a quick learner, but it would simply would not be possible for me to have made the system work without help from people experienced in using the controller and media players. I believe with availability of skilled help, I am happy with the choice of equipment and although glitches do pop up, again with skilled help, most are easily addressed once diagnosed and related to failure of things in the props and not an issue with the controller.

Here is a little video of the show in progress showing the equipment working:

 

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The system is controlled by two escape room/haunted house controllers called a BooBox Flex max.



https://www.frightprops.com/controllers-electronics/frightideas-controllers/boobox-controllers/boobox-flexmax.html



They are pretty versatile, and IMHO not that expensive. There are alternative professional level show controllers, and I had some communication with some people who work with them, but they were talking about starting costs of 30K-50K for the equipment and programming, and I decided the approach I chose is the route that I could afford. The BooBox flex max can trigger media players (I have 3 sprite media players for the show)



https://www.frightprops.com/video-visual-effects/digital-video-players/sprite-seamless-looping-hd-triggerable-video-player.html



There are accessory equipment to allow 110V equipment control. and they can do DMX control (used to trigger a CO2 cannon for the steam pipe burst effect), have built -in amp for sound (I use a dedicated Sony AV amp in my application) The controller has a variety of options for programming it including a free software download (for Windows only; not mac), but this approach does require a $99 interface device that connects the PC and the controller. Now I had zero experience with such equipment or design of props, so I was fortunate to find someone skilled at working with this escape room controller, as well as general prop design, electronics, and is a talented trouble-shooter which has been critical to getting the system to work. Maybe you are a quick learner, but it would simply would not be possible for me to have made the system work without help from people experienced in using the controller and media players. I believe with availability of skilled help, I am happy with the choice of equipment and although glitches do pop up, again with skilled help, most are easily addressed once diagnosed and related to failure of things in the props and not an issue with the controller.



Here is a little video of the show in progress showing the equipment working:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJrIcPXAahI


Great info thanks! Do you know if there can be any integration with existing light switches in your basement? How about smart devices like zwave? Hue bulbs? Or do you have everything in your room directly wired into these control boards? Thanks!


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Great info thanks! Do you know if there can be any integration with existing light switches in your basement? How about smart devices like zwave? Hue bulbs? Or do you have everything in your room directly wired into these control boards? Thanks!


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The faux elevator button is a simple contact switch. I have a Control4 automation system for all the lights in the room, and the elevator button press does tell the Control4 controller that this has occurred and all the lights or other Control4 controlled devices can be programmed (by a Control4 dealer) to respond based on elapsed time since button push. I am swapping out all the can lights and fans in the room with industrial hanging cage lights as the single one currently present and do plan on using the control4 system to control all these lights.
 

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The faux elevator button is a simple contact switch. I have a Control4 automation system for all the lights in the room, and the elevator button press does tell the Control4 controller that this has occurred and all the lights or other Control4 controlled devices can be programmed (by a Control4 dealer) to respond based on elapsed time since button push. I am swapping out all the can lights and fans in the room with industrial hanging cage lights and do plan on using the control4 system to control these lights.


Wow what a great job- most immersive I’ve seen. Are you west coast? Wondering if your contacts are near me. I’m up in New York.


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Wow what a great job- most immersive I’ve seen. Are you west coast? Wondering if your contacts are near me. I’m up in New York.


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Im in Vegas. Surprisingly, I found the escape room/haunted house technician, who has really become a creative partner, by a help wanted posting in Craigslist. The other suggestion I have is to email Frightprops.com, who sells the controller and ask if they are aware of any skilled techs in your area that work with the BooBox controllers. I also did that and they gave me the name of another highly skilled person in the city, who also has additional expertise with the media players and video file manipulation, he happens to be good friends with the tech I have working on the project. They have both worked on my project and worked out all the kinks in the system. I dont know your budget, but my tech just got laid off from his main gig in Vegas, and would probably be willing to fly to you. I thought what he charged me was very reasonable. (Typically he told me Escape room techs get about $25-$35/hour).

Good luck!
 

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Im in Vegas. Surprisingly, I found the escape room/haunted house technician, who has really become a creative partner, by a help wanted posting in Craigslist. The other suggestion I have is to email Frightprops.com, who sells the controller and ask if they are aware of any skilled techs in your area that work with the BooBox controllers. I also did that and they gave me the name of another highly skilled person in the city, who also has additional expertise with the media players and video file manipulation, he happens to be good friends with the tech I have working on the project. They have both worked on my project and worked out all the kinks in the system. I dont know your budget, but my tech just got laid off from his main gig in Vegas, and would probably be willing to fly to you. I thought what he charged me was very reasonable. (Typically he told me Escape room techs get about $25-$35/hour).



Good luck!


That’s really not bad at all. Very interesting products from that store and can’t wait to see more updates on your theater!

Quick question- can you talk a little about your wiring? Do all of your wires from each and every prop throughout the room terminate in your control room? I see you have a finished basement (as do I) so how did you do this for every light fixture, star field, button etc. is there a wireless means by which some of this can be connected or did you route wires behind your walls for each and every prop? Hoping there’s an easier way than opening up the walls.


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Discussion Starter #12
That’s really not bad at all. Very interesting products from that store and can’t wait to see more updates on your theater!

Quick question- can you talk a little about your wiring? Do all of your wires from each and every prop throughout the room terminate in your control room? I see you have a finished basement (as do I) so how did you do this for every light fixture, star field, button etc. is there a wireless means by which some of this can be connected or did you route wires behind your walls for each and every prop? Hoping there’s an easier way than opening up the walls.


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The faux concrete walls allowed placement of low voltage wiring on the surface of the untreated walls prior to having foam panels overlayed. Subsequent to the faux walls being completed, I ran additional wiring in the faux conduit you see running on the walls. In addition multiple props are wirelessly triggered by the RF remotes that came with them, by hacking the remotes so they are triggered by the Flex max controller, or via wireless triggers that Donald the escape room tech made.
 

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The faux concrete walls allowed placement of low voltage wiring on the surface of the untreated walls prior to having foam panels overlayed. Subsequent to the faux walls being completed, I ran additional wiring in the faux conduit you see running on the walls. In addition multiple props are wirelessly triggered by the RF remotes that came with them, by hacking the remotes so they are triggered by the Flex max controller, or via wireless triggers that Donald the escape room tech made.


Thanks! Would you be willing to share the contact info for your escape room engineer? Maybe I could do some stuff with him remotely. You can DM if you’d rather keep the contact private. Thanks!


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