Troubleshooting Christie Roadster 18K Projectors

I was setting up a Christie 18K projector yesterday, and encountered a fixable error in the field and wanted to share my troubleshooting process.

While aligning internally generated test patterns, the image began to flicker from White to Cyan then blanking the image intermittently.  The image then went black, and I received this error:

"TI Engine Com Err, Attempting to Comple"

I did a complete power down, disconnect and reboot, a couple of times, and still got the same error message.  I called up the Christie Tech support, and got some advice on troubleshooting the issue(Thanks John!).  He provided me with an internal troubleshooting pdf, and I got to work cracking the projector open.  

FYI, you must remove any eye-bolts or the 3-point mounting hardware on the top of the projector before removing the top lid.  Unscrew the 6 screws on the top of the case with a phillips head screwdriver.  You only need to do a quarter turn of these screws, and they stay attached to the lid(don't try to screw them all the way out!).

Now that you are inside the unit the fun begins.  Look for any loose cables or any strain that may be affecting connections.  I found a couple suspect connectors and did my best to make sure they were properly seated.  I powered it back up and everything came back to normal working order.


You can download the specific Christie-Lamp-Technology-Mercury-vs-Xenon-Technical-Guide.pdf here:!6Q4BkJQC!kYBBvRoywWGpt74DkVa4_fDtwJmbp2rIEzdmpAwfguE

Of particular interest for this problem, look to diagrams on page 23 and 47.

SoundFlower - The Missing OSX Audio App you always needed.

I cannot sing their praises enough.  SoundFlower is a fantastic OSX app, and for the AV/VJ community, it is an absolute necessity.

It allows you to pass audio output. back into the internal audio mix with 64 internal virtual channels.  

Soundflower is a Mac OS X kernel extension that enables audio to be passed between applications. It acts as a virtual audio device, with both inputs and outputs. With it, any audio application can send and receive audio.

Initial support for the development and maintenance of Soundflower was provided by Cycling '74. Stewardship has now been passed to Rogue Amoeba, and we're providing hosting of the latest version.

Soundflower is an open source project. Code for the Soundflower project is now hosted on GitHub.

Download Soundflower


Let me know how you use it!

Quartz: Kineme Plugin bug in OSX Yosemite 10.10 FIXED!

Found this update the other day on a forum, and chased down the New Plugin.

"Kineme Data Tools on OS 10.10 Yosemite requires a updated version of the Plug-In. Matti Niinimäki has compiled a working version of the Plug-In available here >   "  

Via the Facebook Quartz Composer Group.

Mirror Link

IATSE Local 16 - Stewards Report Macro is Now Open Source!

ShowBlender is proud to announce that we've open-sourced our IATSE Local 16 Stewards Report Macro.   Developed for use by IATSE Local 16 Job Stewards, this excel spreadsheet will ingest Job Report PDFs, and populate a useable excel Stewards Reports for inputting worker’s hours.  

Download Excel sheet(.xlsm)  from Github .  Download Instructions Here.

Source Available at:

Technical Specs:

Windows-Only Macro-Enabled Excel Spreadsheet with VBScript to parse PDF data via Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Originally Developed by Joe McCraw of ShowBlender LLC. 

Website:  Http://


Feel free to update and improve upon this software.  

Offered, in good faith, as Open Source Software, to my Brothers and Sisters of IATSE Local 16.

In Solidarity,


Download link



The Singing Comet

But one observation has taken the RPC scientists somewhat by surprise. The comet seems to be emitting a ‘song’ in the form of oscillations in the magnetic field in the comet’s environment. It is being sung at 40-50 millihertz, far below human hearing, which typically picks up sound between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. To make the music audible to the human ear, the frequencies have been increased by a factor of about 10,000.  
The music was heard clearly by the magnetometer experiment (RPC-Mag) for the first time in August, when Rosetta drew to within 100 km of 67P/C-G. The scientists think it must be produced in some way by the activity of the comet, as it releases neutral particles into space where they become electrically charged due to a process called ionisation. But the precise physical mechanism behind the oscillations remains a mystery.


As if you were not sufficiently astonished by us landing a spacecraft on a comet hurtling through space, it turns out that the comet is singing us a song!

As a test of ShowBlender's Audio Visualization tools, I ran the Comet's Song through a audio responsive kaleidoscopic motion graphics iterator of a photo of the comet.  It has some great looking textures, and makes some fun pareidolia(A Dragons head, faces etc).  


Something neat to see while you listen to the cosmic rhythms!  

You can download a copy of the OSX application to play with!

Mach Banding Illusions and our Visual Perception of Gradients

Have you ever noticed the appearance of an extra bright area at the edge of a gradient, or a darker looking area at the border between shapes of differing brightness?

Take a look at this video:

Mach Banding Illusions demonstrate some interesting aspects of how our visual systems process information.  We often describe the eye like a camera, and in certain ways, it is an accurate model.  Unfortunately our visual system is not a camera, and we don't always interpret light in direct accordance with photon reception.  This demonstration will show the effects Mach Banding, and the process of Lateral Inhibition which induces the phenomenon.  Gradients like the one in the example don't occur naturally in nature.  Gradient detection in the real-world likely evolves from our visual system attempting to use lighting gradients as indicators of an object's depth/shape.   We use software to induce and enhance the Mach Banding effect for easier identification.

This process has a bigger impact than one may first imagine.  In the Healthcare Industry, for example, Mach Banding can create false positives in medical imaging/diagnostics due to incorrectly perceived levels brightness in gradients.  Lives have been lost due to incorrect analysis/interpretations of perceived highlighting, increasing the contrast and sharpness of gradient edges, introduced by gradient Mach Banding.  With appropriate knowledge of Mach Banding, healthcare professionals can avoid misdiagnosis by referencing the original image through waveform, vectorscopes, or histogram monitoring to ensure that the perceived brightness accurately reflects actual image brightness.

  • How do you think that graphic design could be used to emphasize this visual effect?  
  • Can Mach Banding be used to emphasize/accent 3d modeling/shading?
  • Could you imaging using projection mapping gradients to accentuate or de-accentuate form details/edges?

You can Find a link to the OSX Mach Banding Simulation Application we made here:

1.  Download, extract, and run the app(it looks best in Fullscreen due to color sampling/scaling).

Bonus Easter Egg:  You can press 'h' in order to view a histogram of the rendered image which shows the luminance of the image live, in real-time.

Further Reading:

Salience of Mach bands as a function of the relative linearity of the luminance gradient stimulus.