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TCP/IP Control Panel for Watchout and PJLink control


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Hi all from Australia,

I just had a question similar to the attached post below from 2013 but this is a bit outdated now.

We're doing a bit of work in musical theatre where the Watchout system is run without operator supervision it just takes MIDI inputs, if there's an issue the LX operator will use a BlackMagic Videohub control panel to switch the projectors to the backup system via a matrix. We'd love to find a panel with a similar form factor to the Blackmagic Videohub panel which can can be programmed to send TCP/IP strings to various systems, i.e. PJLink to the projectors, Telnet to the Watchout displays, Telnet to various video routing gear.


Does anyone have any experience with equipment like this, I have looked at building something with a Raspberry pi but I just don't have enough faith in something like that for pro musical theatre where this would be essentially a very show-critical piece of equipment.


Thanks in advanced everyone!



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Hi Callum,

I'm in the same boat. As I was working on a different type of project, I discovered Universe. We've been thinking about how awesome it would be for theatre too. It would take a little programming on your end, but it could essentially become an RFU for the LX operator to quickly switch to a backup, triggering everything in the order you want. http://www.presentation-technologies.de/universe.html#top

Hope this helps.

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A panel like that would be a very good idea. I've been looking for these types of units for years now.

I've always had to resort to using a control system as the main hub, for all messages coming in and going out.

Last system I built was around the Ross Dashboard control software, which seemed to work very well.

The hardware buttons were Elgato Streamdecks. These output messages to Matrix routers, Graphics Switchers, Watchout, etc, etc....

It'll take a bit of work, but this could work for you.


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  • Dataton Partner

Hi Callum,

The answer may be closer than you think,

Something like the Medialon Showmaster LE is perfect for this type of thing as it can even take MIDI In , it has drivers built in to control Watchout , PJ Link etc and has a time line 

Its a 1 RU Box that has a Web Server Interface or its own Panel Software that can run on up to 3 separate devices on the network, Its quite easy to program and  Medialon and Watchout have been used together in dozens if not more High end Musicals and theatre shows World Wide since the early versions of Watchout

so the combination has a Great Track Record


If you want more info give me a call

+61 2 94363022



Interactive Controls

Sydney Australia




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  • Dataton Partner

There are two more options you might want to look at.

UNIVERSE is a control software programmed and designed by video operators for video operators. It is pretty powerful in live situations but has all the logical functions to work in fixed installations as well.

On the other hand, a simple device like the Visual Productions B-Station could work for you as well. The B-Station can send out any command over UDP, OSC, ArtNet or DMX when pressing one of the six big buttons. The buttons can be programmed to give visual feedback as well. You do not need to run any software to use the B-Station interfaces. Actually you could also take their IoCore 2 unit and send cues from the lighting console (Art-Net or DMX) which would then trigger a UDP signal out. It also has GPI and GPO connectors.



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  • 1 month later...

PIXILAB Blocks works very well with WATCHOUT and comes with a PJLink driver, as well as numerous others. Panels can be made using any iOS/Android device. Blocks may be overkill if all you need is just a control panel that can fire off strings. But if you have a need for a more complete control system solution – including lighting and various display technologies – it might be of interest. More technical details in the wiki.


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I've had good luck with an X-keys xk24 panel connected to a raspberry pi.

I put the xkeys panel in hardware mode (seen as a keyboard) and have the buttons emulate F13-F24. On the RPi I use xbindkeys to bind those key presses to bash scripts that send commands to watchout production machines. 

The scripts use netcat to send commands via UDP

 look like this:

#!/bin/bash -xv

echo "run" | source ~/Scripts/IP.sh & echo "run" | source ~/Scripts/IP2.sh

and source a script like this:

#!/bin/bash -xv


sudo ip netns exec WOprimary nc -4 -u -w $IP $PORT

that defines the IP and port of the watchout machine you're sending to

the ip netns portion is a holdover from when I needed the commands to send through separate network interfaces (some clients wanted the backup system to be on a discrete network from the primary so they could use the same IPs for everything) It can be omitted if you're only using one network interface on the RPi.

Whole thing looks like this. (case is 3d printed to accommodate the RPi underneath the x-keys panel. If anyone is interested i could probably find and upload the .stl somewhere)

My goal with this setup was to keep it as simple as possible. There's no feedback from the device since I'm controlling and looking at the production software.


Another solution I've been playing around with is the elgato stream deck. Right now the way I have it set up is with a program a friend of mine (actual developer kinda guy unlike me) whipped together that sends UDP commands (again since I don't need feedback from watchout) to as many IPs as you want.

Each button uses the "open" command on the streamdeck to open a shortcut with the arguments I want in the target box. The program gets the IP addresses from a text file in the same directory as the exe. (If anyone is interested I can upload the exe for this. Maybe the source too if he doesn't mind)

The shortcuts look like this and the panel looks like this






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