Introducing VisiLit VirtualSpace

So, after much adieu and not many updates on development, we’ve managed to whip that cool and “cutting edge” looking, but albeit pre-natal and rusty demo from four months ago into a “fully” working Beta product. We call it VisiLit Virtual Space, and it’s nowhere near complete, but myself and my new accomplice Ciarán Schütte are quite proud of it. I’ll spare you the gruelling details of the past few months of development in favour of a lovely explanation of what it does, how it works and how it’s helpful. If you want more detail on how it was build, look no further than here, the other 1000 word blog post I’ve written today. What it does Essentially, this product provides an online collaborative virtual theatre space where the entire stage production cycle can take place. The people involved don’t have to be together in the real world, but can communicate, share ideas, and ultimately build their stage productions right there in the virtual, online world. How it works Web technology has been becoming more and more powerful. Buzz words like “web app” and “cloud” are now commonplace. Our cloud based web app marks, in a way, the cutting edge of the potential of in-browser technology. The application itself is accessed using a simple URL in the address bar of an internet browser. (Currently, Google Chrome is the only browser we claim compatibility with). Here, after a brief loading period , the application is fully available for use! We take care of all of your files and because it is all online, it’s easy to work together with the others...

VisiGit: When VisiLit met Github

In January 2013 I joined the VisiLit team, causing the number of software developers to double from one to two. Many programmers out there will know that when it comes to sharing code in a group, things can get very messy. So myself and James started to discuss how we could share and edit our code at the same time without introducing annoying bugs into the program, and soon came across an application called Github. Github allows users to keep track of changes made to shared coding projects, via an online account and Windows application. It is also useful for backing up individual work on a daily basis. If you simply want to share code with the public, membership is free. However, if you want to keep a repository private between a number of Github users, there is a small monthly subscription fee. Once your repository has been created and your project uploaded, all users can clone the files in Windows and begin work on the code as they would any other project. When changes have been made, they can be reviewed in the Github application before the user commits them to the repository through their chosen branch, with the option to add a small description of the changes for the other members of the team to review. There is also an option to ignore certain file types created in the build or debug stages, that may not need to be shared with the group. If I was to give one piece of advice to code collaborators planning to use Github, I would say avoid the “Fork/Pull” model at...

The birth of VisiLit Theatre

VisiLit is a young business, where we are learning every day. We set out to validate our ideas from the industry experts in Ireland, and elsewhere, on an ongoing basis. This has led to us to build a product that has real benefit, because our potential customers told us so. We are proud of our product because it will reduce the effort needed by busy theatre companies to get a show looking spectacular on stage. However, the initial idea came from working in the industry. My experience in entertainment events allowed me to see the necessary improvements for technology in the theatre industry. As a technical manager, I realised that there was a divide between the artistic and creative aspects of designing a show and technical details putting it on a stage. While working, I found that while the technical stuff is very important to the entire production, it is often overlooked until the end dates or until budgets allow. It is also apparent that the people in the team often know about technical details but choose to opt out. VisiLit intends on facing the new task of merging the two sides into one design flow. Once an idea is conceived, users should be able to plan and design that into their show. If it involves technical details, the technical designer (if available) should be able to easily include those details immediately on top of this, rather then waiting for other members of the team or attendance of rehearsals. Adding in these details will be done in short simple steps using some of VisiLit’s software to do the technical...

Three.js our beautiful powerhouse

Wow! Take a look at this. www.threejs.org I had NO IDEA this sort of thing was possible in a web browser. Due to an API called WebGL, 3D graphics can be rendered into a web browser. Essentially, it’s still a web page, but if you can grab a hold of that API with good enough of a grasp, some incredibly powerful stuff can be done in humble wee web window. There a few tools out there to provide one with such a grasp; the most suitable of which, as far as I can tell, is a javascript library called Three.js. Just have a look at some of the examples accessible through the link above to see what I mean. Be sitting down. You have to remember when looking at these example that this is a WEBSITE you are seeing. The graphics in many cases aren’t quite as fantastic as what’s available on a games console for example, but that’ll keep improving. What is important is that what you are seeing is completely live. Information from any source could be flowing in to take effect on the 3D elements on your screen, there is nothing to buy, download or install to get it to work (in most desktop cases) and best of all, it’s completely interactive. This means that you could build a whole website, complete with constantly changing information and interactive navigation in full 3D, and it’s compatible across the board. What better way of harnessing the power of full on interactive 3D in a web browser than by using it to build a cross-platform online environment for the planning and creation...

Our first customer – Dagda Theatre

DagdaTheatreCompany “Art agus an Leabhar Draíochta” is our first VisiLit production! This is a huge milestone for us and we couldn’t have asked for a better trial theatre company. Directed by Leah Egan and produced by Clodagh Smith, “Art agus an Leabhar Draíochta” is an all Irish play for pupils of Irish and non-Irish speaking primary schools in Dublin. Set in the magical venue of the Boy’s School in Smock Alley, the main character Art makes his way through his mundane homework, the adventures of Cú Chulainn, tales of Tir na nÓg and back again. Apart from entertaining kids in the theatre, the young theatre group Dagda have visited schools and provided workshops for the kids to educate them about the tales of old in Ireland. To no surprise, they love it. VisiLit has played a key role in the development of the production in the theatre and out. As the lighting designer, James Clifford attended rehearsals and came to terms with the requirements of the show. After the second rehearsal and applying the techniques developed as part of the VisiLit software, James was able to mock up the show with simple steps and show them to the relevant people in the theatre company. Thus, the blocking was complete. Following this, the lighting stage plan was required. This means calculating where the lights will be put on the rigs in each venue, what purpose they have and what colour of light is required for each. In this production, 34 were required and because our software isn’t fully complete James did this manually. It’s painful. After the plan was done, the lights...

VisiLit prototype box design!

In the past few weeks, reality has set in and we have found ourselves readying for interested companies to use this product. For this, even in the beginning, we need a working hardware section. This means developing a box that will fit the electronics, integrated chips and cables as one unit. We have gone through a number of iterations of the design within this time and we’re getting close to a plausible fit. 3d printing is currently our best hope for a quick fix and hopefully, with the help of some friends, we will be producing our own boxes within the time we have our customers signed up. In saying that, if you are a potential customer please sign up on our “Join BETA” section of our homepage, www.VisiLit.com. You won’t be...