Smart home event

Web app, Motion graphics

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Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. It’s a tradition to carve pumpkins, visit the pumpkin patch and have a fun, fright-filled fall festival. But that didn’t stop me from pushing it even further, all while working within budgets and available resources.

Front of haunted house
Front castle.
Inside effects.

The beginnings

From the early years, it started with building a haunted house out of the garage using PVC piping and trash bags. With the help of my family, we decorated it with special lights, props, speakers, and Lego Mindstorms robotics to control effects. Every year, the neighborhood would check out our creation, and we were even mentioned in the local papers.

Inside the garage
Inside the garage.

Of course, as college became reality, I decided get creative with what I could in my own apartment by creating a special event, taking some of the same principles, but adding my own control using smart home Internet of Things devices. Some of the features implemented included syncing lights to sound effects and music, and projection mapping.

Keeping the tradition alive

In 2017, I played halloween movies in one room using a queued video system I created to play specific movies at certain showtimes, where the lights would turn on between films and off just before the next one.

Custom event motion graphic.

I also created a separate system in another room to play music and music videos. In the event of song without video, I created a custom-branded motion graphic to play. To make this work seamlessly, I interfaced with Apple Music and QuickTime Player. Since there aren’t public API’s provided for either app, I created custom Automator workflows that I could execute via command line, and built an API with PHP to call these actions to adjust volume, and playback, as well as control my Phillips Hue light bulbs.

Overall the experience was very integrated allowing me to spend less time worrying about starting movies, or music, and instead spending more time with my guests.