Harry Potter Themed workshop

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book I am running a family programming day in Birmingham at a local library.

Each of the activities will have a Harry Potter focus.

I thought it would be interesting to share my plans and resources for the day.

Equipment


pi-topCEED x 10
Keyboards / mice
microbit x 10
GPIO LED kits (x10)
LED dragon eggs (x10)

Workshops


Minecraft 1

- quick build challenge
- moving Steve in Minecraft
- placing blocks
- building houses


micro:bit
- sorting hat
- potions
- magic spells
- dragon eggs

traffic lights and disco lights

- connecting LEDs to the Raspberry PI
- GPIO zero
- traffic lights
- disco lights

Minecraft 2

- rainbow road
- floating in the air


Schedule of the day



10.00 - 10.30 Welcome, introduction, what is a Raspberry Pi
10.30 - 11.30 Minecraft workshop 1
11.30 - 12.30 Harry Potter micro:bit including dragon eggs
12.30 - 13.00 Show and tell projects
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch
14.00 - 15.00 GPIO Zero
15.00 - 15.45 Minecraft workshop 2
15.45 - 16.00 Certificates and prizes


Resources

Minecraft resources
GPIO worksheet
Harry Potter micro:bit
Harry Potter dragon eggs
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High School Musical Stage Camera

It seems like ages since I last wrote a blog post but the summer term is always a crazy time at school with revision, exams and the summer show.

This year we performed High School Musical at school, and following the tradition of previous shows I wanted to use a Raspberry Pi as part of the theatre tech.



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One of the difficulties of staging shows in our theatre are where to place the band and the musical director. We decided to put the band and MD at the back of the stage in front of our cyclorama. Whilst this sounded very good we found that the cast were missing cues from the MD as they couldn't see him. I was tasked with finding a solution to this problem. After looking at various solutions involving hiring camera systems or using video cameras I decided that I would go for a low-cost Raspberry Pi based solution.

The core of the project is the motion eye home security Pi software.

https://github.com/ccrisan/motioneyeos/wiki/Installation

https://github.com/ccrisan/motioneye/wiki/Install-On-Raspbian

Installing the SD card is simple (make sure you have the right version for your Pi!) and the front end is very easy to navigate. There are essentially three ways you can view the images:

- locally on a monitor attached to the Pi
- network connection
- wifi connection

The Pi will need to make a network connection for motion eyes to work.

To make the Pi more robust I found two cases on thingiverse and 3D printed them to make a traditional style camera.

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1641212

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1707484




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Testing the camera in my classroom was fun when my class walked in to see monitors all around the room displaying the same video feed they couldn't work out how I was doing it.

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We did notice a very small amount of lag on the streamed video signal which I decided would be good enough for me to have up in the control room but wouldn't be good enough for the 'live' feed at the front of the stage. To improve the lag time I ended up buying a relatively cheap HDMI splitter which handily was powered by a 5V usb cable straight from the Pi. Using approximately 30m of HDMI cable I ran the video feed to the front of the stage. Additional monitors were connected to the splitter on stage for the musicians.

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Pi camera at the back of the stage

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Live video (over HDMI)


This camera based system will now be a permanent fixture of all shows we now do. Ideally I will make the cabling permanent and mount the camera somewhere suitable.

The finished rig consists of:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 with camera in 3D printed case
  • HDMI splitter (http://amzn.to/2v39aAz £13.99)
  • (Old) wifi router
  • (Old) TV for front of stage
  • monitors on stage
  • Laptops / tablets / phones etc to view video feed from around the stage

For a relatively cheap build I was really pleased with the final project. The Raspberry Pi camera worked perfectly for the rehearsals and shows. I was asked many times by people how I was able to get the video to the front of the stage and to the control room. This gave me many good opportunities to talk to people about the Raspberry Pi too!

If I had more time ….

We made quite a bit of use of cheap (and I mean cheap) LED strips to mark the outline shape of part of the basketball court. If I had more time I would have used a Pi to control them. Next year we are probably doing Return to the Forbidden planet and I think the Pi will definitely feature in that!

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