Get external screens to go complitly black, like shut off but still active

  • I have a problem with a theatre show where we use several screens and a TV who I control via Isadora but we need all the screens to be BLACK when all the lights goes out. Black as in shut off and activate again when its time for movies and other graphics to show. Is it possible to send a signal to the monitors to go to sleep and send a signal to wake up again without any text that says "NO SIGNAL" or logos come up like when they start up. I guess the problem is outside Isadora but I have no clue how to get the directors wish come true.. any suggestions, solutions, ideas that could make me hero of the day? and probably change theatre for the future to come:)

  • Tech Staff

    If you haven't visited the resource page: its worth looking through.
    The last entry: may be a help for your projectors.. the TV/s might need to dealt with via remote.

  • I do have a shutter on the projector and a box to keep light from the ventilations and buttons away, and we use a triple headtoGO to get 3 screens.. But when everything is to go black all the screens stil light up a little due to the lamp inside them are still active waiting for me to give a new command. What I want is the lamp inside the TV/monitors to shut off but they are still active. I whish we could use a remote or cut the power and turn it on again without logos and stuff pup up before getting ready for their next mission.. Reality is a bitch sometimes!

  • I think a clever mechanical solution would be better - a shade or tilt-up/down rack for TV controlled via Isadora>Arduino>motor for instance. Or a piece of molton on a string that you pull up or let go.

  • @vanakaru - just a lexicon question - what is molton? I'm presuming a kind of black museum board, but it's perhaps specific to your country? I live in NY but work often in France, and I'm always fascinated by this kind of thing!

  • Tech Staff

    I was thinking to suggest a custom Arduino based solution as well.

  • Somehow I assumed this being international term.


    Molton also known as Duvetyne is a light absorbent opaque cotton fabric with a brushed finish on both sides which can be used as an inexpensive wool substitute. Molton comes fire treated 300gsm, in black, white and grey as standard colours but also in chromakey blue and green and other colours. Molton fabric is very popular as it comes 3 meters wide, fire treated and blockout.

  • Ah ha! In the eastern US it's duvetyne and on the west coast, commando cloth. I had never heard of molton before, thanks!

  • Put an external usb dvd/cd player in front of the projector, attach a piece of black paper to the tray. Connect the player to a computer. You got yourself a remotely controlled projector shutter.

    Seen this at one Russian theatre.

  • its monitors - not projectors, so shutters would have to be pretty big.

    how bright do you need the image to be when they're on? maybe a sheet of Neutral Density lighting gel taped over the screen would reduce the output enough so that the black screen would be dark enough, yet let enough light out so that the image would be ok when playing images. i did this for a show a few years ago - had a flatscreen tv in a picture frame, with a sheet of ND over it. for the bulk of the show there was an image on it - the ND prevented too much glow, so it looked like a print. in one scene, the image is replaced by a load of text, cued to the script. white text on black background was fine through the ND.

  • Hello,

    For a performance, I needed a real black with TV monitors, I had a static DMX relay to shut off all the TV, and on again, but it was real monitor (Sony trinitron), so no logo and a real button to choose the entry.
    With home tv, it is possible to shut down, but not to turn on again cleanly. I had tried something with arduino and IR, but it's really difficult to find the right protocol and avoid logos and indications.
    Go to the real monitor, it's easier.
    Jacques Hoepffner

  • thnx for all the brainstorming, I use ND filters/gel now but it does take away to much light form the actual films and using the video noise engine which look like a regular white screen with the filters/gel, but will try to make the noise bigger so the effect becomes more visual.. I will check out Sony trinitron and if we can get them in time, opening night on friday..If someone out there can build TV and computer screens with total black standby mode there is a market for it! ;)


  • @tomtenisse

    do you have depth enough to use projectors instead of the tv's ? 
    i mean... use back projection onto a screen the size of the tv. then use another projector shutter to fully black out....

  • no I don't have that space for back projection, only got one projector for this show anyways and 4 computer screens and 1 flat TV.. some one have come up with a construction with plexi/PVC class and build new frames for all the screens, they did that on eurovison to get the screens black, if it work I let you know what kind of material it is so if someone else have the some problem there is a solution to it:)