Automated Evil: Control System Brings Dead to Life

Elan g! system runs the lights, audio and ghoulish effects at Chicagoland haunted house.

Haunted houses are all about effect, and electronics can play a big part in creating a creepy, realistic atmosphere. It’s even scarier when those effects are automated, when they’re timed to happen at just the right moments.

At the Sears Centre Arena, Hoffman Estates, Ill., an Elan g! control system choreographs every scream, moan, creak and flickering light throughout a 15,000-square-foot haunted Carnevil attraction this Halloween season. Bringing the effects to life are dozens of 70-volt speakers and subwoofers fed by 16 different MP3 players; more than 1,000 LED lights, some of which are colored; and several iPads running the mobile g! app.

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Dan Cochenour, the custom electronics (CE) pro hired by the event company to automate its haunted house, spent several months perfecting the timing and intensity of the lights and sound effects, a task that was simplified by the iPad and g! app. “On the fly as I walked through the attraction I could alter the settings until they looked just right,” he explains. “For example, in the portion of the haunted house where we wanted to create the effect of walking through a swamp, I was able to play with different shades of green for the LED lights until it created the spooky, realistic look we were after.” Cochenour’s company, Audio Video Specialists, was also able to mimic the sound of thunder and people pounding on coffins by feeding audio soundtracks through SpeakerCraft BoomTomb subwoofers. In another part of the attraction, the Black Hole, Sunfire subwoofers fed by an Onkyo receiver product low-end audio that effectively vibrates the spinning cylinder as guests attempt to walk through. “The audio brings the whole effect to another level,” says Cochenour.

Check out another home AV system by Dan Cochenour here.

During show nights, the Carnevil employees can kick start all of the automated tricks from an iPad with one touch of a button. “That’s a lot quicker than having walk through 15,000-square feet to turn things on manually,” say Cochenour. And to make sure traffic is flowing smoothly before they let in another batch of people, employees can tap into any of 16 IP cameras located strategically throughout the haunted house and view in real time the captured video on the screens of their iPads.

Control system like this aren’t just for Halloween fun. Check out these other Elan g! homes:
Elan System Used to Power Luxury Pool and Backyard A/V
Sports Fan Feeds 10 TVs
Colonial Cabin Gets Home Control Upgrade

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