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Grave Digger - Tribute to Steve and Jana

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  • Grave Digger - Tribute to Steve and Jana

    As a tribute to Steve Koci and Jana Snipes, Bob Risley asked if I could help with the electronics install and puppeteering of the Grave Digger prop. I gladly accepted and we decided to use the new Koci/ Addicore Receiver/Recorder w/ Sound module to operate the prop.

    The backstory is that this Grave Digger will greet guests at the entry to a Halloween Haunt and provide some narration and action in a 2 mini show series. The team of three, that is Steve, Jana, and Bob begin designing and fabricating this prop a year ago. Unfortunately we lost our two friends and Bob decided that it would be a good idea to finish the prop as a tribute.

    To date, Steve was successful in installing servos into a skeleton for torso and shoulder movements. Bob carefully fatigued and aged the skeleton using a unique Gorilla glue technique. The team sent off photos for a custom skull and had it fabricated through Bob Robertson's company. Bob Risley then painted the skull and prepared it for installation on the top of the skeleton. Steve decided it was best to remove the DMX controller and go with his own new Addicore board.

    The team had decided on 2 mini shows... one is the Ghost Host and one is based on Thriller. Steve assembled and manipulated audio files to get them ready for download onto the SD card. I took those files and added clean narration so that the sound module with spectral analysis could move the jaw properly.

    The prop in peice part was then delivered to me and reassembled in my shop. I fabricated a temporary stand and also created a foam board lantern that was painted to look like metal. It includes a flicker flame bulb inside to create a realistic look.

    I installed the new Koci/Addicore Receiver/Recorder with sound module and began puppeteering the skull on my bench. Once satisfied I installed it on top of the skeleton and finished puppeteering and recording the arm and torso movements.

    Bob and I decided that it needed some lighting so I programmed up a custom DMX controller that triggers the Addicore board. This DMX controller manipulates colors and intensity of the Bob Robertson provided DMX intelligent lght fixture.

    Although we still have to do the costuming and set dressing, the first mini show (Ghost Host) was puppeteered and recorded.

    Here's a very preliminary video showing the gravedigger in action...
    Updated.. First full up system test....early puppeteering. Adjusted volume levels in config file to 30...turned down jaw gain pot to min
    Last edited by Lightman; 11-04-2021, 08:06 AM.