Christie’s new app for phone-based projector control, Christie InControl, went live last week. The app is Christie’s first step into the mobile app market for control of its high-end projectors, and it brings control options on top of the existing control mediums of web interface, IR Remote, RS-232, and TCP control. Christie InControl gives you access to the most common projector settings on 3-chip DLP® M Series and J Series projectors as well as some advanced functionality.
In developing this project, Christie took the approach of “What are the key elements that clients need control over?” explains Joel St-Denis, the inControl product manager. The list came down to: bringing the projector online, focus, status, etc. All these features are carefully controllable in the app plus a little bit more here and there. The manufacturer didn’t want to clutter the app by including every possible control, but rather tried to find the right balance between function and usability. The app does a good job of this approach. No features are really feel missing, nor does the app feel cumbersome. Christie says it is planning to carefully listen to customer feedback, and if any controllable features are missing, they can easily be added into later versions.
The app itself has a smooth and easy to use UI. Graphic and typographic choices were made well, and it could easily be compared to any other professional apps on the market. This is a welcome reprieve from the often-ugly interfaces common on apps in this industry and others that only serve a small niche.
InControl is actually the brainchild of Christie and Proluxon, a Canadian-based company specializing in large events and projection mapping. Proluxon is not new to the projector app market. The company released a projector calculator app, Projector & Screen Calculator, last year. Proluxon is a customer of Christie and had actually started developing its own app to control Christie projectors using the existing RS-232 protocol. Christie heard about this and decided to partner with the company, eventually resulting in InControl.
I was a little hesitant when I first heard about this app. It sounded neat, but I wasn’t sure where it would fit into a projectionist’s workflow. Upon taking a deeper look at the features, I realized this could actually fit in quite nicely and fill a previously unoccupied hole. The ability to move around a space, specifically up close to screens, when your projector is 150’ away with only an iPhone and not a full-on laptop, is quite useful.
If you're using a DHCP server, it will auto-assign IP addresses to Christie projectors, and the app will automatically detect all the projectors on the network. However, in our industry, projectors are often set to a static IP address. In this instance, you'll have to enter the addresses into the app manually, but it will remember them from session to session.
The app works over any wireless connection. In tests done by Christie, performance and reliability were quite good. There is always the danger of packet loss when communicating with anything over wifi, so the app is really for installing, calibrating, and focus, not a show-critical situation. At InfoComm earlier this year, Christie demonstrated the app around the show floor, with a multitude of other wireless networks, and had no problems communicating with the projectors at distances of 100’+.
The Christie InControl app is currently available on the App Store. It supports iPhone, iPad, and iPod. It requires iOS version 5.1 or higher. The iPad version of the app is a scaled-up version of the iPhone app so you don’t lose any features on the iPhone.