Monday, February 04, 2008

Bowl me over

"So that's what a five pin set up looks like up close."

I got to wire up a bunch of monitors for a movie or TV shoot today. It was a preliminary visit to the location that the production company (who will remain nameless) was going to shoot in coming up in the next few weeks. The location was a bowling alley located in Hamilton.

The stuff to hook up? All the monitors to the bowling alley. 12 lanes or 24 monitors in total. The big overhead monitor and the little monitor where you sit. The idea was that we would take the video feeds out of the computers and plug them into our video equipment then from there back into the monitors as mentioned. This would allow us to change the color temperature of the displays and allow us to put whatever graphic on the screens while at the same time keeping the computers online should they want interactive bowling stats.

Looking across the bowling lanes.

Looking toward the end of the lane to see if anyone was bowling.

It's interesting to note that the computers were Amiga 500s. Yep, those computers that Commodore stopped production back in 1993. It was like a trip down memory lane (bowling lane?).

Bowling lanes controlled by Amiga 500s and some software called DynaScore.

The bowling alley is made for little people or people that like to crawl around. For a large person such as myself (and I don't consider myself that large) getting around the bowling equipment was an exercise using yoga type positioning. While there's nothing that makes up the machinery that can crush you there's always the fear that someone will bowl down the lane you're working on a bean you with a ball the size of a grapefruit. I wanted to take care that I didn't damage anything. This includes tracking mud on the polished wood lanes. Walking around in socks only meant your feet were exposed to those rolling grapefruits should they come your way. It made me a bit paranoid.

The pins are on ropes and pulleys.

It's interesting to note that the pins on a five pin bowling alley are attached to ropes and a pulley system. I've always assumed that the pins were free to fly around wherever. Not so. The ball return is the other interesting thing as it returns the balls for two lanes and is really the only machinery that can hurt you. Provided you stick your arm next to it while it's running. There's a chain that can do some serious damage if it's moving.

At one point James had dropped a screw just behind the chain. My arm was skinny enough to reach for it. The machine was off so I went to pick it up. Had the machine been turned on I would have torn a considerable amount of skin out of my arm. Not good.

The Hamilton bowling building from the outside.

The day went without a hitch and after my stint in Hamilton I met up with Hugh to see a free preview of "Fool's Gold", a movie with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. The movie was okay, plus we each received a free key chain in the shape of a small surf board made of foam. After that it was to Xelua's for food.

A "bowl" of rice.


Unknown said...

I actually worked for the people who also owned the company that made Dynascore, it was LND or Late Night Developments in Victoria, the same people who made the game "Ameoba Invaders" for the Amiga 500, I occasionally assisted in soldering up some boards and things when need.

I actually worked for a second company they owned, Moebius Computers that sold, you guess it, Amiga Computers. :)

Unknown said...

Victoria BC Canada I should have said.

BagelHot said...

That’s pretty great background information. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

The people that made Dynascore originally wrote bowling league statistical programs that was very popular. Brunswick approached them to integrate the software with their autoscoring system. The deal fell through, so the guys decided to build their own autoscore system by tapping into the logic boards of the 5 pin setters. They even had a system whereby they could tell what pins to set...great for bowlers to practice hitting those headpins! Brunswick felt threatened and started offering their systems really really really cheap (they're a huge corporation and could afford to take losses) until one of the DynaScore guys went bankrupt and that was it.