IMG_3526I recently built out a LightBoard Studio for my home office so I can start contributing to the awesome LightBoard Lessons on DevCentral. These are short, informative videos explaining various technologies and often, how to implement on a BIG-IP system. Instead of writing on a whiteboard and looking over your shoulder into the camera as you explain something, Lightboards allow you to draw on and look through the crystal clear glass (into the camera) while discussing technical concepts. A transparent whiteboard. The LEDs that surround the glass accompanied with neon markers make the images pop. It’s pretty darn cool.

So the story goes, a college professor was looking for a better way to deliver lessons to his students both on campus and online without a chalkboard. He called it the Learning Glass and now there are Lightboards all over the world, especially in universities. Incidentally, there is cool video of Picasso painting on glass from 1949.

He had the right idea.

IMG_3525You may have read or watched Jason & John’s Lightboard Lessons: Behind the Scenes and I wanted to report on my own experiences. First, I followed Jason’s bill of materials (except the camera) and it provides most everything you need to get started. I initially thought about a 3’ x 5’ pane of glass due to my smaller venue but couldn’t find an appropriate frame for that size. Well, to be clear, there may have been one but it was way outside my budget. I looked at various saw horses, ladder frames and other apparatus thinking I could ‘make’ something that could properly hold the glass in place. No dice.

So I decided to go a little larger with the 4’ x 6’ size since there is a frame specifically built for this purpose. Rahm is correct about ordering the frame first since you’ll need to carefully measure the mounting holes so the glass can be drilled perfectly. It also takes a few weeks to order and have the glass delivered - at least in my area. This was fine since it allowed me to set up the other equipment like the lights, back drop and camera location. In addition, make sure you have the delivery folks help you place it on the frame…depending on the size, this is not a pick up and install yourself deal. The glass is large, heavy and certainly needs a few people to carry and properly align with the holes.

IMG_3524Once the glass is installed (and cleaned) you can wrap the LEDs around the edge. There are a couple ways to go with this step. You could use large binder clips to hold the lights at the edge or, like Jason, I got 3/8” shower u-channels to go around the glass and hold the lights in place. Instead of silicon to hold the u-channel, I used clamp clips to hold the outer metal. This allows me to easily change and adjust the LEDs if needed.

The Expo Neon markers do make a greasy mess and I’ve got the same Sprayway glass cleaner. I also got one of those magic erasers to help clean and old hotel room keys work well on dried ink. It’s not that difficult to have a clean slate but any smudges will certainly appear if it’s not sparkle-city.

This week I’ll be moving around the lights and doing some test shots for audio and visual screen tests and look forward to publishing my first LightBoard Lesson very soon. Shooting for next week if all tests go well. I’m excited.

It’s always been a dream of mine to have a home studio. Some guys want a man-cave, some want a game room, others a high end home theatre or a rack of computer equipment. Me? A studio.

And for my 750th DevCentral article I wanted to say: Thanks Gang!!

ps