- Maxthon Chan, undergraduate student of Donghua University, major in computer sciences.
- Zibin Hu, undergraduate student of Donghua University, major in industry automation.
- Bin Yu, undergraduate student of Donghua University, major in industry automation.
This article is written with assistance from Angela Wang.
Being a student major in computer sciences, I am curious about the techniques and methods Freddie used to construct the iCarly studio, and the underlying working of Sam's remote.
After I screened the entire show to some of my friends, Zibin Hu and Bin Yu, who major in industry automation, together we drew a possible implementation of the studio and the remote.
We are not sure of what technology is available in Schneiderverse and what operating system is running on Freddie's computer. So we assumed that the studio is constructed with technology existing as of 2007 and gradually upgrades over time, and Freddie is using a Linux distribution or modified OS X on his computer. Also, we assumed that Freddie followed international standards when constructing the studio system.
The studio have two data networks. One is the public-accessible which iCarly.com servers are connected to, another is a controlling network that is behind a firewall.
The public network is part of the Internet. It serves iCarly webisodes to viewers and carry Internet surfing traffic from Shay's. It is constructed using mainstream networking technologies like Fast Ethernet and IEEE 802.11g (May be upgraded later in the show to a better system)
The private network is highly plausible a packet switched data network, possibly built with existing top-level wired and wireless Ethernet technologies including Gigabit Ethernet and IEEE 802.11n (draft-n in 2007). It carries both studio controlling data and audio/visual signal.
Controlling of the studio
In various episodes it is shown that Freddie can control the studio by typing commands into his computer.
This can be achieved by installing programmable logic controllers to controllable components in the studio, like lighting, the swing-out television, the suspension wires etc.
The programmable logic controllers are connected into the private network and is listening controlling commands from Freddie's computer. They output appropriate control signals to drive different electrical systems in the studio.
A program is installed on Freddie's computer so that he can send commands to the PLCs from a console window.
The television and the audio system
The swing-out television in the studio and the in-studio audio system is connected to a computer tucked away in backstage. The computer is conneted to the private network, and running some appropriate server software that allows Freddie to control its contents. A possible server software used is X server and PulseAudio, possibly within a SSH tunnel, so that programs on Freddie's computer can stream video and audio feeds to the TV and audio system. Alternatively, DLNA or AirPlay Mirroring protocols can be used.
Sam's remote connects directly to Freddie's computer as a bluetooth keyboard, and all six keys sends control characters to the computer, which responds by performing actions that can be configured by Freddie. Six red LEDs are hard-wired to the six buttons and there is no software controlling involved.
The controller at Freddie's belt is similarly constructed.
Wireless HD camera
Freddie's HD camera is also wireless. If he have modified his camera, it can be retrofitted with Wi-Fi capability, streaming live video feed over the private network, probably using Real-time Transport Protocol to his real-time rendering servers.
The iCarly studio is a good example of a modern automated and networked TV studio, that can be centrally controlled by a computer and all controls are fully customisable. Implementing such a system can be expensive, though.