FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


Q: How do you synchronize music to the lights?

A: We use a software program made by Light-O-Rama (LOR). The software gives us the ability to custom design how we want the lights to mix with music. The software sends commands of our programming (aka sequencing) to the controllers basically telling which channels to turn on, off, fade, twinkle, ect. We used several different controller types. Most were made by Light-O-Rama. The others are DMX driven. 80% of the controllers we used are DC powered. The rest are AC powered. Learning how the software works will not happen overnight and takes time and dedication, but the outcome is rewarding.



Q: How do you control the show/display?

A: We run our shows using a PC. Connecting the PC to the controllers requires an adapter/dongle. There is also the ability to control your display using a Showtime Director instead of a PC. The Showtime Director is a light show director with built in MP3 player that is run from a SD card.


Q: How does your PC “talk” to the controllers?

A: Our PC communicates to the controllers using an adapter/dongle plugged into the USB communications ports. There are several different types and manufactures of adapters/dongles depending on your requirements. We use both LOR and DMX protocols which requires both. You can also communicate to the controllers via serial and wireless (additional device).



Q: Do you manually turn on the lights or on a timer?

A: The software has a control panel that you can either run a show on demand or set it up to start and end at a any given time/date or even schedule a daily, weekly or monthly occurrence. You can also schedule which sequences you want to run, in which order, ect. It however you want to schedule it.



Q: What type of power is required for the controllers?

A: We used several different controller types. The AC controllers we used are capable of either 120 or 240V AC. The DC controllers requires a 120/240V AC input, but is converted to 5 to 60V DC power output depending on the controller. However, our display only used 120V AC and 12V DC. The output power of each channel also varies depending on the controller.



Q: What type of lights do you use?

A: This year, most of the lights were switched from incandescent to LED. Specifically RGB LED. RGB Lights consist of Red, Blue and Green (3 basic colors) within the same LED. Because the 3 colors are so close within the same LED, you can color mix buy adjusting the intensity to make any color (1.67 million). Realistically you can create about 20 different colors.



Q: Are your LED lights and DMX devices compatible with Light-O-Rama?

A: Yes, all lights and DMX devices we used are compatible with LOR and are able to take full advantage of all features and effects.



Q: Can I buy your lights from a big box store?

A: No…all the lights used in our display are a type of DIY product and not something you can just buy off a store shelf. We custom made them so they would be Plug-N-Play with our controllers. However, we will make these lights as well as other items available in our online store (approx March/April 2012) and also be Plug-N-Play.



Q: How did you create the faces/mouth movements?

A: This part is actual not the hardest to create. We used the LOR software to manually create the sequence. There is no instant or auto feature for this option so it will take some time and patience to learn. We built the faces ourselves and will also be selling as a complete kit in our online store. Most likely we will include a free sequence if you purchase a kit from us.



Q: Do you sell your sequences?

A: We have never sold any sequences to date. But due to customer demands, we will be selling them in our online store.



Q: How long does it take to synchronize the lights to the music?

A: It depends on how many channels you will be using. The more channels, they longer it takes. And it also depends on your skills. Once you understand how the software works, programming becomes easier. For our display, it took us approx 15hr of programming for every 1 minute of music. And some songs are easier than others. Also, with the newer released software (LOR S3), it has the ability to create Instant Sequence (requires Superstar). This feature create random sequenced based off the beat of the music.



Q: How long did it take you to set everything up in your display?

A:
Approx 8 days…5-6 hrs each day for 1 person. Since we switch to LEDs this year, a good portion of the display was not built for easy setup. But now that I have an “mount system” in place, it will be a lot easier next year.



Q: Is it hard to put up and take down your lights?

A: Yes and No. Some lights install easier than others. The 2nd story roof line is the hardest. Creating a “mount system” will help putting up and taking down the lights easier.



Q: Is your electric bill high?

A: No. 80% of our display are LEDs. Only the faces and “firesticks” (pole looking lights on the lawn that go up and down) are incandescent. LEDs use very little power. Also, the lights are not on all the time. They constantly are turning on and off throughout the show. Our bill was approx $40 more for the month. Next year we plan on 100% of the display to be LEDs.



Q: Do you leave your lights up all year?

A:
No we don’t. We put them up a few weeks before Halloween and remove them after Christmas.



Q: Do you create custom lighting displays/shows?

A: Yes we do on a case by case bases. We have been contacted by several interested parties to create custom displays/shows. Our primary goal is to offer items so the consumer can create their own display, but custom displays are not out of the question. We recently create a custom display for LMFAO new music video “Sorry for Party Rockin”.



Q: Why can't I view some of your YouTube video’s on my phone?

A: The content owner blocked the video from mobile phones. There is nothing I can do about this. This seems to affect mostly iPhone/iPads. From what I’m hearing, no problems with Android phones. A work around is to click on the “Desktop” link at the bottom of the YouTube page in your browser (ex: Safari). Now you should be able to view the video. Do not use the YouTube App to view. When you want to return back to the mobile verson, clack on “Mobile” at the bottom on the page.



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Creative Lighting Displays