To produce our show, we need software to perform three primary functions:
Sequencing the lights to the music
Configuring the lights/network
Controlling the lights
We use two software applications to accomplish all of those functions:
Light-O-Rama (LOR) Showtime Designer suite – Requires purchase of a license.
xLights - Light Sequencer and Show Scheduler – Available free for use.
I’ll discuss how/why we use each of the applications in the sections below.
Sequencing is the process of choreographing the lights to the audio file (music). Both of the applications mentioned above provide the ability to create sequences (both musical and non-musical). They may approach the task a little differently but the outcome is a working sequence.
Our Choice | When we started doing the lights, LOR was the application most people recommended so we chose to use it. As we expanded into pixels, we investigated xLights and found it very helpful in doing some of the more complex things (mile matrices) so we added it to our arsenal of tools. The fact that both LOR and xLights support the use of the clipboard, makes it easy to use the best tool for whatever we're trying to accomplish.
Configuring the Lights/Network
This is the layer between the sequences and the controllers that makes the magic happen. This functionality should be performed in the application that will control the lights. I’ll discuss the technical stuff later in my discussion of Networks.
Controlling the Lights
This is the process of running the show and involves translating the sequences into commands that are sent to the light controllers to tell them how to control the lights.
Our Choice | Because we started with AC lights, and were using LOR to sequence, we used LOR to run our show. Many people happily use xLights to run their show. We may look at that option if LOR fails to meet our need in the future.