What is the Minimum?

This page is going to answer two questions:

  • "What is the minimum I need to purchase to do a synchronized light show?"

  • "What are the steps to create a synchronized light show?"


We recommend starting small the first year so you can get familiar with the process. It's easier to start small and add on than to try to start big, get confused, and end up with no show in your first year.


What You Will Need

Here’s the list of things you will need to do your show:

  • A prop (display element) – This is something onto which you will apply the lights. Arches were the first prop that we synchronized. You can either build your own prop or buy one from any one of the many vendors that sell them.

  • A Computer - You’ll need a computer for two purposes; to program (sequence) the lights and to run the show.

  • Software – Most available programs handle both the sequencing of the lights and the running of the show.

  • Audio File – Assuming you will be sequencing to music, you’ll need to purchase the audio file.

  • Lights – You can do A/C lights for you can jump right in and do pixels. Either way, get the right lights for the prop you selected.

  • A Controller – Now that you’ve chosen your lights, you’ll need a controller to run that type of lights.

  • Time – For your first time through, give yourself 4-6 months to work through the process. If you move faster, you can always add more to your show. Adding songs costs less than adding props.


The Process

To keep from getting overwhelmed, we recommend that you follow this three-phase process.


Planning

Do your homework by looking at the components in the list above and plan your show to fit into your budget for both time and money.  This phase should also include detail design for how the lights will be applied to the props. Planning this in detail will save you great grief in later phases.


Purchasing

Make the needed purchased to acquire everything you specified in your plan. It will likely require orders from multiple vendors to get everything you need.


Production

This phase has two parts that can happen simultaneously or separately based on the availability of equipment.

  • Sequencing – This is about using the software to sequence your lights to your chosen audio.

  • Construction – This is the application of the lights to the props and the building of the light controllers.phase is about using the software to sequence your lights to your chosen audio. 


Creating the Show

This is a more in-depth description of the steps in the Production and Construction phases described above.

  1. Install the Software on the Computer.

  2. Configure your prop in the software. Note: Be sure to follow the plan you made in the planning phase.

  3. Put your audio file into the appropriate working directory identified by your software.

  4. Use the software, configuration, and audio file to create your sequence.

  5. Install the lights on your prop. Note: Be sure to follow the plan you made in the planning phase.

  6. Construct your controller. Ready-to-Run controllers are available from some vendors if you’d like to skip this step.

  7. Configure your controller. This is where you tell the controller about the lights. This configuration should match what you specified in the software.

  8. Connect the lights to the controller. Most controllers have the ability to test your lights/configuration without connecting to the computer.

  9. Connect The controller to the Computer

  10. Run your sequence. Congratulations you have a show.

Attachments

This section includes any attachments (e.g., images, diagrams) that we think will provide additional information.  Select the attachment to view a larger version and additional information.

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