What do you do with all the control channels?

There’s little doubt the first time you think about a show and how to connect controllers to all your different lights it can be really intimidating.  After talking with professional and long time decorators we discovered their secret.  Think in groups of four.

Where do you start if you're new to animated shows?

The professionals agree: layout the lights in groups of four. It's called four by four (4 x 4) design and it really works.

 

4 x 4 design

Typical house with a large front yard

Instead of thinking about laying out 16 light circuits for a typical 16 channel Light-O-Rama controller, think instead about four groups of four.  With our typical house above, imagine different light strings on four sections of the roof, four windows or doors, four different bushes and four vertical columns or trees.  Four groups of four.  4 x 4.

If we have another 16 channel controller, we might have four trees in the front yard, each tree could have four colors.  Four groups of four.  4 x 4.

If we were lucky enough to have yet another controller we could think of four groups of four or even two groups of eight.  In our case we considered two leaping arches of light.  Each arch has eight sections  Two arches.  Eight sections each.  2 x 8.

Here’s our house decorated for Christmas.  Click the image to make it larger.

Light-O-Rama Typical Layout/Setup. Christmas.

The magic is thinking in small groups.  Almost any venue can be broken down this way.

Write your own  sequences

Using the 4 x 4 concept, creating chases (1-2-3-4) becomes easy when you write your own sequences.  If you understand music, you’ll realize most music is written in 4/4 time and is perfect for chases.  Once you have written your sequences based on the 4 x 4 design, when you move, as long as you follow the 4 x 4 design at the new location, your old sequences will look great.

Off-the-shelf sequences

Many find it easiest in the beginning to buy sequences.  We created an on-line store just for sequences where our award winning sequencers hand crafted each sequence based on the 4 x 4 design.

Each sequence in our store is designed to use three or more of our standard 16 channel Light-O-Rama controllers for a total of 48 to 64 channels.

Looking for a few hints on laying out your lights?  In our on-line sequence store each available sequence includes an example video showing  a few possibilities.

Sequence Store

 

3 controller, 48 channel suggested use

Here’s what we use when creating our 48 channel sequences.  Click the image below to see a larger version.

Typical 48 Channel Configuration

Controller 1 (channels 1-16)

Controller 1 should be used on your main structure.  The light channels are used throughout the entire song.  For our example we’ve used four roof segments, four windows, four bushes and four columns.  Your venue might be a four story building, each with four windows.  Think four groups of four.  4 x 4.

Controller 2 (channels 17-32)

We suggest controller 2 be used with accent pieces.  The light channels are used to enhance the first 16 channels used with controller 1.  They are not required for a good looking show but you can expand into them in the future.  Think four groups of four.  We use four separate design elements (fixtures), and each is wired with four different colors.  You can certainly use your own configuration such as 16 small objects grouped in sections of four.  4 x 4.

Controller 3 (channels 33-48)

We suggest controller 3 be other accent pieces.  The light channels are used to enhance the first 16 channels used with controller 1.  They are not required but you can expand into them in the future.  Think two groups of eight.  We use two leaping arches as design elements, where each is wired with eight different light segments.  You can certainly use your own configuration such as 16 small objects grouped in two different sections of eight.  2 x 8.

Christmas decorating

Here’s how we set things up for a Christmas display.  It matches the demonstration video you might have watched when deciding to buy one of our sequence store sequences.  Controller 1 handles the house.  Controller 2 handles four of the four color trees in the front yard.  Controller 3 handles two leaping arches.  Click the image below to see things a bit better.

Light-O-Rama Typical Layout/Setup. Christmas.

Don’t spend too much time making sure all the lights are perfect.  Your guests will love the lights flashing in perfect synchronization with the music.

Halloween decorating

Here’s how we set things up for a Halloween display.  It matches the demonstration video you might have watched when deciding to buy one of our sequence store sequences. Controller 1 handles the house.  Controller 2 handles four of the four color pumpkins in the front yard.  Controller 3 handles two leaping arches.  Click the image below to see things a bit better.

Light-O-Rama Typical Layout/Setup. Halloween.

Don’t spend too much time making sure all the lights are perfect.  Your guests will love the lights flashing in perfect synchronization with the music.

Patriotic decorating

Here’s how we set things up for a patriotic display.  It matches the demonstration video you might have watched when deciding to buy one of our sequence store sequences. Controller 1 handles the house.  Controller 2 handles four of the four color stars in the front yard.  Controller 3 handles two leaping arches.  Click the image below to see things a bit better.

Light-O-Rama Typical Layout/Setup. Patriotic.

Don’t spend too much time making sure all the lights are perfect.  Your guests will love the lights flashing in perfect synchronization with the music.

Party decorating

Here’s how we set things up for a party.  It matches the demonstration video you might have watched when deciding to buy one of our sequence store sequences. Controller 1 handles the house.  Controller 2 handles four of the four color musical notes in the front yard.  Controller 3 handles two leaping arches.  Click the image below to see things a bit better.

Light-O-Rama Typical Layout/Setup. Party.

Don’t spend too much time making sure all the lights are perfect.  Your guests will love the lights flashing in perfect synchronization with the music.

Want to use our Visualizations?

We use the Light-O-Rama Visualizer that is part of the ShowTime Sequencing Suite to create the demonstrations you see for all of our sequences in the sequence store.  We make these visualizations available to you if you want to use them to create your own sequences.  Go to our free sequences and fillers page for more information.

One final suggestion

Your guests will react to three things:

  1. lights
  2. music
  3. the lights flashing in perfect time to the music

Keep things simple and don’t get bogged down in all the technical stuff.