Lighting system
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Thread: Lighting system

  1. #1
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    Default Lighting system

    So lately I've been thinking seriously about buying some lighting systems and messing around with DMX. I do a lot of house parties and I feel like they would be taken to another level with just some simple lighting. I have a laser that strobes to the beat + some fog and it's pretty cool but gets old pretty fast. Having some control over the lighting and changing it up every once in a while would be nice.

    The lights I plan to use include something that puts out moving colored beams of LED light and a white strobe. Both of these are relatively cheap on amazon.

    My idea is to have a simple midi controller with each button mapped to certain scenes. For example, I would have a scene for quiet calm breakdowns, a scene for building up, a scene for a drop, and a scene for normal beats, etc etc. These scenes would be preset so I wouldn't need to be looking at a lighting control panel, just pushing buttons on a controller. Also, some of the scenes would ideally be able to sync with the beat, either through a midi clock or through auto detection (maybe have the booth output go to the software?).

    The idea is to have some really good, simple lighting that I would be able to operate on my own while DJing.

    If anyone knows of any existing (affordable) solutions to do this, or help me do this, let me know. I feel like it's something someone would have thought of by now. I'm thinking about buying the lights and a USB DMX controller and making this a huge project.

    Also, I'm an EE, so please don't hold back any gory technical details you might have

  2. #2
    Tech Guru Bassline Brine's Avatar
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    Just throwing it out there, but I've been really impressed my the American DJ Jellyfish. 2 or 4 of those, blacklight floods, couple strobes... it's what I've honestly been thinking about picking up for a small time lighting rig myself. Lasers and hazers bring things to a whole different level.

    The video is a joke, but you get the idea from it :P



    For ~$127 each, I consider these a pretty good deal. And speaking from experience seeing them a couple of times before actually asking someone what the hell that cool light was, I like them in practice as well.

    Really though, I think you're on the right path if you're doing a lot of house parties and such. It really does a whole different game when you have a lighting rig involved.

    (I have NO idea about DMX controlled lighting though and what kind of a controller that would entail.)
    Last edited by Bassline Brine; 07-18-2012 at 11:45 PM.
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  3. #3
    Tech Guru VanGogo's Avatar
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    For what you want to do a small stand alone lighting controller like the Chauvet Obey 40/70 would be a good choice for controlling the lights. I use a Obey 70 which has 30 banks of 8 scenes you can program. It is very easy to set these up and recall them. There are 8 buttons across the top for each scene and bank up and down buttons in the middle right. Each bank can also go from scene to scene in time with the music by sound activation, or tapping the time on the tap/sync button. You can also program 6 different chases using any or all of the scenes which also can play back like the scene banks, and the chases have their own buttons across the top. There are other options as well. This way you don't need another midi controller, computer, etc.

    If you have an extra computer for lights, the combination of Freestyler software (which is free) and a DMX interface (enttec is good and inexpensive) will be the least expensive computer controlled option with more scenes, chases, etc. than a small hardware controller. I'm not sure how the midi control or sync to music is done with Freestyler, but a little reading at their sight would let you know.

    As far as lighting goes, you will want some wash lights. LED pars, or LED bar lights like the Color rails or Mega Pixel. Also with these, you don't really need a strobe, as they can strobe in all colors including white. The rail lights can do some cool chases by themselves.

    LED lights like the Jelly Fish mentioned above that I use are the ADJ Hyper Gem. I really like the many different patterns and chases they can do. They look great with fog or haze. There are a few other fixtures that are similar like the Revo's; the Vue series, etc. Just get on YouTube and see which ones you like.

    Other suggestions for lighting is something with motion, like scanners or moving heads, but those are expensive.

    Adding small lasers like the ADJ Micro lasers is pretty inexpensive, and they work great! They are controlled via a remote, so no DMX, but have good impact for their price.

    Most lights have sound controlled programs built in that can be set via dmx. That way you can program a static scene, but the light will still have sound activated "motion". To really see what you can control by DMX, go to a fixture's manual (on line), and near the back they will have a chart that shows what can be set/controlled via DMX.

    I just finished up my first lighting rig this spring so all this info is fresh in my mind and I hope it helps.

    My rig.....4 Slim par 56's, 2 ADJ Hyper Gems, 2 Intimidator LED 100's (scanners), a Chauvet Min Spot, a Web Style Micro Laser, and a Haze machine.
    It's not the biggest or baddest, but I think it does a nice job. The min spot and scanners are good in darker environments as they are not very bright fixtures, and will be replaced with better options when I can afford it. I was able to find killer deals on them though ($130/light) so I decided to get them anyway.

  4. #4
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    LED pucks, and a few ADJ LED fixtures (revo, quad gem, etc) is my best recommendation on the cheap.

    Stay away from scanners and moving yokes if you are on a budget, the entry level options are more trouble than they are worth.
    I hear an 8hz sinewave can make a whole room of dubstep producers simultaneously stroke their beards.


    Even if they havnt got one.

  5. #5
    Tech Guru dj gullum's Avatar
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    go to the americandj.com and have a look at teir lights. Many of them are DMX and one of the channel usely lets you put them in sound active mode and a dmx controller similar to this one http://www.thomann.de/intl/stairvill...er_mkii_pt.htm that lets you make scenes and chases. I've made some amazing shows with it ans some ADJ LED and Lasers I also have some LED pars and bars. Scanners and moving heads in the cheep end are not realy that good their are ok for small places but add a few light and they will drown in the other lights.
    DJ setup 1 - Pioneer XDJ-Aero, Pioneer DDJ-SP1, Mixvibes Cross, Macbook Air 13", Pioneer HDJ 2000. DJ setup 2 - NI Kontrol F1, Z1, X1mkII, Traktor Pro2, Macbook Air 13", Pioneer HDJ 2000 w. Production - iMac 21.5", Motu 828x, Icon Qcon Pro + EX, Nektar Panorama P4, Propellerhead Reason, Mashine Mikro(drum programer in Reason)

  6. #6
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    Oh damn lots of great info!

    I went ahead and ordered this: http://www.americandj.com/ProductDet...Category=L.E.D.
    I'm hoping it'll have the effect of moving beams of light without the cost of moving heads or scanners. It also has DMX control which is what I'm looking for. I checked the manual and it says you can put it in sound active mode through DMX.

    The jellyfish looked pretty cool but it doesnt have DMX. Also it didn't look like the beams of light move around like they do on the Dekker.

    Vangogo: The dedicated DMX control is appealing. It's a lot cheaper than I thought one would cost. The only thing I'm worried about is being limited by the features on that controller. With a USB controller I would think I'd be limited only by the software on the computer, especially with that open source one you linked. It looks like freestyler supports midi. Not sure about sound activation, but since the light I bought lets you put it in sound activation over DMX, I'll probably just use that. Later on it might be fun to write my own software that spits out DMX controls exactly how I want it to.

    I'll do more research into freestyler and maybe get a USB DMX controller when I feel more confident with it.

  7. #7
    Tech Guru VanGogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rotebass View Post
    Stay away from scanners and moving yokes if you are on a budget, the entry level options are more trouble than they are worth.
    For house parties, as the OP stated the lighting was for, cheap scanners like the Comscan or Intimidator 100's are fine and add a nice effect. Some colors are brighter than others, so you just use the best ones for the scene you are programming. I agree that for almost all other situations you need something better/brighter.

    You can pick up older 150w halogen/discharge fixtures on eBay for cheap and they are plenty bright.

  8. #8
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    You can also buy a Revo that does more, easier to program, doesn't cost an arm and a leg when the lamp dies, has a warranty, etc, etc.
    I hear an 8hz sinewave can make a whole room of dubstep producers simultaneously stroke their beards.


    Even if they havnt got one.

  9. #9
    Tech Guru VanGogo's Avatar
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    Neeloy, the software option will definitely give you more of everything. Control, options, scenes, chases, etc. For what you described you wanted to do the hardware controller fits the bill. Simple, easy to program, hit a button to change a scene, etc. and cheaper if you include the computer cost. With the software option you wouldn't have to upgrade later though.

    I agree Rote, but they are completely different effects also. If you already have LED dot fixture(s), another one isn't going to add much. There are also revo scanners and barrel scanners that can add some motion, but still it's more dots.

  10. #10
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    A revo, a quad gem, your pick of laser an a few LED pucks = sweet house party rig IMO. Less is more.
    I hear an 8hz sinewave can make a whole room of dubstep producers simultaneously stroke their beards.


    Even if they havnt got one.

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