DMX vs Sound-activated Lighting for Dancefloor
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  1. #1
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    Default DMX vs Sound-activated Lighting for Dancefloor

    I just got some colorstrips to help light up the dancefloor, and I am a little confused when it comes to DMX control. I know it gives you a lot more customization as far as setting the colors of the lights, fades, and scenes, but is it really that advantageous over using DMX over sound-activation since it seems rather difficult to manage both DMX light control AND DJing music?

    Is DMX control supposed to be only used with the help of a 2nd person? Sorry for the noob questions.
    Bedroom DJ | Pioneer DJM-800 | Pioneer CDJ2000 and CDJ900-NXS | 2 x Mackie MR8MKII | Sennheiser Amperior

  2. #2

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    you can do it solo however if you have no lighting experience i would not reccomend. you will need DMX controller or a USB to DMX to control them. if you did it right, you could set up say a Midi Fighter to control things like color, strobe, intensity etc, from a laptop set up close to your cdjs. there is a reason that the DJ generally doesnt run lights too however, when pulled off correctly, it can be amazing.

  3. #3
    Tech Wizard
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    We use a DMX controller and love it. You can program scenes in it and easily click into a scene to use it. I typically have at least several programed prior to an event....For formal events such as wedding or quinceneras, I find out ahead of time what the color will be. I then program the speaker scrims and uplighting on the wall behind the board with the color scheme and put the LED PARs as a wash on the dance floor in the color. Then, for slow songs, have a lower intensity lighting with slow fading color washes and no other effects. On dance songs, hit the button to turn to sound activated and turn the dancefloor lighting on. That way, you don't have lasers and moonbeam effects, etc, while the first dance is going on and they are trying to get pictures.I also have one that is all UV lights that I have used at blacklight parties. On the controller, just select a scene number and you are there. There is also a all blackout button which, as stated, sends a blackout signal to all the lights. This is nice so you don't have the rig turned on from setup on, only when needed. This is what we use:

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/DMXOperator

    Only weird thing is we wanted the full control of the Swarm Wash and that is 18 channels, so we use fixture 1 and 2 to control it. 16 channels of fixture 1 and the first 2 channels of fixture 2.
    Shawn

  4. #4
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    Hmm, yes that is my exact worry scgstuff. I don't like how it's constantly flashing.

    So you say "we" Does this mean you have someone helping you out with the lighting or do you just tap the scenes as the songs begin.
    Bedroom DJ | Pioneer DJM-800 | Pioneer CDJ2000 and CDJ900-NXS | 2 x Mackie MR8MKII | Sennheiser Amperior

  5. #5
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    I say "we" because it is a my daughter's company and we run it as a family business. My son and daughter are the DJs and I am typically there for the setup and tear down and, depending on event, will typically be around in case whichever on the board needs a bathroom break or anything. We (usually me unless there is special stuff she is working with) will program the lights ahead of time, typically, unless we know we will setup and have a long wait time before beginning to play which isn't often.

    Then, whomever is the actual DJ of the event will go through all the different scenes to test and learn which is which and it is a press of a button when the song begins. My daughter actually likes to label the board so she doesn't forget which scene is which between setting up and going live since it is sometimes a few days to a week between. (She is the primary DJ since it is her company and my son is usually at college...she did use him last Saturday since he is home for Christmas.)
    Shawn

  6. #6
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    Awesome thanks, yea I would definitely label the board.

    Would you happen to know what all the different scenes you lay out? I was thinking maybe 1-2 wash scenes, and then the rest be different light strobes/fades? Is each scene suited to a genre?
    Bedroom DJ | Pioneer DJM-800 | Pioneer CDJ2000 and CDJ900-NXS | 2 x Mackie MR8MKII | Sennheiser Amperior

  7. #7
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    Let's see if this works....This was a Thanksgiving meal we did on Fort Hood for the soldiers. During the dinner portion, we alternated red, green, red scrim, green scrim, red, green for basic lighting. During the beginning of the time for dancing, we turned on the red and green lasers and left the red and green fixed wash. When we went to the dancing (Wobble, Cha Cha, etc.) we went sound activated in all fixtures. We also had a Scorpion Script, which I plant to get an IR repeater for because the IR is on the front of the fixture. Had it say Happy Thanksgiving Ironhorse DFAC. It is a pain to have to walk to the front of the lights and turn on.

    https://www.facebook.com/GarrisEnter...309822678234:0
    (Couldn't get it to work as an image....link to FB post.)

    And at a 16th birthday party, they had a black light party. Swarm wash and all LEDs were set to UV with additional blacklights and UV lights on other stands around the floor as Scene 4. Had supporting blacklights on all night, main lights were UV after they had the "Twister Paint Party" where they had neon paint and painted each other the color spun while playing Twister. Couldn't find a pic of the setup for this one, I think I may have it in a video but will need to look. Scene 1 was pink wash effect, scene 2 was dancing sound activated for LEDs and Swarm with the lasers off and Scene 3 was everything sound including lasers. This was using a truss instead of the T-Bars.

    Rebekah actually setup this party and started it, then participated in the black light festivities and I took over DJ duties and I get tired of lasers so had the scene without for me. You can also change any light on the fly. They dropped an earring or bracelet or something on the right side of the dance floor, so I brought that light up full intensity and white so they could find it without disrupting the black light paint stuff. Rebekah said the only downside of being a DJ is when it is a friend's party and she is hired to work instead of have fun. This was one of her best friends, so I told her split the money with me and I would take over after setup and gig started if she built the playlists and did all the pre-work.
    Shawn

  8. #8
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    Thanks for those descriptions! I'm going to go to Guitar Center later today and see if they have any DMX controllers I can buy and play around with. I am worried I'll have the same experience as your daughter as I'll be DJing my sister's wedding, but I think I'll have a great time if everyone else is having a great time. Plus no date for me so I don't have to worry about that :P

    Tons of help Shawn, much thanks!
    Bedroom DJ | Pioneer DJM-800 | Pioneer CDJ2000 and CDJ900-NXS | 2 x Mackie MR8MKII | Sennheiser Amperior

  9. #9

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    I STRONGLY RECOMMEND USB TO DMX SOFTWARE. That will solve your issue with overlapping channels. Those cheapo DMX controllers don't have enough programming options. I promise if you buy that little bullshit DMX controller, you will very quickly find its NOT what you're looking for

  10. #10
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    I bought an ADJ Operator which seems to be fairly well reviewed. I was considering USB-DMX boxes, but I don't really want to have it loaded on at the same computer as my DJ computer since I'd have to alt tab to access the software.
    Bedroom DJ | Pioneer DJM-800 | Pioneer CDJ2000 and CDJ900-NXS | 2 x Mackie MR8MKII | Sennheiser Amperior

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