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About aurickle

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    Dillon, Montana
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  1. lightzilla hit the nail on the head when it comes to matrices and (to a lesser extent) CCR trees. When anything akin to video is playing, it captures 100% of the viewer's attention to the point that the rest of the show might as well not even exist. Text is the worst culprit since text demands to be read. Of course if you don't have any of those fancy RGB elements, a mega tree is just as bad! Whatever element in your show is the flashiest or most engaging will be the part that gobbles the majority of the viewer's attention. When I was setting up my show this year I kept that in mind by limiting the amount of matrix effects that I use. Only 1/3 of my sequences use the matrix. When the matrix is used, I do so very selectively. Either I only use it for a short section in the middle or toward the end of my sequence or what I put on it is very repetitive. In the former case, it creates an accent just like any of the other special effects in my display. In the latter case, the viewer's eyes quickly learn the pattern and then start looking again at the rest of the display. Either way, try sequencing your songs in a way that tells a story and leads your viewer's eyes through the display. The worst shows are the ones where everything is flashing all the time. You end up with the sense that if you've seen one song, you've seen them all. But if the sequence is done where it draws your eye to one area and then to another, followed by another during the song you're going to really impress people. This is accomplished by letting most of the display be quasi-static while one area has action. Then the action moves to a different part of the display. Also try to hold elements in reserve. My personal strategy is that each sequence only uses about half of my channels and no more than one or two special effects (like snowfall lights, strobes or the light wall). The next song in the show will bring in another 1/4 of what's there while phasing out half of what I had been using in the prior sequence. As the moves from song to song the viewer is constantly being treated to new things and at the same time I avoid the gaudiness that comes from having everything going all the time. Also, if you do things right you will have people coming multiple times during the season. They may pay a lot of attention to your matrix the first time (or three) but then they'll start appreciating the other things in the display. It is a GREAT thing to have people tell you that every time they watch your show, they see something new. Just some easy tips.
  2. Putting the ELL's on trees really isn't an issue so long as they have uninterrupted line of sight between them. Just don't go adding CCR's or CCB's with an ELL configuration because those will quickly start to eat up your 56K bandwidth. If you do want to use RGB stuff, put that on a different network from the ELL's. Also, if you're using ELL's it's a good idea to optimize your sequences by removing unused channels and surplus timings from each sequence. That reduces the amount of data that has to be transmitted, which in turn leads to smoother performance in the show.
  3. Yes, that message specifically means Show 1, Sequence 1 is running. It's not an error at all. So it sounds like your Show Director is running the other units without issue but not properly running its own channels. I doubt it's a problem with the SD card, in that case. It's probably a unit ID error in either the unit itself or in the sequences, so that the sequences are being told to play channels that don't actually exist. For example, if you accidentally set the controller to something other than ID 4, or if your channels are accidentally configured as ID 5. Assuming that your sequences have indeed set those channels as Unit 4, I'd begin by checking out the Hardware Manager to see how the director unit is configured. By the way, a handy tip is that you can run an ethernet cable from the controller at the end of your daisy chain and (assuming that you have one of the adaptors) plug it into your laptop. You can then use the Hardware Manager on the laptop to search for units and make sure that they're all properly configured.
  4. The lack of flexibility with building shows is a serious pain, for sure. Unfortunately, my home does not have a convenient location for me to put the control computer. The best I can do requires me to run 100' ethernet cables from the computer. Yeah, it's possible but it's a pain. Especially when you have a show that requires multiple networks. And on top of that, I have limited power availability. Not needing to run a laptop frees up amps for use in the lights themselves. Hopefully they'll make the hardware manager more robust or provide functionality for the Show Editor to support MP3 show directors. What the Hardware utility needs most is the ability to open a show from the card, allowing you to then edit it. That would resolve the lion's share of issues. The second thing that would be really nice would be if it could also use files from the Schedule Editor. For example, if the Hardware utility had a check box to "Use Schedule File." With that check box turned off, it would use the current scheduling technique but with it on, the configuration file would tell the show director to look for a schedule file from the Show Editor. Of course, that would then require that the Schedule Editor be able to load shows from the card. So the first step would be to build the show(s) with the Hardware manager, then with the card still in the reader you would open the Schedule Editor and create your schedule which would then be added to the card. This would then allow you to update the schedule at any time without even having to touch the actual show files or open the Hardware utility.
  5. Having a few of the CCR's on the second network should still work. Just run that network at a slower speed than the network that has the bulk of them. But you certainly should be able to get 16 CCR's on a single network. My show is set up with 2 CCR's and all my regular controllers on the main network, plugged into port 1 on the G3-MP3 and running at 56K. I then have 16 CCB's on the second network, running at 500K. The show performs flawlessly.
  6. Hello all, This is my first year with the G3-MP3 Director. In the past I've simply used a laptop to run the show, which made it very easy to change the schedule as I'd just use the Schedule Editor. But with the Director I need to use the Hardware Manager's MP3 tab. The catch is that tab requires you to set the schedule, then add the songs, then create the show and finally write it to the card. So basically you seem to have to rebuild the entire show for the sake of changing its schedule. Nor does it appear possible to load the show into the Hardware Manager to then make desired edits to the schedule. Given that I have a total of 50 sequences in Show 1, that's quite a pain! Am I simply missing something? I ask because over the course of the month during which the show will be running, the time of sunset changes pretty dramatically. It would be nice to adjust the schedule a few times to compensate. Is there a convenient way to do this that I'm missing? I've tried looking on the memory card but the CFG file is encoded and so can't be edited. There doesn't appear to be any other file that would contain the schedule. Thanks!
  7. That is an awesome freshman job of it! And yes, it's safe to say you've been bitten by the lighting bug. It gets to be almost an obsession and you're not alone in already thinking of things you'd like to add or do different for next year. Ah, if only the old budget was infinite. LOL Can't wait to see what you add next year!
  8. You've done a great job building drama as the song progresses. It's too easy to fall into the trap of using all the lights, all the time which leaves nothing to be surprised by. Starting with smaller elements like you've done and then including more and more through the song is very effective at keeping audiences engaged. Well done! As for next year, if you're deciding between arches or a mega-tree I would say the tree. NOTHING keeps people talking about your display like a mega-tree and there are lots of ways you can set one up. (Which means that you can keep surprising people year after year with just minor changes. Arches make great accents but don't have nearly the impact.
  9. My solution to the problem you describe was that my mega-tree uses 16 strands each of white, green and CCB. For some songs I don't use the RGB lights at all. For others, the RGB is used as an accent. For example, with Silent Night I did a snowfall effect with just the CCB's. With "It's the Most Wonderful Time" I did some heavier RGB effects but I also used the white or green regular strands to tie the tree back in with the rest of the display. I'd love to do some of the spiral effects that you're pulling off, though! Those pretty well fried my brain trying to create them manually.
  10. That is just nuts! I don't even want to imagine how much you've spent on this "hobby". The various characters are brilliant.
  11. Mannheim Steamroller's "Stille Nacht". It's one of my favorite Christmas arrangements ever. The CCB's let me do a really neat effect with the mega-tree, too!
  12. Here's the first video for my 2012 display. The mega tree is pretty amazing with RGB lights in it! Be sure to watch it in the 720p resolution.
  13. Now that the show's not running I went into the hardware utility. This controller is set exactly the same as the others. Every setting is identical. I'm lucky that the two affected strands are at the exact 9 o'clock position in the circle. The audience is at 6 o'clock, so those two strands are the least visible. I unplugged them from the controller last night until this can get figured out, and I think that the audience will be none the wiser. By the way, a mega tree made of CCB's looks incredible. Now I just need to figure out the camera settings to best capture the color effects. Right now it's catching too much light and the color bulbs end up looking almost white. LOL
  14. Hi there. I've built a mega-tree with 8 CCB sets (16 strands) and powered it up for the first time tonight. Unfortunately, one of the 8 controllers seems to be giving bad commands to its strands. Individual bulbs are fading and turning on/off at the right times but their colors are wrong. It is both of the strands connected to this one specific controller, so I know the problem isn't with the strands. It has to be the controller itself. Does anyone have ideas for how this can be fixed, or am I looking at a bad controller? Thanks!
  15. ELL's do not support the fastest data transmission speed. If you're using macros to control the CCR's or CCB's you should be fine with ELL's because macros aren't particularly data intensive. If you're controlling the lights via the color channels rather than the macro channels I would not recommend ELL's. My first year I used CCR's was two ribbons and they did not work worth a damn until I took the ELL's out of the picture. Of course, if you use multiple networks you can specify different data speeds for them. In that case you can have the CCR's running on a wired network and put everything else on the ELL network.
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