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how to setup lights or design your layout


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Any tips on how you all setup up your lights. Do you draw out or use visio to preplan. I have a lot of bushes which are perfect for lights and that draws another question. To get the different color effect do you layer on different strands or multi color and just control each color?



I am buying a 16 or 32 channel and was looking best ways of pre laying out your light design

Also do most people seem to buy units that are pre built vers building them yourself and how much money do you really safe by building them yourself



thanks

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I drew mine out on paper first then used the Animation Screen of the Sequence Editor to see what it would look like.

Another IMPORTANT consideration is the power requirements for all your lights.
That includes the Amperage Per Channel, Amperage per Controller, and the total amperage of all the lights if they should happen to all be on at once.
Check the tags on your lights. They provide the amperage for each string of lights.
You could also check out this link on the Planet Christmas web site to estimate your power requirements ahead of time.

Remember, on the 16 channel version of the LOR controllers you can "split" the input power into two independent supplies if you require higher amperage.
Check out the controller specifications for the "Showtime" or "Hobbyist" products HERE.

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The first thing I did was take some good digital photos of the front of the house. I ended up taking three photos, left, center, and right. Then I imported the photos into Word and used a special feature called "Watermark" that makes the photos real dim in the document.

Then I printed them out on 11x17 paper and made several xerox copies to write on. Because the images were "Watermarks" or dim, it was easy to write over the top of them on the page. This was my "Canvas" to start from and I sketched on several different versions of these sheets over the next few months of my design.

And you'll definitely want to start keeping track of where you want to place stuff and the electrical consumption. That'll all come in handy later when you starting thinking about animation and controllers.

There's a lot to do your first year...Just post your questions here and you'll get some good answers....

Randy

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I used a kind of backwards approach. I do a standard light wrapping of windows, trees, bushes, etc. Then lay out all the portable yard decorations so it looks good and makes sense as in a static display. All this is done without even thinking about the songs. Then select the music. Then make a quick sketch of where I have all the lights and displays setup. Finally program the lights into the music by using the sketch and picturing in my head the lights reacting to the song.

Joe

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Randy wrote:

The first thing I did was take some good digital photos of the front of the house. I ended up taking three photos, left, center, and right. Then I imported the photos into Word and used a special feature called "Watermark" that makes the photos real dim in the document.


Randy
I like that idea. What I did this year was draw out what I wanted then took a photo of the house and enlarged it so it took up 4 8x11 sheets and the taped them to a board. I then actully drilled holes and inserted lights where i was placing them outside and tried it from there.
Greg
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I used autocad and sat in my front yard with my laptop and a tapemeasure and layed out my house in about a half an hour. Then I took my drawing and pixelated it by dividing it into 50 by 50 segments. That way I could count pixels and recreate it in LOR animation. This method worked great and was very accurate.

Good luck,

Gary Slater

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I just took a photo with my digital camera and then started labeling things in the yard.

Light-Layout-Photo-2.jpg

I added the megatree about mid-nov and then made everything (besides the star) have red, white, and green. (my star shrunk!)

housesnow-08.jpg

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RichardH wrote:

I just took a photo with my digital camera and then started labeling things in the yard.



I added the megatree about mid-nov and then made everything (besides the star) have red, white, and green. (my star shrunk!)


I wish I had snow.....:{
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djlink wrote:

Any tips on how you all setup up your lights. Do you draw out or use visio to preplan. I have a lot of bushes which are perfect for lights and that draws another question. To get the different color effect do you layer on different strands or multi color and just control each color?



I am buying a 16 or 32 channel and was looking best ways of pre laying out your light design

Also do most people seem to buy units that are pre built vers building them yourself and how much money do you really safe by building them yourself



thanks

Yes, plan plan plan! I think you'll find the final product is much better and more "efficient" for your channel use if you plan it ahead of time.

For the bushes, use a separate strand of lights for each color. However, this will eat up a lot of channels quickly. If you do 3 colors on 10 bushes, that is 30 channels! :shock: So, this is where the planning comes in. Based on how many channels you have available, plan the best layout you can for it. There are a couple of tricks you can use to reduce channels and create the "illusion" of having more, but first you need to figure out what your basic design will be. PM me if you need help. I helped another PCer plan his first year, 32 channel layout for this year.
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Hi!

I suggest u to go to stores like target, wal mart, etc... or for example here in Pachuca, Mexico where i live, we have a Sears and they bring a lot of lights and stuff like that, since october so that people buy them until christmas, but when it´s January everything is on 50 or 70% discount..!! SO!! that´s the trick! buy everything you see is cheap and u´ll find a place to put it! everything looks good when you have a li´l bit of imagination and creativity....

What we do here in my house, your house... is... MY MOM TELLS MY DAD... put this here... and this there... and there you can see my dad hanging from the ladder trying to make santa´s deers fly with nylon wire, or making the NACIMIENTO, I don´t know how to tell it in english, is with Mary Joseph and baby Jesus... because here in México it is very important to have one...

Maybe being with your family and having good ideas to put everything you´ve bought may be a good idea... like, c´mon kids let´s see how we can put this house very cute for christmas... or, something like that, I don´t know:}...

Good luck with ur display and hope we can help u!

Polita:happytree:

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OH BTW... talking about those bushes... u can put them those WEBS done with mini lights hhehehe.. that´s very good for bushes...!

:happytree:Polita

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politadiaz wrote:

[snip]
NACIMIENTO
[snip]
Polita:happytree:


Nacimientos, home made nativity scenes, are traditionally the main decoration in family homes at Christmas time. Placed on tables and decorated with Spanish moss, carved or clay images of the holy family and many other characters, Nacimientos are cherished altars.

(The English equivalent is a nativity scene, although they typically are not home made in the US.)
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Your first step is to inventory what lights and other display items you have.

This was my biggest mistake this year (first year with LOR -- and GRAND plans). I thought I had more lights than I actually did. Actually, I had plenty of lights, just too much of one kind and not enough of another...

I started programming in LOR and sketching out my ideas without an acurate idea of what I actually had to play with.

When it came time to put up lights, I couldn't put together what I wanted. I'm too cheap to buy lights at full price so I had to re-do a lot of my display when it came time to actually put it up.

Then I actually tore down 1/3 of it because I wasn't pleased with the new plans I had made at the last minute.

Finally, after a full weekend and a few late week nights, somewhere around 11pm on a Tuesday (I think) I was satisfied.

But now it was time to go back to LOR and re-sequence...

I took a digital photo of my house from a few different angles. Then traced over it on paper which I use for sketching ideas.

I measured my house, landscaping, and property so I could get a real good idea of how many lights I would need for a particular section, and how long and how many extension cords and splitters I might need.

Lots of my tracings/outlines are in Visio so I can print out another template for new ideas.

Keep good notes. Get a few file folders. Sign and date everything. I never throw ideas out as sometimes I'll revisit old ideas and work them into new plans.

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rossg10 wrote:

I like that idea. What I did this year was draw out what I wanted then took a photo of the house and enlarged it so it took up 4 8x11 sheets and the taped them to a board. I then actully drilled holes and inserted lights where i was placing them outside and tried it from there.
Greg


I like that idea as well.Can you show pictures of this, as I am trying to figure out what you used for lights (since mini's are normally 100/strand and that would be overkill)
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Well I guess I did do it differently. I decided on how many lights I wanted 50000 plus was my goal. Took my already existing count and I purchased everything else right after christmas. I wound up with 57000.

Then figured out how many controllers I needed for that many lights, worked out to about 160 channels divide by 16 equals 10 controllers. Got those early as well. I think I had everything except extension cords by March.

I picked some songs I liked and or the kids liked, and started to work.

after that it was just putting my head down and going for it. I looked at my yard and said I had this many elements (trees, fences, roof, windows, etc) I referred to as elements.

Put 4 colors on each and went to town, drew them in the Sequence editor.

Only thing I did do later on is change my mind, actually I started with 64 channels but then later decided to go more. So the best advice set a goal, Plant the flag and don't change it, stick to it, there is always next year.

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rossg10 wrote:

RichardH wrote:
I just took a photo with my digital camera and then started labeling things in the yard.



I added the megatree about mid-nov and then made everything (besides the star) have red, white, and green. (my star shrunk!)


I wish I had snow.....:{


I was thinking the exact same thing when I seen that picture (after I got my lights up of course)

Charlie
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After reading all the posts, I like the idea of taking a digital picture and using it as the base for your design. I kind of envisioned my design in my head and then drew it in on the animation viewer. I knew I wanted a mega tree, some dancing trees and multi colors on the eaves. It mushroomed from there as the excitement grew.

I recommend fully deciding on your lighting designs before hand, so you can start programming the songs. I only had 4 songs ready for the show by this Christmas.

Power needs can be a big part of the plan as well. I was concerned with burning up something so I measured the amperage on each channel when lit to compare it with my planned amperage draw. It turned out I was only drawing about 60% of what I had planned for overall.

Since this was my first year with LOR, I ended up engineering as I put up the lights. I bought extension cords and lights as I needed them. I am sure it will take only half as much time next year to put everything up. I have 16,632 lights and am using 5 controllers but only about 65 channels out of a possible 80.

I put everything on a spreadsheet to measure the amperage draw and # of lights and colors needed.

Document everything for next year!

When done, sit back and enjoy your efforts!

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