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steve.schwartz
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Read, read and read some more. This is the place to start. I have copied one of my post concerning things that were hard to find. Some may not agree with the suggestions, and perhaps when you go beyond 48 channels you may need to rethink some things (all this hopefully will make sense once you read below). 

I will have to purchase at least 2 perhaps 3 songs this year. I started in February, but just was a slow learner concerning setting up my channels. 

 

From one of my post in August 2013 - Note Red text is new: 

 

Here is my two cents worth. I am new this year too, but I have been working on sequencing since January. I have a couple of songs that are okay, but as I get more experience (and time) they will get better.  This takes just as much time as others have stated. I am working on Andy Williams;  "It's a Wonderful Most Wonderful Time of  the Year". This is the first sequence I started from scratch and it has been a real challenge. I only have 32 channels and this song has take at least 11 hours so far and I think it will take another 2-3 before it is done. This is a good song for me because the beat is very easy. 

Two things to keep in mind:

One is detailed below.

Two - learn to use the Visualizer early on and take a good photo of your house to import to it. Take the photo in daylight (you might assume that it would look better darker) as you can change the "brightness" of the photo to simulate it being dark in the Visualizer. 

 

One of the things I do not often, if ever, see posted to newbies (or any where other than suggestions from LOR) is the arrangement of your lights. Here's what I mean. This is so important. 

You have to decide where on your home and in your yard your lights will be, but you have to think first in channels and then in strings of lights.  Watch a lot of the videos for and observe the patterns you see. You may see rolling patterns, especially in songs like Christmas Eve/Sarajevo by TSO.  Or lots of flashing in the drum rolls in "Amazing Grace" by DJ Yule. 

LOR suggest you think in groups of 4 and this works well for their sequences. Perhaps your roof line, depending on your house type, can be broken up into the first 4 channels then four windows or 3 and a garage door, etc.  If you have a single 16 channel controller you will have 4 groups of 4.

This has made sequencing so much easier than a hoge-poge of channels with no specific scheme. Believe me, this will work for any song and it will make life easier. 

I had a hard time finding the PDF below. You might want to save it for future reference. 

There is a chance that I am over complicating the process, but I want controlled patterns (and there are plenty of setups that don't appear to have any rhyme or reason to their patterns - I have seen a lot of videos with too many lights on at any given time and I just hope it looks better in person than the videos).  

 

This is from LOR. http://pinpoint.lor2...t48Channels.pdf

 

By the way, I am having to redo my sequencing because I am changing my layout to the suggested groups of 4. 

 

I hope this helps. I would have appreciated this kind of advice earlier on, but the help that the LOR veterans have shared has more than made up for it. I don't think I have ever been involved with a hobby that has so many willing to help.

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Zeighty gave you some great advice. Just a couple of things that I would modify based on your plan to buy sequences:

1. Choose a layout that is the same or very similar to the layout suggested by LOR. This way you won't have to modify their sequences to 'fit' your layout.

2. Based on the fact that you are a newbie, and that this hobby is very addicting, I predict that next year you may want to expand and customize your display next year, I recommend that you purchase the sequences that you can modify.

Some may tell you that you have started too late to have a display for this year. I disagree. If you start simple and don't want to use home made props or program your own sequences, you should have time. But start NOW! It will take a little time to get over the learning curve. It's better to start now rather than panic at Thanksgiving because you are still figuring things out.

Welcome to this exciting new world!

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Zeighty I agree with LORiP. You can also go to WOWLights and look at their sequences and layouts. This is just another site to see other options. As LORiP said, this is an additive hobby. I started last year myself in September with a starter package for WOWlights and after receiving my order and playing with it, I ordered another controller with in a few weeks and upgraded my software and was able to put on a show. Then after the Christmas show last year I ordered another controller and 8 CCP's. Goes to show how I got addicted. But don't go by me. Go at your own pace and have fun. Expand at your you own rate. The excitement of the first car to stop and watch really gets you going.  LOL

Welcome. 

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Thanks for the support. Not sure why there was so much blank space in my post, but it could have something to do with me falling asleep while sequencing and waking only to hit the "Post" button at almost 2AM. 

 

I thought about my experience since February and have a few more things to share. Forgive me for being so verbose. I know that I have listed things here that were posted by others somewhere on this forum, but I did not find the them and learned some of it the hard way. Who knows what I will learn once the show is up and running. 

 

Learn the software. Watch the videos. Learn the keyboard shortcuts (Very helpful). Learn to use the select function to only play a portion of the sequence using the space bar. 

 

I do my work on a MacBook using VirtualBox to run Windows XP Pro. My screen is 15". If that is your circumstance, then here is a tip concerning the Visualizer:

 

Open the Sequence editor and Visualizer programs. Make the SE full screen (middle button top left of screen). Then click the middle button again. Size that window smaller and drag it to most of the way off the screen only showing the from the player controls and time scale up. This will give you quick access to watch what you changed and then hitting the maximize button to see editing full screen; hit it again and it moves down out of the way. 

 

I agree with the purchasing sequences that you can modify. I have one that is not, and i doubt that I will do that again; drives me crazy. 

 

 

My second controller came from WOWLights during their summer sale this year. It was a good price and their shipping was cheaper than LOR. I did look at their sequences and layout. They are very centric around specific items such as a Santa face, mega tree and arches. I don't have any of those and don't plan to for a couple of years. 

I like LOR suggested layout. It is all based on groups of four. It really does not matter where each group is, just that each channel location would be complimentary to one another.  This gives you, in my opinion, a lot of flexible options in sequencing. 

 

My groupings are simple: 

Channels 1-4 are gutter line, including the canopy of a tree that blocks part of the gutter line. 

Channels 5-8 are Windows and above my garage door. 

Channels 9-12 are my arbor, porch, shrub below tree, garage door. 

Channels 13-16 are 4 small  trees with all white lights. 

Controller 2 

Channels 1- 12 are 4 small trees with Red, Green and blue lights. 

Channel 13-15 are open for contingency purposes.

Channel 16 is my Manger flood light 

 

By the way, as I stressed in my post above. Do not underestimate the time to sequence a song. The part that might not be obvious is it may take just as much time to modify someone else's sequence as it would just to start from scratch. I even purchased one from ebay  not realizing the time required to modify it for my layout.  The free sequences are good for learning and I am sure as I get more experience the modification time may drastically decrease. I am not sure if I will purchase another one without knowing the specific layout to see what kind of time it will take to use it in my show.  

 

Again, to all... sorry for the diatribe. I hope it helps even in some small way. 

Edited by zeighty
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Thanks for all the much appreciated support. I have already been looking at how the channels will go on the house. I am going to keep it simple. as a matter of fact, the layout you sent me is a pretty close match to my house. I want this to be fun so I will wait until next year to build the trees and arches. I am going to buy 3 or 4 sequences this year and see how it goes. I will see how the neighbors feel about the experience and grow accordingly . I am so happy that there are people such as yourselves that are here for me. Thanks:   Steve

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So: I am 2 weeks into this new world and I feel really good about it. I ordered and received my controller and cables, downloaded audacity, downloaded 2 songs , converted them to constant bit and did a sequence.

 I am not done because I keep finding little changes that make a big difference. I am still trying to get the visualizer to work right. It seems that I only have 4 channels. I assigned 16 channels to different sets of lights, 4 groups of 4,  the but it seems that no matter what I do the channels won't work independently. When it is time for the rt. gutter lights to come the whole roof lights up. I'll keep trying because it is going to be a great tool when I get it right. Thanks for all the advise and support. It is a lot of work, butit is fun.

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There's certainly a learning curve to this hobby but its well worth it when the kids, grandkids or neighborhood kids see the results and start dancing to the lights. Its even better when neighbors stop by and ask how we accomplished it or so many others thinking it was done by a professional christmas light decorating company.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I really like the LOR software.. Very easy to use..

I need to order some LED lights for my show this year (I know getting a late start). Should I go Pure White or Warm White? I bet it’s a personal preference topic but just curious.

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It all depends on how your yard/house appear in your wishes. Good example here at my home was I didn't wish to afford 32 RGB strings for my megatree, times 2, so I went with "multi" strings of LED's so I get all the colors anyway and it looks nice. Not as fancy as RGB or CCR's but the average person driving by, doesn't care. They will just see the sparkling lights going to the music.

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