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Where to Start?


Judy
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A true beginner here and first time in the forum. Just don't know where to start.

What comes first. Do you create the sequence on the computer then put up the lights or do the lights all have to be installed before creating the sequence?

Did you create a design of every string of lights first , then sequence building second?
Any advice is sure appreciated. Thank you
Judy

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Judy -

You need to start by figuring out where all of your lights are going to go. Roof outlines, trees, windows, doors, porches, fences, everything. Once you have that all laid out and committed to paper (or computer) then you can start building sequences, using the layout that you have drawn. Remember that if you will have a (for example) tree that has 2 or 3 or 4 different color strings of lights on in, you will want to account for 4 channels, so that you will be able to turn each color on individually.

Hope this helps to get you started.

D.T.

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Hi Judy, I'm sort of in the same boat as you. The first thing I did was to try and remember all of the christmas decorations that I have from last year. Luckily, I take pictures every year so that wasn't too tough.

Then I did pretty much what D.T. suggested by plotting everything out using a computer program so that I could experiment with what I wanted prior to digging everything out of the attic.

The biggest hurdle for me was learning to ues the LOR software. Once you figure out what you are doing with that, the rest is just running the extension cords and powering up the lights, depending on your setup.

I haven't received my kits yet so I still have a long way to go but I do have some sequences done for when I get them!

Steve

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Thanks Dave. Once I draw the lay out - then I would have to assign the number of strings to each item, ie: tree, arch and figure the exact number of lights on each string I guess?
From what I've read, a mega tree that is 20 feet high will take an entire controller?

Then start the sequence building. The site at the bottom of your reply looks great.
Judy

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Judy wrote:


From what I've read, a mega tree that is 20 feet high will take an entire controller?

Judy


Judy,

That may be true, depending.......on how many colors, how many strings, etc

I use 3 full contrilers plus 12 channels from a 4th controller for my 20 ft megatree.

Some use more channels, some use less. It depends on how many controllers you have to devote to the megatree and how many lights / colors you put on it.

I understand that this can seem overwhelming trying to grasp the concepts when you first start, but it will get easier and start making more sense.

Don't hesitate to ask questions here. All of us were beginners once, and will be glad to help.
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Judy wrote:

Thanks Dave. Once I draw the lay out - then I would have to assign the number of strings to each item, ie: tree, arch and figure the exact number of lights on each string I guess?
From what I've read, a mega tree that is 20 feet high will take an entire controller?

Then start the sequence building. The site at the bottom of your reply looks great.
Judy


Correct Judy, you want to know exactly (really, EXACTLY) what you will be attaching to each channel of your controllers. This will help you keep track of power usage, so you don't over load a channel or controller. As JBullard said, channel usage on a mega tree will depend on a lot of factors, including number of "slices", number of colors of lights, and any extras you might add (a 3 channel star at the top, strobes in the tree, etc). My trees use 48 channels each, 4 colors and 12 "slices" for each tree.

Once you have how you want your display to look laid out, and you have figured out where everything is going to go, then you can start sequencing your music.

Good Luck, and have fun.

D.T.
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Rick Hughes

I'll chime in here as well.

I urge you to start small and let your ideas and display grow as the years progress. For example, you might have your display essentially the same as last year, but add just the mega tree, animate that, and do it very well.

Then next year let the animation take over another element like the outline of the house. And the year after that animate the bushes or trees or whatever.

This will be my 5th year using LOR. I started with 32 channels and that was more than enough to keep me busy learning around power management, extension cord management, LOR sequencing, and overall design.

This year I'll be at 256 channels. Each year I've either converted more of my display to LOR or added something. I've still got enough ideas to be making changes for another year or two.

Good luck. It's a very satisfying undertaking ... just make sure you are enjoying it and not becoming overly stressed because of it.

Rick

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George Simmons

Hi Judy,

Another newbie chiming in... What worked well for me is first deciding how many channels total you'll be working with and then deciding what you want to do with those channels. I agree that if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point, its a good idea to start small. If you haven't yet viewed the videos on this site, that should be your first step. Look at as many as you can and decide which things you like and/or which things will work given your house/yard.

I've been putting up a rather extensive static display each year, so it was pretty easy for me to decide what I wanted to do. Originally, I was planning on either 32 or 64 channels. But as I got farther and farther into it, that kind of blossomed into 144 channels awfully easily. Most of the veterans here would probably caution about taking such a big first step, and maybe that's the best course of action if you don't already have an extensive decorating background.

Assuming you're using the new version of the LOR software, the first thing you'll want to do is import a picture of your house/yard into the animation. Then, after you've determined how many channels you want to use, draw in where you want to put your lights. (Be sure to save your work often - drawing lights in the animation can be tedious and having to do it twice is a drag. ) Once you've gotten that far, then its time to start sequencing. That's when the fun treally starts - when you can playback what you've done and see how it will look.

As someone already said, keep it fun. A little stress is normal. A little confusion while you're learning is normal. If the stress and confusion get too much, take a day or two off. I think its addicting, so much so that I've all but stopped playing games on the computer. Or maybe I've finally found the ultimate game...

George Simmons

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After I decided to go LOR. I did the usual and drew a sketch of my layout based on the Christmas decor I had. I had a plan but it changed when my wife suggested I take a picture of my house from the vantage point I wanted/expected others to view it from. I printed it out and drew in the decor...the reindeer, mini trees, the wreath over the second story window. Everything was drawn in. By the time I was placing all my items up on December 1, 2006 I knew what angle to line the trees up at and where the reindeer needed to be so they did not block each other.

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  • 4 months later...

Hi George:

I'm back at it. Have all my lights up - nothing plugged in yet.
Two quick questions to your reply earlier:

You said to "import a picture of your house/yard into the animation"

Firstly, how do you import the picture. I guess I begin by scanning it onto computer but then what?

Secondly, since I'm working on a "musical" sequence, will the import of picture idea work with this as well. I'm a little confused because you said animation sequence.

Any help from anybody out there is greatly appreciated. The overwhelming stage has arrived.. Take care.
Judy

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George Simmons

After creating a musical sequence file, click on the "View Animation" button and then on the lower left of the screen you'll see a "Background image" section. Click on "Select" and then find the picture file of your house and set the grid resolution you want. (You can't change the grid resolution after your initial choice. Personally, I use the finest possible grid resolution.)

Sorry for the confusion of terms. I was referring to musical sequences, although you can import a picture for either type of sequence. When I used the term "animation" I was referring to the visualizer view, not the type of sequence.

In the animation view, you can then draw in your lights so when you begin sequencing and play back your work you can see somewhat how things will look.

It's getting rather late to just be at the stage of starting your sequencing - for most people that's what takes the longest. You might want to check out lightoramasequences.com or another such site and download something that others have posted that you can modify for your yard.

Good luck.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi

I'm sortof a newbie at this too and i was wondering what kind of computer you use for the show. What would be a good laptop i could buy that would just be used for my display? Are there any special requirements? Thanks:)

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George Simmons

I'm currently using a 4-year old CompaQ model with a Pentium 4 processor. I'm not sure the computer itself is as important as the OS. I'm running Windows XP on my show machine. I purchased a laptop for sequencing this summer loaded with Vista and I've had problems with that machine - I wish I'd have spent the few extra bucks at the time to have it loaded with XP instead of Vista. Hopefully, there are more technically inclined people than myself hanging around here who can advise you more professionally.

George Simmons

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