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DMX Demo at the Texas Workshop

Charles Belcher

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Charles Belcher

To anyone interested in DMX controls,

This is the set I used at the Texas Workshop in July to teach the class on "How DMX can take your Christmas display to the next level".

Even Mary Baldwin came to one of my classes.! Thanks for the support Mary!

The total number of channels was around 1900, mainly because the sixty tubes comprising the center grid in the display each required 30 channels. The 2.5 minute song on the video below was programmed on LOR S2 software and was routed through one iDMX-1000 convertor box. You would be surprised how little prgramming it takes to control the automated lighting fixtures. Ramps and intensity, ramp and intensity, ramp an intensity. I made up a series of intensities which I put at the bottom of my program so I could copy and paste them where needed.

If you have any questions, I can be found at info@lightstomusic.com

The video is here:


This is the complete list of devices I used in the demo:

1)The two inside fixtures on top of the set were High End Systems Technobeams. These are moving mirror fixtures with color wheel and gobos.
They used 18 channels and were addressed the same but I used the "invert pan" on the right side fixture so they would move in tandem.

2)The two outside fixtures on top of the set were Martin Mac 300's. These are nothing more than a moving yoke wash light. They used 9 channels and were also addressed identical with pan inverted on the right side fixture.

3)The four fixtures which lit up the columns were Elation Opti RGB color changers. They have a narrow beam and simply change colors, strobe and dim. They were addressed individually and used 7 channels each.

4)The two fixtures behind the set, lighting up the white cycs were Martin StageBar54 strip lights. They have RGB, plus white and amber which allow color temperature variation. They also strobe and dim. The units are normally used to wash large walls, but I had them turned on end to try to contain the light on the 5' x 10' white cyc. They used 5 channels each and were also individually addressed.

5)The angel was made out of incandescent rope light and was mounted on a remesh wire frame. A DMX enabled dc motor controller from BluePoint Engineering was attached to a 12v scooter battery which drove a 25 RPM dc motor from Grainger. I mounted a little 4" plastic clothsline wheel to the shaft and used 60lb Spider Wire which passed through a single pully. This unit used two channels.

6)The fog machine was a F-100 from High End Systems which are manufactured in Austin, Texas. One channel drove this machine. I normally use a chiller I made but I did not have it here because I needed the fog to rise in order to enhance the laser.

7)The snow machine was a Snow Flurry from American DJ. This machine also used one channel. Snow works best when hung as high as possible with a light above and focused downward toward the snow particles.

8)The hazer was a Chauvet Arena Hazer. This unit used three channels. Hazer differ from fog machines in that a hazer puts out microscopic particles in the air which the human eye cannot see, but a beam of light will reflect off of it and be much more pronounced. The hazer is not in the set. I placed it in the corner of the room.

9)The DMX enabled dimmer racks which powered the firework shaft and strobes as well as the angel rope light were Leprecon ULD360's. Each of the two units had 6 channels each and were addressed individually. I had a Action Lighting Storm I which was intended to be the "explosion" part of the fireworks, but for some reason the Storm and the Leprecon dimmer didn't like each other so I had to disconnect the Storm. I think the dimmer was putting out a small voltage and it caused the Storm to ghost. Time was short so I just blew that off.

I used several Storms last year in my home display and they hung 40' in the trees for two months without a problem. However, I did not use dimmers last year. Instead, I activated the Storms with 120v relays connected to a LOR 1602.

10)The laser was a RG55 made by Chauvet. It is a red/green laser but I only used the green in the demo. It has patterns which function both static and dynamic and used 8 channels. The YouTube compression has diminished the laser effect, but you will can see enough to get the idea.

11)The (60) LED tubes were the X-Curtain tubes made by Acclaim and distributed by Elation. Each tube uses 30 channels and has 10 p;ixels of RGB. These are the only DMX devices in the demo which are IP65 rated for outdoor use.

12)The media server was a Martin Maxedia. This unit fed images, video and text to the sixty LED tubes. This unit also pixel-mapped the tubes, then used the map to launch the content across the tubes and playback was handled by only 24 DMX channels.

13)Finally, I had a Pathways Connectivity DMX Manager Plus! which created four separate DMX universes after the iDMX-1000, which in turn drove the 1800 channels required by the tubes.


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Charles, I saw the video last week, that was an amazing display. Great job. Thanks for the fixture info. The hazer/laser combo may be in order for 2009. How does it work outdoors?

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Charles Belcher

zman wrote:

Charles, I saw the video last week, that was an amazing display. Great job. Thanks for the fixture info. The hazer/laser combo may be in order for 2009. How does it work outdoors?

Haze, fog and snow don't work very well outdoor if you are trying to effect a large area unless there is absolutley no wind. Haze is the worst about working outdoor.

I will probably enclose the laser in some sort of waterproof enclosure and mount it to a tree at the curb and and focus the beam on the house. That way I will be able to see the beam as it bounces off of the house and not have to rely on fog or haze to see it. I will use three snow machines this year up high in the trees and just turn on the one "upwind" on windy nights and use all three on still nights.

I have a dryer hose distribution system for my fog and it is up close to the house and behind the shrubs so containment is pretty good. It worked very well last year, so I will do the same thing this year.

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