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Synchronizing Videos with Light O Rama’s S2


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[align=center]Synchronizing Videos with Light O Rama’s S2[/align]

With the release of Light O Rama’s latest version of it’s software, it’s users for the first time were given the opportunity to use videos in conjunction with their musical sequences. I should warn you in advance it is not easy or cheap. If you want to do this, one needs a computer with two high quality video outputs, and a relatively “fast” CPU with decent amount of memory because of the extra stuff going on. I would also recommend you may want to turn off your anti-virus and any other non-essential programs while running your shows. If you are concerned about viruses, just disconnect your Internet connection while running your “show”. Lastly, and most importantly, you need to have access to or purchase a video projector. Where I live, in Illinois, it isn’t feasible to have a video projector outside in the winter nor do most of us want it walk away so, I set mine up in an interior room and project onto a Mylar (drafting paper) covered window from the inside of my house (I’ve heard one could use any “milky” plastic with good results, too). I believe you can also project out of a window to a surface, but I haven’t tried that. Last year, I projected Darryl Brown’s DVD Santa onto the screen in an endless loop and my younger and young-at-heart viewers were giddy, enthusiastic and ecstatic! One of my reasons for the change up this year- MTV meets LOR.

To set up S2, go to Edit, Preferences, Video Preferences, Display Videos, then press Select Monitor. Move your mouse on to the second monitor’s desktop or your projector’s screen and “click” on it. That selects the video card that is associated with where you want the “projector” to be. Next go to View, Videos and check Show Videos and lastly Full screen when you are all ready to go. The last configuration is save as the default for the future.

I have been working since last spring trying to incorporate as many videos as I could into my show with varying degrees of success, and have learned some tricks that I thought I would share with others. Not to imply that I’m an expert nor is this the only way to do this, not to re-invent the wheel. Here are some of the things I have found:

First, Ken Good, an Animated Lighting enthusiast, has devoted part of his website to a “video sharing” coop where you can download and/or post videos. This was the source of many of my videos and a couple of my submissions.

Secondly, one can “rip” or capture video form DVDs to get the “best” source material. The legality of this may not be on firm ground, so I am not going into any detail here. You can find many ideas cruising the Internet as how to do this. Once you have it “ripped” I used Moviemaker or other video editing software to put the music with the “video”.

A less desirable method involves using SnagIt or Camtasia Studio to “capture” your screen and then convert and save it in a usable format. By doing this, one trades off resolution in the final product.

It is not possible to find a video for every song you have done so another option is to generate stills from movies and then use a program like DVD Santa or Pro Show Gold to add audio to the “stills”. This program will generate a slideshow like output that matches the length of your song. This is a huge advantage, because from my experience, videos almost never match up in length to their songs files. Which translates to even if you have the sequences made, get ready to change their length, put in “dead time” at the beginning or end and re-sequence them for the “right” length. One could also use past Christmas pictures of your family or from the Internet for your show. You could even “edit” these pictures with information on top of your show – your name, hours, FM frequency, etc. More on a variation of this later…

S2 also lets one use Windows media player to project its visualizer onto the screen, but personally, I think that this would get old and boring very quickly. I did capture an iTunes visualizer screen with one song I couldn’t find a video for only because the new iTunes 8 visualizer is awesome, I wanted something extra to “show off” that particular song and I am planning to only do one video that way.

Finally, let’s assume that you have a mixture of regular music sequences and some new video ones; now you have some options a) a regular night and ;) a video night c) mixing the two. Now keep in mind, you have to manually turn your projector on and while you are running your music “shows” it , by default, projects your desktop on to the screen, so you probably want to make it “black” so nothing shows up.

Then I got an inspiration! My idea was to try a wallpaper changer with some different “Christmas” pictures. Lo and behold it worked and worked great!!! So you can run your “video” show and when a music sequence starts it changes to the wallpaper mode; flipping through your pictures - again these could be Christmas ones, public announcements, family ones or a mixture. There is a small screen that pops up for a brief moment that I can’t explain, but that is like a minor annoyance for me. Some final suggestions: keep both desktops the same size (or it will mess up the picture sizes), and I chose to change pictures every 3-4 minutes. I used a freeware program called AllWallpaperLite to do this then downloaded some Christmas backgrounds to use with it.

I thought I would post this on and get some feedback from this site’s members before I post it on the net. Lorsequences.com also has a video tutorial for doing videos under S2 tutorials. It is well done and very informative.

Please contact me with any suggestions, ideas and/or comments. Good luck and have a great Christmas lighting season! I may be slow to respond right now as I, like everyone else, am hustling to get lights up.

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Great tut, you have seen my work so I won't going into detail of it right now because I am short on time and you know how it was done. Unless someone is interested in knowing. I have done my in a different manner as far as creating the video and animation then what was listed above. When I get some time I will list some other alternatives.

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Texan78 has a great alternative to my method with awesome custom graphics and audio. Two different approaches by two different people that S2 works with flawlessly. Watch for Texan78's tutorial on this as I'm sure it will be outstanding !!!

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