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8 Foot VU Meter


mcascio
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So call me a geek, but I have a tShirt that has an equalizer on it. So I wondered what would be the easiest way to build one for integration into the light show.

Here's what I came up with.

Basic Hardware (Most items purchased at Menards)
> Qty 14 - C9 25 Count sets (10 Green - 4 Red) (you could fit 8 channels or a total of 16 if you wanted)
> Qty 2 - Rubbermaid 16" x 8' Linen Rack
> 8 and 10 foot extension Cords
> Zip ties

Originally I was trying to figure out how to make the bulbs spaced equally to create the straightly line effect. I was pondering all different types of ideas and all of them required lots of work.


So in the end, I just mounted the C9's right out of the box onto the Linen racks using zip ties. Popped the cords out the side of the rack, then ran the extension cords down to individual LOR units also zip tied to the Rack. The rack was hung off the brick. I stabilized the bottom with some crank straps.

I was looking for Orange C9's in the package, then I probably would have gone to 8 channels on a side and inserted them inbetween the green and red colors, but never found them. Only option would have been to purchase a green color and buy all the lights separately. I decided with the amount of power these C9's use, 7 channels on a side would work out fine.


I ended up removing one bulb from each strand in order to make the effect look even...12 bulbs in each row. Then put a C9 cap on them. The cool part is that by leaving them in the rows out of the box, you end up double the look and feel because there are two rows per channel. The rack made it extremely easy to get them lined up perfectly. I just skipped 3 spaces in between each set.


In the end, I couldn't be more happy with the results. I've got quite a few interesting songs in my show list like: Axel F, Eye of the Tiger, Pump Up the Volume, Stayin Alive, and other non-traditional songs that lend them selves well to the VU meter/equalizer.

I haven't had a chance to shoot any night shots, but here are some of the early construction and mounted photos.



Attached files 163646=9452-P1040109_small.jpg

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Thanks Jeff.

I've just posted my first YouTube video.



No sound but the video is decent enough for you to see it working. I'll try to capture something with cleaner sound dubbed over next.
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Thanks again Guys.

Just posted a full video of the Bee Gees Stayin Alive. In this song I didn't use the VU Meter in typical fashion:



I setup a video camera outside this year so I could program the lights from the inside of a warm house. So this is still first run without modifying the sequence after seeing it live outside at night. I've got quite a few changes to make, but its a good start.
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Way cool!

Did you use the VU wizard for any sequences? The best I could do was slide the bar gradually up (right) and select the next channel in order to simulate a light meter.

A cool new lor feature would be a VU EQ wizard which has frequency range options. It would be a neat way to assign particular notes to channels.

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Thanks Darin.

ItsMeBobO wrote:

Way cool!

Did you use the VU wizard for any sequences? The best I could do was slide the bar gradually up (right) and select the next channel in order to simulate a light meter.

A cool new lor feature would be a VU EQ wizard which has frequency range options. It would be a neat way to assign particular notes to channels.


I played around with it briefly but didn't end up using it. It appeared like you said that I would have to assign range for each light set one at time rather than an overall setting. So I'd have to document the range and then run it 14 times.

Once I had the beats down, it was easy to cut and paste through out the song and allowed me complete control over the desired effect.

I'm working on getting another video uploaded to YouTube...shouldn't be too much longer. I imagine a lot more people may have something similar in their show next year...so maybe we can lobby LOR to add some more functionality to take advantage of the audio in a better way.
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Ok - just got it uploaded. It appears the audio gets slightly skewed on the YouTube version. First week with YouTube so I may have some kinks. :D

Here's the Olympic Fanfare sequence that has a few closeups of the EQ - again this one is not truly simulating a VU meter, but used for an effect.



I've got a row of evergreens (10-15' tall) that each year are getting bigger. Not sure how many more years I have left before my house is blocked from the road view. There are 100 watt floodlights on the row that are assigned the horn section. So I tried to edit the video appropriately with a few cut away shots. I live on a pretty busy road where cars go by at about 50 mph. The optimimum video shot is in the middle of the road. :) I might have to get more creative with my next video and get on a tall ladder to get above the tree line.
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Ok Folks.

Lots of new videos uploaded to YouTube and some still in process. Stop by:
http://www.youtube.com/cinemarinc

The Larry Levan shows off the simulated VU meter.

Also uploaded, THX Robot, Eye of the Tiger, and the Muppets Christmas Queen. I have a few more that I'm preparing as well.

Check them out and let me know what you think.

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Jeff Millard wrote:

Your display is incredible! There are so many things I like about it. Miss Piggy, Eric Cartman (just how bad did you want to try Mr Garrison singing Merry ____ing Christmas? LOL) The white minis around the base of the mega. Everything.

Bravo! A wonderful thing you've created! Thank you for sharing it with us. If I blatently copy 45 to 70% of it, I appologize in advance!

Merry Christmas!

Jeff


Thanks Jeff.

I appreciate the kind words. Feel free to borrow whatever you like. That's the great part about having online forums like this. Being able to learn and share new ideas. I'm still trying to upload my Axel F sequence to YouTube. But due to copyrights on that song, it's blocking it.

Every year I say I'm not going to add any more controllers and before you know it I've added two more and created lots more work for myself. I'm gonna have to add a pole barn just to start storing all the christmas items. I do get a little more organized each year. Labeling extension cords and clear rubbermaid bins certainly helps!
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  • 1 year later...

Well since Youtube won't let me keep the Bee Gee's Stayin Alive video up I've posted it online. I entered the LOR contest with it in 2008 but I don't think they ever got it since it's not on their website either.

It makes great use of the VU Meters originall from this post.

Check it out:

http://www.cinemarsolutions.com/cinemartheater/Cascio_2008_BeeGees_StayinAlive.wmv

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Very cool idea and nice videos!

This reminds me of an idea I had, we really need a way to sync channels / light intensities to the actual wave of the music.

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mcascio wrote:

So call me a geek, but I have a tShirt that has an equalizer on it. So I wondered what would be the easiest way to build one for integration into the light show.




Your profile does not show where you are, but feel free to come to my house and root around in my closet and dresser and see what ideas my clothes will give ya, I'll buy lunch and beverages. Do you think you could get any ideas my my old stained t-shirts?? Fantastic job!!! I'm impressed.
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csf,

Thanks. Someone did create a windows media player plugin that ties into LOR in real-time. I had limited success with it and there was really no way to integrate into the other parts of my show since it was more standalone.



shfr26,

Sometimes inspiration can come from the wierdest places. But I'm not sure how inspired I'll be smelling your old stained t-shirts. :D

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I will make sure they are clean and smell good for ya. Thanks for putting in your location.

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mcascio wrote:

Someone did create a windows media player plugin that ties into LOR in real-time. I had limited success with it and there was really no way to integrate into the other parts of my show since it was more standalone.

Ah, yes. You must be talking about LorVis. I think I still have it somewhere on my computer here. I played with it a few times and was able to make a makeshift EQ display and it worked OK for the most part, but like you say, it may be somewhat difficult to integrate into a display.
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I played around with the LorVis. Does anyone know of a plugin of some kind with iTunes? A club I belong to that supports youth programs is having an '80s dance on March 6th and I've been volunteered to be the DJ. I thought it would be cool to use one of my controllers and lights dance to the music but obviously don't want to sync each song.

I'd rather use iTunes then Media Player as I'm playing the music.

Jeff

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Jeff,

I don't think it supports iTunes, but I haven't played with it in a while. You'd probably want to do some searches to to make sure no other software is out there.

Here's one idea...not sure if it'll work.

You could see if the windows media player version works when using an audio input as opposed to just playing a file. If it did, you might be able to output the audio from iTunes (on one PC) into a second PC that has windows media player and your LOR setup.

Somewhat complicated and may not work, but could be worth a shot to get the end result you are looking for.

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Thanks for the idea! I've been playing with it today and I've had some success.

I found a plug-in for Meida Player that will play the input in the visualizer and it controls the lights! I couldn't get anyhing the line-in plug to work on my Vista machine (LORVis worked fine!) but I was able to install it on an old laptop running Windows 2000.

I had to install Windows Media Player 9.0 (what the plug-in was written for anyway) but with everything hooked up, I was getting results.

The problem is the visualizer was "pausing" alot so it really loses the effect. I may try to run it on some old PC's I have laying around to see if it is any better.

I couldn't find any LOR plugins for iTunes or WinAmp.

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