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DMX based animation software?

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Honestly I need something more stable and professional.

The professional protocol in the lighting industry is DMX. Even AL and LOR controllers are DMX compatible.

I ran into so many problems on a professional job this last year that I became fed up and I want to switch to the professional standard.

I talked to a few lighting guys over at Universal Studios and they were very open about the fact that they're using Animated Lighting control boxes but a DMX interface.

That pretty much settled it for me.

Don't get me wrong, I love what we do and I've gotten very good working through the issues of AD and AL but I need to keep moving forward.

Plus I want snow machines ;)

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I am a lighting guy myself...and I use DMX all the time (100x more often than AL). If you were to go the DMX route, there could be the potential for thousands of dollars of investment just to get a console and playback system that will do want you want.

When I initially started thinking about doing my display, I was going to try and use DMX, but I ran into a roadblock for creating a show control system that would run the lights each day at specified times, and be able to have everything synchronized to timecode.

The first thing to consider is the console you want to use. If you really want to go the professional route, you are going to want to look into FPS HogIII Line or MALighting GrandMA. Both of these console lines are what the professionals have at all the major lighting shops around the world, and are being actively used on all the major tours. I am proficient on each console and can't really decide which one would be the best for christmas lights. Both lines have a PC component, so you don't need to spend all the money for the faceplate. Each console can sync themselves to LTC Timecode, which would be needed to trigger your cues. In these consoles, you need to create your cues before attaching timecode to them, so unlike Animation Director, you can't just click out all your cues, and then add lights to each of them.

At Disney's Hollywood Studios, The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is done with AL boxes and a FPS Hog III console. The show uses timecode, but is not automatically triggered...there is someone sitting in the control booth pressing play every time they want to do another one of the animated songs. In order to get it to all be animated in a home based display (without someone sitting there pressing play) you would need some type of show control system in place. As I said before...This was my roadblock when I initially considered doing a holiday display. Now that I have more experience with show control, I could get a system working without much trouble, but I don't have the time to re-program the half dozen songs I have on my AL system.

So this is just my $0.02 on this topic...If you want to know more about anything specific, let me know.


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Honestly I need something more stable and professional.

Can we ask what the intended use is? Is the commercial or residential? What controllers do you have now? Do you have DMX only devices to drive, if so, how many channels? Is the show interactive or scheduled?

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This is all preliminary investigations. Most likely I would be using these for commercial venues. I currently run AL hardware and software on all my projects, which has been both a positive and difficult experience.

Obviously there will be clients who can and cannot afford the expensive DMX system but I want to have the option there and the knowledge to run it.

I want to be able to use DMX specialty equipment and standard LOR or AL control boxes instead of having to go through all these adapters and such. The DMX system is just so much more stable and it's the standard.

I really appreciate your input DMXwidget! Let's talk more :)

I'll PM you!

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