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Joker4452

Need help deciding what software to use

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Break it down to me!!!

What are the pros and sons of the 3 main sequencing softwares!!!

This is my first year and I want to start with what has what I want, though I do not even know what that is yet!

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First you need to decide what you want do do with your display. Then look at each of the types of controllers that you will need. Then pick the software that will run those controllers. Each of the software programs have their own pro's and con's and people can get very passionate able what they like or dislike. I would try out each one's demo's and then pick the one that you like and need.

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There are a few questions you need to ask yourself.

1: How many channels do you want

2: Are you going to use RGB and RGB pixel based lights

3: what controllers are you using and what will speak to those controllers from the computer, ie; LOR, DMX, E1.31

4: What elements do you have or will have, ie; matrix, pixel mega tree, ect

5: The level of programming complexity and features you are wanting from the software

6: Your personal skill level with software packages and computers

7: Minimum computer spec that you want to run the software on

There will be other questions you may need to ask yourself depending on what you want to achieve. But know what you want from the software first as there is no use paying for features you may not use or require.

And yes take a look at the demos and see which one has a better feel for you as the Graphic user interface (GUI) may be a very important consideration for you.

Personally i used LightShow Pro due to its rich feature set and ability to handle and manage large RGB channel counts and matrix tools.

The other things to be aware of is that the software was lacking behind the hardware capabilities in 2010 and there are many software upgrades being worked on for 2011 that should help make sequencing high RGB channel counts much easier. For me im looking forward to LightShow Pro Version 2 which promises to be great piece of software.

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Personally i used LightShow Pro due to its rich feature set and ability to handle and manage large RGB channel counts and matrix tools.

The other things to be aware of is that the software was lacking behind the hardware capabilities in 2010 and there are many software upgrades being worked on for 2011 that should help make sequencing high RGB channel counts much easier. For me im looking forward to LightShow Pro Version 2 which promises to be great piece of software.

Light-O-Rama is also releasing a new revamped version of their software this year, but I'm not sure of the date and what all will be incorporated into it yet.

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The software depends on which hardware you choose(LOR, Animated Lighting, D-Light, or DIY)

For LOR:

Their software is the best and easiest for syncing. I use it to sync all of my lights. It can be a bit intimidating at first, but after a while, it gets easy to use. It is the best way to go if you want to use LOR controllers.

Price: $49.95-$139.95 (there is a free demo too, it has everything but you cannot run a show from it)

For Animated Lighting:

I haven't ever used their software because their hardware is WAY to expensive for me. I'm not trying to put them down or anything, but I cannot afford any of their controllers.

Price: If I remember correctly its somewhere around $500.00 last I checked. I couldn't find the software on their website.

For D-Light:

Aurora is technically their software, but it has kind of been left behind and forgot about. I personally don't like it much. But their controllers work perfectly will LOR. Their protocals are pretty much the same.

Price: Free, but the software has not been updated for a long time and many controllers are "too updated" to run with the software.

For DIY:

Vixen is the most popular DIY software. It has its advantages and disadvanges. I don't like it because(and this is gonna sound stupid if you've never synced before) it highlights the area you want on and then you have to select if you want that area to be on, off, fading, or whatever effect. To where LOR you just select the effect you want, and then select areas you want that effect, and you can do the entire sequence with it. (It sounds confusing, but it would make more sense if you synced with both Vixen and LOR) Also, I used it this past Christmas, and I had to be there every night when the show started because there were a tong of COM port problems.

Price: Free, there would be an updated version coming out sometime soon (v3.0) which is a total re-write, so there may be new features that will help this software really take off.

Another option for almost any controller you can think of is LightShow Pro:

I don't like LSP(LightShow Pro) that much because it really doesn't run well on my computer(and my computer isn't a cheap computer) And it couldn't run my 32 channel show last Halloween from my netbook. If you are planning on having a lot of RGB lights, I would highly suggest trying LSP out because on of it's strong points is RGB. They have all kinds of different ways to easily sync RGB lights. Plus there are a ton of really cool features(like being able to connect to your iPod, iPhone, or iPad and controlling your show) that are included with the software.

Price: $129.00 regularly (right now it is on sale for $79.00, I bought it last year for around $80)

xLights:

xLights is an awesome piece of software. It cannot sync lights (yet) but it can run your show for you. It can run LOR, D-Light, and DIY equipment(like Renard controllers and DMX controllers). It can run a video too if you want to sync your show to a video. It has an awesome scheduling tool. And I haven't ever had any problems with Com ports. Great piece of software.

Price: Free

This is my current set up:

Sync with LOR.

Run show with xLights.

Hope this helps. If you want more information about each software, PM me. I know a lot about most of the softwares I have mention(all but the Animated Lighting software) and there are still more softwares and systems out there that I haven't mentioned.

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I just went through this decision process, and spent a fair amount of time playing with the demos of LOR and LSP. Remember, these are the opinions of a fellow newbie. For now I will only be using LOR controllers. I found the interface, visualizations, and ease of effect mapping in LSP quite compelling. With LSP the visualizer setup is integrally linked to the sequencer. If you apply a red left to right sweep effect, for instance, and tell it to map to the whole display the sequencer looks at the visualizer to determine where red elements are placed and then maps the gradients to the correct channels. Sure, you can arrange your channels in LOR so that it is easy to do a similar sweep, but what if you change your mind and want to do a top left to bottom right sweep? With LSP it's all handled for you, with LOR it requires a lot of manual work and careful planning (as near as I can tell from my experience, anyhow). I find the workflow of LSP a little more intuitive, too. For instance when you drag to create timing marks the audio scrubs so you can precisely place the mark. The downside of LSP seems to be stability and the performance demands. I decided to buy LOR S2 Basic Plus for now for a few reasons. 1) I don't have enough channels to need the fancy sweeps and transitions I like so much in LSP. 2) I don't have a high performance computer to run my show on (and don't want to sacrifice my Macbook for those duties), so LOR's lower demands are appealing. 3) I don't want to risk my show not running because of bugs. Mind you, I have not personally experienced much in the way of problems with LSP, but have read too many concerns from other users (even on LSP's forums). I do plan on buying LSP at some point, even if only to import my LOR sequences, apply the effects I want, and export to LOR again to run on a more stable platform.

Those are my thoughts, and they are worth approximately 2¢,

ShantaClausSm.png

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Unfortunately, I cannot send PMs right now. If anybody has further info on the LSP's ability to work with an iPhone I would love to hear more about that!!!

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Just my .02:)

I don't like being locked in to a specific vendors hardware because of software.

I started with D-light hardware and like it, but with all the development going on with DMX, RBG pixels, etc. I want to have the freedom to dabble with different hardware.

This really leaves LOR out for me, their DMX support and Pixel offerings are just a little too restrictive for me, but they have good products/software.

I have been using Aurora for 3 years and it has worked fine, but new development has been slow in the rough economy, and although I understand this, I would still like to see development on DMX and newer features out of Aurora and I hear they are coming, but it is a little slow right now.

I don't mind soldering some DIY controllers together, but I don't like messing with software, so I have not gone with Vixen, although many people use it very successfully and it works well.

I purchased LSP and like many of the things that is does, but I am concerned about the size of computer that it will take to run my show, plus stability.

I am moving forward with LSP because I have a close neighbor who is a beta tester for them and has run his 400+ channel show successfully for the last 2 year. I like their hardware support, DMX support, RGB support, Pixel support, WII Guitar support, etc. I am banking on the fact that 2.0 will be more stable, more efficient, etc.

Good luck and remember, we do this for fun!

Mike.

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