Just because you love your privacy doesn’t mean you can’t make kids of all ages smile with a holiday light show. It’s not like they will be peering into your house. I’m excited to be having my first light show this year, having recently purchased a Light-O-Rama controller and software. As word leaked out about my light show, I warned people it’s not going to be all that this year. What kind of silly soul gets the hardware, tries to learn the software, how to program songs, learns about circuits, makes their own props, sets up and kicks off a show in a mere 30 days? Yes, my adventure was more like how not to do a light show.
The fault is mine as I set a goal of getting it up and running by Thanksgiving night, thinking kids don’t have school the next day. Although I told only one person, when I went to vote on Election Day he was spreading the word. Then a lady approached me about bringing a bus load of kids to the show as a Thanksgiving treat. Great; I’m a total noob who doesn’t know what I’m doing yet and it’s only the first year, I thought, but I replied, “No pressure then, huh?”
In total, there were 33 days before Thanksgiving after receiving my hardware. I “wasted” the first weekend pricing LED lights, but I didn’t plan to buy too much or else I’d bust my budget. Besides, the plan is to eventually go to RGB ribbons to produce any color and have control of each pixel. Many people with several Light-O-Rama controllers have mega-trees and arches in their displays and some even have singing faces or trees. Regardless, plan on DIY projects. It’s easier on a budget but eats a lot of time to create your own props.
The Sequence Editor allows you to listen to the full song or selected portions. I almost think it could drive you crazy, listening over and over to same little segment, but it helps for timing and to better sync the lights with the music. Otherwise, it's lights to music but synced as if by a cat running across the keyboard or as if it were banged out by a drunk monkey. My first song was Snow Miser/Heat Miser because I foolishly thought it would be easy and kids would love it. I used to like the song, but after hearing it hundreds of times I sort of hate it. I’m seriously not joking…even my dog now growls at the opening “ba da da da daaaa daaaa” notes of the song.
It’s pretty cool what you can do with the software. In order to show you a programmed song in the Sequence Editor and “simulation mode” in the LOR Visualizer, then that implies showing you a picture of my house decorated with lights. I’m not comfortable doing that.
So I thought about it and decided to do a twofer, hopefully showing you more about Light-O-Rama while also giving back to the community of modders. My holiday light display example using Light-O-Rama will be of Whiterun in Skyrim.
In the LOR Visualizer, you “draw” lights on the photo, or add props, mega-trees, arches, or whatever, and then assign a channel to each light string or other holiday decoration. Most new LOR units have 16 channels capable of a maximum of 30 total amps. It took me about 2 hours to add the lights ‘cause I can’t draw a stick person with a ruler; it took another hour or so to assign each light string to a channel. Keep in mind that I'm just a noob at this.
You program the song in the Sequence Editor. In this instance I used what I had ready and programmed, a mashup of my own and free sequences out there.
Then it took an hour or so to tweak it to a large scale for a Skyrim holiday light show. It’s nowhere close to “good,” but it will give you the general idea in the limited time I had to create it. Even as you watch this, I’m probably on the roof, on a ladder, tangled in extension cords or otherwise trying to get setup before the family gets here and I host Thanksgiving.
It’s not a high-quality recording as I simply used the free, built-in Windows screen capture software to record the simulation light show video. In case you don’t know…if you hit the Windows key and G then a Game bar will open. It will ask, “Is this a game?” Say “yes” and press record. Hint, if you have a local Windows 10 account, you do not need to log into and connect a Microsoft account to your local account. The videos will be saved by default in This PC> Videos.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!