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Thread: Channel Layout vs Physical Layout w/ LOR

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    Member Chris Gebhardt's Avatar
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    Cary, NC
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    Default Channel Layout vs Physical Layout w/ LOR

    Anyone have any best practices on how they structure their channels in LoR vs Physical layout vs channel groups? I have 1 LoR box & 4 Renard SS24s and have created groups in LoR. However I do effects across the entire house from left to right and right to left, sometimes even top to bottom. My question really is around using channel groups vs left to right configurations in LoR. Channel groups dont make sequencing across large areas very easy. For instance. I have a group with all my icicles across my house but they are not distributed across my sequence so if I was to chase across multiple props, it gets all messed up. I am thinking about abandoning groups for anything that isnt like a UV meter on a tree or post.

    What does everyone else do?

    Thanks in advance!

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Channel Layout vs Physical Layout w/ LOR

    PHYSICAL <Channels>

    Channel layout can be anything you want. If you don't mind eating up wire, then the channels could be wired to match your groupings. My preference is to wire all of my lights to the nearest controller, so my CHANNELS are all mixed up from a grouping perspective. Instead, I NAME all of my channels consistent with their groups in the software. I always number the members of my groups from left to right, or from top (back) to bottom (forward) for consistency.

    Here's an 8 channel example:

    1 - Border Left
    2 - 12' Santa
    3 - 12' Snowman
    4 - Yard Left
    5 - Flying Bears 1
    6 - Flying Bears 2
    7 - Flying Bears 3
    8 - Bushes 1

    In my example, there is a "Border Right" on another controller. There are two more flying bears channels on another controller, and 3 more bushes on another controller. I would waste wire if I hooked them up to the same controller. I learned to keep the wire short. In my first year with 96 channels I used 3000 ft of wire due to wasted hardware grouping and centralized controllers/power. In my second year I added 80 more channels, but with reassigning channels for lights that were close, I still only used maybe 3300 ft. I had a lot of long wires that I cut down for the second year, so even tho I cut into a 4th spool of wire, I also had a lot of spare shorter wires left over.


    I consider naming to be an important topic in the Physical vs logical (software) discussion. For efficiency, I learned to name my lights according to their function and I NEVER use the channel numbers in the naming of the lights channels. This becomes very critical because as you group your show and place controllers in small groups across your yard, your lights may plug into different channels. To avoid having to rename lights channels, don't put channel numbers in the name. Examples are "Trees 1 through 8" "Bushes 1 thu 5" "Windows 1 thru 6" "Santas 1 thru 8" "Candy Cane 1 thru 12" "Border Left" "Border Right" etc etc

    Labeling your wires goes along with this. If you get a decent UV resistant label gun, you can mark all your wires with the name of the lights. I label the wire with the name at both ends. I generally never have to change a wire or a label as the display grows. The typical exception is when I add more colors to existing areas. One examples was my icicles across the house. They started out with all white (clear). I had Roof Ice (second story) 1 thru 4, and "House Ice" (first story) numbered 1 thru 4. Then I added red icicles and blue Icicles to the whole house. So I changed my clear icicle names (and labels) to "Roof Ice 1W" through "Roof Ice 4W" .. and likewise with "House Ice 1w" etc etc. Then the new channels were "Roof Ice 1R" thru "Roof Ice 4R" and the same for the Blue (B). I hope this makes sense. Since I added a bunch of new channels on the roof for this color expansion, the channel assignments on the roof controllers were changed completely.

    LOGICAL (Software)

    In the software you can group them any way you want that will help you get your effects. In most cases you will want to line up your groups to match the NAMES (not the channel numbers). My icicle channels are all over the place in terms of which controller channels they are assigned, but they are nice and neat in the software "House Ice 1B" "House Ice 2B" "House Ice 3B" "House Ice 4B." In LOR you can collapse your groups to help you have quick access to everything. You can also have groups inside groups. Even with thousands of channels, you should be able to see your entire channel layout on one screen (or close to it).

    LOR has a feature called "Tracks" and a track is simply a different view of your same channels. It can be very tricky to get complex Chases that don't match your channel groupings. Special zig zags are one example. In that case you can define a track that lets you have the selected channels lined up in a group fashion, then apply a simple chase and it will carry out the zig zag for you. This is much simpler than trying to do it manually with cut n paste. Some people just move their channels around on the screen, then apply the chase and move them back. But this can mess up your channel configurations if you make a mistake. Not good. It's very important to keep all your sequences using the exact same channel configs. Always "export" and save your channels, then "import" the saved channels into each song for that year.

    One more topic (in my mind) goes along with channel groups. That is your fake timing channels. I have talked a ton about tapping out the beat so you can get timings marks in each sequence that matches the song. Then I create a fake channel with no controller assignment, and I place a simple dimming ramp from 100% to 0% on each timing mark (each beat). This gives you a great reference when you are sequencing. You can spend some time watching all the ramps and fix a few that don't exactly match the beat. Next you select all the timing marks in the whole song and divide them up by something that matches the time signature of the song. I mostly divide by 8 if the song is simple and divide by 12 if there are complex drums fills, etc. When you are done, you still have your original dimming ramps that show where the beats are, and you have additional timing marks in between the beats that let you do other tricks. For slow songs I divide by 3 to get 12 timing marks per measure instead of 12 per beat. You don't need complex timing marks for slow songs. When all this is done, I leave this fake timing channel at the top of my screen, and I copy it to put another one at the bottom of my screen. There is a lot more to this than I could show in a couple paragraphs but we can always include this in a TASL meeting or small coffee shop meeting.

    Denny Cole

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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