I am brand new to the entire "lighting world".

I was looking into purchasing some lights for my church's youth group. They are having a youth rally there, and unfortunately the rallies that have proceeded me have been sub par. This time I want to up the anty and make it special for these kids. The church is smaller, but I want the best possible.

I was looking into buying a pair of 250 power spots, as well as some smaller wash lights. what do you think? Is this a good idea, or do I have the wrong things in mind?

Is the setup for the power spot/wash hard? do you use computer programs, or can you do a simple manual setup?

Like I said I'm new, and have no idea what I am getting in to. Would this equipment be to advanced for a newbie like me, or is it ok to start working with. I want something that looks professional, but I can learn in a week and set up simply.

Thanks for an help!
Original Post
Intelligent lighting isn't something most people can jump right into. If you have a week, and I mean truly a week, to play around and try things however, you should be fine. It won't be easy however. I also don't know your background. Generally math based people find programming easier, especially computer programmers. I would look into Elation's CompuLive software for control with movers. It is very straight forward and user friendly for people new to the lighting world.

Now with just simple conventional lights or even some LEDs added in can be very effective and very entertaining without movement. I would recommend this route for beginners, and as you learn more and get more comfortable, move up to bigger things like movers. You can also use a less complicated controller for things like conventional and LED lights as oppose to movers.
Thanks for the advice!

Do these expensive movers only run off of computer programs? Or is there a simpler way of running them with simple functions? Such things as a board in the back of the room that turns them on/off, press a button and the twirl with this design, press another and the twirl with a different design... such things as that? If there is this easier function how hard is it to set up?

I really don't have a lot of computer experience, truth be told I am the muscisian not the tech. I would have to learn it, and set it up, and teach it to our sound guys at church.

Maybe I should find something simpler more along those lines and work up into more proffesional gear. I really do like the looks of these 250 models, and I have an opportunity to by them virtually unused for less than half of their cost. what would you reccomend?
all you need is a standard dmx 512 controller. Because that is the protocol in which all intelligent lights run. It is the standard. If you can buy the lights cheap I would say go for it but reasearch all aspects before you buy. And no you dont need a computer. There are other options. Sincerely,
Sorry, but I have another quick question. What are some dmx 512 controllers that you would reccomend for my application? I don't need a really pro set up, but I would like one that is of good quality.

Thanks
oh anything from the show designer series, magic260 even a dmx operator 192. Depends on how many lights you plan to have and your budget. Perhaps compu live 1024ec? Sincerely,
Depends on exactly what you are looking to do. If it is just conventional lighting, then a scene setter will do, even with some LEDs in the mix. For movers, you will need some sort of moving light console, be it a Magic 260 (wouldn't recommend), DMX Operator 192, Show Designer 1, the CompuLive computer program, etc etc. If you also want to add moving lights later, I would go for a moving light console so you are not kicking yourself later, or you can do what I often do and use one console for conventional lighting and one for intelligent lighting (movers).

I would again strongly recommend the CompuLive software if going with movers, very easy to use for people new lighting. You can download it for free off of Elation's website and try it out. You will see that it gives you buttons for pretty much everything, gobos, colors, movement, etc etc.
I will try out the compulive software thanks!

I would also like/need a dmx unit to control all of it though. Woould you recomend one for the movers and one for the wash lights or both in one unit?

How is this model : Elation DMX Operator Pro Controller? It seemed to have good reviews on other websites. Or is there one specifically that would best suite my needs.

I need one that would simply turn everything on and off at this point, and a dimmer would be nice (But I believe you purchase those seperate usually). The function that I am going to be doing does not have to be entirely complex, but eventually it would need to get better and better.

Truth be told this is exactly what I want to use the lights for at this point:

1) an intro with some kind of flashing efects going,(strobe like in a way) or lazers

2) wash lights on the singers, with movers doing odd gobos (nothing real fancy)

3) for slower songs... just the wash lights that are dimmed.

I might also use fog/bubbles throughout any of these depending on the mood

Nothing is really fancy and profesional at this point. Eventually I will use software to make advanced shows but right now it is unnecessary.

Is there a dmx box that could control all of this by pushing the buttons on it? These questions might seem silly and easy, but I have never dealt with any of this stuff and it is kinda overwhelming at first. Hopefully it will get easier as I get my hands dirty.

Thanks for any help
Yes, what you are describing are what a console would call a scene. A Scene is just a bunch of lights recorded (saved) to look a certain way when you bring up that scene.

So for example, if you made scene 1 nothing but blue lights, when you hit scene 1 the blue lights would come on. If you made scene 2 red lights, the red lights would come on with scene two. If you made scene 3 red and blue lights, both the red and blue lights would come on when scene 3 is up.

A series of scenes is called either a chase, show, or cue list depending on your console. Elation consoles call them shows, so I will use that term. So if I made show 1 step 1 be scene 1 from the example above and show 1 step 2 be scene 2. When you then run show 1, step 1 would blue lights. When you then go to step 2, it would be red lights.

I hope this is too confusing. Another way I can describe it is think of a scene as a page in a picture book. It shows you one scene of that book. The book is a number of pages, or a show. Remember this too, you don't need a book for a page to tell a story, but you do need pages for a book. In lighting terms, don't need a show to have a scene, but you do need scenes for a show.

Now what does the above mean for your choices of a console. Let's look at the DMX Operator Pro. Under the moving light section on Elation's website for it, it says 96 programmable scenes or 96 pages in the case of the book. Then it says 8 programmable shows, or 8 books total.

Anymore questions, feel free to ask. I am sure myself and/or someone else on here will be more then happy to help. I also hope you understand the above, if you need more clarification, let me know and I will try to explain it better.
Thanks for the explenation, it really helps me understand this stuff better, and what I need to get.

quote:
Now what does the above mean for your choices of a console. Let's look at the DMX Operator Pro. Under the moving light section on Elation's website for it, it says 96 programmable scenes or 96 pages in the case of the book. Then it says 8 programmable shows, or 8 books total.



so does this mean that you have 96 pages for each book or 96 pages total for all 8 books put together?

And you mentioned the DMX opereater Pro. Is this a good controller? It seems to have everything on it that I would need. And how hard is it to program these "pages". Does it require the use of a computer program such as compulive or can I do it simply and manually? (I understand if you don't know about this last part)

Once again thanks for all of the help,
Yes, you have 96 pages that you can add to 8 different books in different ways for each book. The console doesn't say how many pages per book, so I assume you can use as many as you want. Don't quote me on it though. Sometimes you will see something like number of steps per show or chase. So if it says 40 Steps per Show, that would mean each of your books can have 40 pages in it, but you can make up 96 different pages to use in the case of the DMX Operator Pro.

Don't think of CompuLive so much as a computer program as it is another type of lighting console. This means that it is just like the DMX Operator Pro, they just have different looks and ways of doing things, just like different musical instruments.

All lighting consoles now a days are technically computer programs, this is why computer programmers find it easy. Some are based off of DOS (DMX Operator Pro I am pretty sure), some Linux (GrandMa), and some Windows (Jands Vista, Hog 3 series, Eos and Ion, etc). So yes, the DMX Operator doesn't need another program and/or computer to control your lights. Any DMX console can technically do, it is just a matter of how easy it to do certain things, like make scenes and pages, and how easy it is to playback (look at the pages and/or book) these scenes and shows. So I think the DMX Operator will work for you, no personal experience though.

I can say from my experiences that I personally hate working on small consoles now because not enough control, to long to program, or not fast enough on playback for me. Every show I do now minus the bar stuff has at least an ETC Express or something more powerful like an Insight 3, Road Hog, Hog IPC, Hog 3, Jands Vista, or GrandMa. I am spoiled, what can I say. My next theatre show, Rocky Horror Picture I am actually planning on using a Road Hog for it do to the amount of movers involved.

christianpyro, don't mind that last paragraph here, just me ranting. I highly doubt you have a budget for any of these consoles, as the cheapest starts around 5 grand and they go all the way up to about 50 grand for the more expensive ones. They are also very advanced, at least the Ma, Vista, and Hogs. ETC Express you can learn basic functions in 10 minutes, the whole console in an hour or two. But they aren't the greatest for controlling moving lights. I just added this stuff so you can see there are different types of consoles and different ways of doing things. You will find as you get more into it that there are some things you like about certain consoles and other things you hate.
I am going to try out the compulive software that you guys mentioned. Can you download it from elations website? and if so is this just a trial version, or will it work for me?

I also understandd that each light you use takes up a certain amount of dmx space. for instance the moving wash lights that I bought take up 15 dmx channels. If I used the compulive sofware would it have a total of 512 dmx channels that I could use? And if so, would this mean that I could run a total of 34 moving lights of this kind (512/15 = 34.133). Or is my understanding of the way dmx channels work wrong?

Don't worry I'm not using 34 moving lights :-) just using it as an example.
Here is a direct link to download the latest version of the software. once you click on it it wil begin to download.
COMPU LIVE LATEST SOFTWARE DOWNLOAD
in each DMX universe you have 512 channels. so if u had 512 pars you could all of them on one universe. but on all of out dongles you get 2 universes of control by getting a special adapter to change the in to an out and on the software you can assign the DMX in as a second universe. sorry if this is all a but much. download the software and check it out. if you have any more questions or if i didnt answer yours post em. sincerely,
BTW. yes it is a trial version only. you will need the DMX to usb interface if you want to control any moving lights outside of the 3D visualizer.
sincerely,
so this trial version wouldn't work for me. it would just give me an idea of how it works? Then If I liked it I shoulg go buy a more expensive version, such as the elation compu 1024EC ($600 doller model). And this package includes the dongle that will work for me?

I am using 2 elation 250 wash lights and several smaller led lights. I will be purchasing other things in the near future however... fog machines, and moving bogos (elation 250 spot).
The demo allows you to try before you buy. you can learn the software and if u like it and it works for you you buy it. what you get is a CD rom that has the latest version of the software and also has the Dongle. so what your downloading is a the real software but is limited cause the dongle is not hooked up. understand?
Your understanding of how DMX universes work is correct. Each universe can control 512 channels. You will find consoles with one, two, three, four, or with add on units like the DP2000 to add even more universes. One universe for pretty much everyone is fine, two it nice to have however. Any more then that is over kill for pretty much everyone.
Ok I'm back... sorry for all of the dumb questions. Frowner

I am expecting 2 power wash 250's in the mail (should arrive any day now), and now need to look towards buying the rest of my equipment.

I was going to try to purchase American DJ PAR64 LED's (8 of them to be exact), and the compulive software (Elation Compu 1024EC PC DMX Lighting Control System).

I would then hang the pars ona couple of trees.

Would this set up work? Is everything compatible? I was looking at teh forum on American DJ's website (I was surprised to find jingles there too Smiler ) and several people were having troubles with there led p64's working in conjunction with there DMX controllers (due to them bieng intelligent lights and not just standard pars). I want to make sure that everything that I am looking to purchase is compatible, and if not, try something else in it's stead.

Any help would be greatly aprreciated, thanks !!
Ya everything is compatible. and yes i work for both ADJ and elation. so like i said everything should work as long as it is addressed accordingly to how it is set up. if you do run into problems. thats what the forums are for. sincerely,

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