Happy New Year! In our previous Podcast, we started talking about the technical side of Pixels and LED Tape. In this episode, we’re going to go more into the Design aspect of it. If you haven’t listened to the first episode be sure to check it out!
If you’re new here, I have a Quiz that will help me send you a customized Guide on getting started with Lighting: FREE Guide @ LearnStageLighting.com/quiz.
Main Segment (1:50)
As I mentioned earlier in Episode 45, The Complete Guide to Pixels, LED Tape and Custom LED’s Pt 1 we covered the technical side of working with Pixels, LED Tape, and customer LEDs. In this episode, I’m going to cover the design aspect of it.
Regardless if you’re working with Pixel Tape, LED Tape, etc you want to start designing by focusing on the layout. You first want to focus on what you are looking to get out of the LED or Pixel Tape. What do you want to highlight on the stage? What do you want it to look like?
When working with LED Strips some have considered creating a wall of LED Strips. While this is possible it does create a Low Resolution. So, with LED Strips I recommend using the strips to outline a part of the stage or an object. Or you can create a graphic or shape to help bring a great feature for the audience.
You can find some great ideas and inspiration on ChurchStageDesignIdeas.com
Power and Data Control
The most difficult part of working with LEDs is working with the technical side of it. When working with Pixels, Power and Data are actually treated separately.
The tricky part about working with certain LED products is that when it’s running a certain distance it can fade out, begin strobeing, etc. This is due to the voltage getting to low. I recommend 12 volt or 24v pixels because it runs further.
If you are working with Pixels or Pixel Tape you can insert new power where the voltage drops, unlike LED Tape.
This is why, when laying out the design it’s important to come up with a plan for how to power your pixels, not just how they look!
Next, you want to focus on the lensing. Are you going to use some sort of diffusion cover, coroplast, etc? Or just keep it bare? There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to Lensing.
If you this is your first LED or Pixel project I would recommend checking out a source such as ChurchStageDesignIdeas.com and search “LED Pixel”. See what others have done for layout and diffusion. Find what will work for you and your stage.
The last piece is deciding how you will control all of this. You have 3 different options to work with.
When working with Pixels you’re going to be working with a lot of Data. If you’re in the US most likely everything will be measured in Meters (roughly 3 feet per meter).
Your first option is to run your pixels from your lighting console. Pixels can be patched and controlled like any 3 channel LED Par. The downfall is that it’s hard to make any creative effects. Also, if your console doesn’t have a lot of Output you could end up having to purchase more output from the console manufacturer.
Another option to Run your pixels is a standalone or via a semi-standalone mode. One of the items I like to recommend is the ENTTEC Pixel Port which I’ve used and reviewed here: Review – ENTTEC Pixel Port. This is great for those who are just starting out with Pixels and has a simple 17 Channel Mode.
The last option is to run your pixels from a Media Server Software.
Basically, a media server is a software that converts video content to work with your pixels. The benefit of using a Media Server is that it’s very easy to program. I have a couple of different options to recommend:
ENTTEC ELM is what I use and it’s great to use. It’s an amazing piece of software that does a lot for a good price.
Another option is the “Pixel Mapping Software” which is free to download, but it is harder to program.
These are the 3 different options you can control your pixels. If you would like to go deeper into how to control these I do so in this article: What Software Should I Use to Control LED Pixels?
There’s a lot of information to take in on this topic and it can be overwhelming.
Inside of Learn Stage Lighting Labs, we have an action plan called Custom LED Design. This is a great action plan available to Learn Stage Lighting Lab Members that is available on video of how to get what you need, set up, and everything you need to know.
It’s an amazing and time-saving resource. Be sure to check it out at Learn Stage Lighting Labs.
If you’re new here, I have a quiz that will help me send you a customized Guide on getting started with Lighting: FREE Guide @ LearnStageLighting.com/quiz.
Next week we will have our Tuesday Q+A where I take on questions from listeners just like you. If you have a question be sure to visit the site and submit your question.