August 19, 2020

In this post, we’re going to discuss the basic details of creating your Christmas lights, pressing play, and being able to get the show you’ve built to actually play on your lights.

This process will apply whether you are using xLights or Vixen and the very specific details may vary depending on which controller you are using.

As we get started, this walk through is based on the premise that you have built your lighting props, created your lighting sequence in xLights or Vixen, and you’re ready to press play. There are still details in between these steps but this is the general process.

Creating A Sequence

If you haven’t already, the first step is building a sequence that is mapped out to your playlist. This will include your complete lighting show including your props and music playlist.

Once you’ve built your Christmas light sequence you’ll then want to test it out on the visualizer . Once you’re happy with the sequence, press save, and then you’re ready to see it in action with your props.

Building and Setting Up Props

Your next step is going to be setting up the lights and your props outside your home. This includes laying everything out in their proper positions and deciding which lights and props will go to which controllers.

There are many different ways to approach this and will be some personal preference. Some people will put one light strand or one light prop per controller while others will put multiple lights and props on just on controller.

As I recommend often, it depends what the controller is able to handle and finding a balance to getting the most out of your controllers without overwhelming it. I’ll normally do 2 – 3 lights or props per controller.

Next, once you have everything positioned and lined out, you want to decide where everything is going to be physically plugged in.

Lastly, you’ll want to test your lights with the controller(s) to make sure that everything is working properly.

Controller Setup

Some of these steps will depends on which software you’re using to program your sequence as well as whichever controller you decided to use for your display. The best suggestion is to always follow the specific instructions for your controller.

No matter which protocol you are using, you want to make sure that your software know where and what your controller is as well as where your props are plugged in.

Once you’ve made the connection between your sequencing software and your props, you should be able to turn everything on, press play, and see your sequence in action.

Running Your Show

Running your show is much more than buidling a sequence in xLights or Vixen. You will need a software such as xSchedule, FPP, Or Falcon Player Software to run your lights automatically.

To go more into details of what your options are be sure to check out this related article: How to Run Your Lights Automatically

Once you’ve done this, save your show, and you’ll get an FSEQ file type from xLights or Vixen. This is the actually file that will run your show.

As mentioned earlier, depending on which software you are using as well as the controller, the exact steps may vary. But overall, this is generally what you will need to do to to play a musical light sequence on your Christmas lights.

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