In this video David will show you how to put DMX moving heads on your roof or anywhere on your show! We will feature the Dominar Beam which is the best beam light in the Christmas lighting world. Let’s dive in!
The first step to getting your Dominar Beam into your Christmas light setup is to get it onto your roof. You will want to make sure that your beam is connected to your controller prior to putting it up. You will find that on some controllers you can turn the RJ45 ports for the receiver boards into DMX but in such a case you will lose your receiver board which can be non-advantageous.
The other DMX option lies with the Falcon controller which have the easier DMX ports. They give you an RJ45 DMX port with a standardized pin out. You can then easily buy an adapter from Amazon, and it will be wired correctly for you most of the time.
The great thing about DMX is that unlike pixels, there really isn’t a harsh distance limitation. This sets your up easily for most home Christmas light displays.
You will be able to run it up to the roof and have it go to a socket box to connect.
Lights can be placed on what is called a “roof hat”. This is simply two pieces of 2×8 that straddles the roofline with a piece of plywood across the top. You then strap the light down with an endless strap onto it.
You may find that throwing a sandbag or two on each of the plywood pieces may add a little extra support if you feel it is needed. There is always the option to do truss, but truth be told a trussing system will be a lot more expensive and may not be worth the cost unless you plan to do a more permanent mount.
You’ll want to make sure the weight of your lights is distributed fairly evenly to avoid causing damage to your roof and you will keep your power cords, cables etc. in waterproof boxes to avoid damage as well.
Once you strap the Dominar Beams in, they will stay in place really well and be there ready to use for the season.
Bringing Your Beams to the Roof
One thing to note as you bring your lights up to the roof is to bring them up with the tilt lock on. This is a convenient safety feature to keep things more stable as you arrange your lights where you want them to be. Once they are tightened down you will want to take the tilt lock off so that the lights can move freely again for your display.
Take a moment to double check yourself as well that the units and adapters are hooked together properly and pointed the same direction as well as level and you are set to go.
If you do decide to use ratchet straps, be sure to double check that your light can move freely at the bottom to prevent a burnt-out motor.
When you do turn the lights on remember that DMX lights need a DMX address which will be set up in X-Lights and then will need to be entered in up on the light to make sure the mode is correct so that your lights run properly.
Things to Check
Once your lights are set up on your roof you will then want to run a quick sequence before putting your ladder away to see which way your light tilts and pans and double check as they move that none of them are hitting each other. If all is running smoothly with no interferences, you are then good to go.
Setup in X-Lights
With the visualizer it is really easy to assign your lights. You will go to Layout and “Import a Model”. From there you can easily add and set up each individual light to run smoothly.
After entering the lights, you want to use you will head over to your sequencer and create your sequences of effects. There are a lot of ways to go about doing this, but one simple way is to just drag effects to each light. You can turn on your output to lights and see the lights move accordingly. It’s advisable to test this out in your workspace before you put it on the roof to ensure that you have proper control and that everything is working the way you want it to.
Once you have everything set up the way you think you want it, it is a great idea to double check your setup by making sure the lights tilt the correct way in X-Lights.
You will find a 3D visualizer in x-Lights that makes checking everything a lot simpler.
Moving Head Sequencing Basics
In X-Lights on your screen, things that are higher on the screen are a lower priority than the things listed lower on the screen so you will likely want to start at the bottom and work your way up. You will find that a lot of the DMX effects can apply to moving heads, the most used being the “on” effect with white using different intensity levels and the single strand effect.
The main thing when it comes to your setup and sequencing is taking time to play around with everything and double check yourself with setup to make sure that everything is functioning as smoothly as you want it.