September 22, 2020

Often in Christmas lighting, you may hear terms such as pixels or props. What are props and do you want to use them in your lighting?

In this post, we’re going to cover what props are used for and the different types of props that can be used in your display.

Pixels is another term that comes up often when we’re talking about Christmas lighting displays. To help cover the introduction of props and why we use them, we can also cover the basics of using pixels.

What Are Pixels?

Pixels are strands of lighting that can display multiple colors and even different looks or designs.

These are different than your conventional strands of lights because each individual pixel can be controlled, whereas your standard lights can only do one thing at a time.

Pixels are a great tool to use in Christmas lighting because, they can be set up in props (more on that shortly) and you have the capability to create different designs and looks with your lighting.

Why Use Props?

So, why not just use the pixels and have them wrapped around an object or just strung up like regular lights? While that is definitely an option, it becomes more of an obstacle when you’re trying to program the lights to look the way you want to.

Pixels have the ability to display effects and designs. But those effects and designs can be hard to get across when the lights are wrapped around a bush. That’s why we use pixels and props together. You can have different shapes, straight outlines, and so much more to help your display look amazing.

What Are Props?

In a basic description, props are just a device or template that can display pixels. Using props in your lighting can help you create shapes and display different lighting effects.

There are three different types of props that you will generally see used in Christmas lighting displays. You have the stripped, corrugated, and DMX type of props.

Strip Props

The first type of props we will cover are the strip props as pictured below. These strips are great for when you want to create an outline or a straight lined prop.

Setting these up is very easy and designed so that you can just pop the pixels in each hole. This keeps your lights organized and keeps them in a straight line.

Another type of strip props is known as the horizontal strips. These are similar but stiffer so that you can use them with a piece of conduit or pipe. Setting your pixels up in these is the same, you can just pop them in.

With either of these props, you can hang them up to outline your roof, windows, or even porches. My personal preference is, to begin with, these and create an outline for my entire display. They’re easy to get set up and a great foundation for your lighting display.

Corrugated Props

Another type of props that are commonly used are your corrugated, or “coro” props. These type of props are great for your more complex looking shapes and outlines.

These props can be any shape or design. Similar to the stripped props, you can just pop in the pixels and it may take a little more of a set up to make sure the wires are covered. But once you have the pixels set in the prop, you can then set up the prop inside of xLights or Vixen by adding the model.

Once the prop is programmed in, its fairly easy to set the lights to display exactly like they would on the computer as well as in person. Coro props are great once you have them set up and can definitely add some fun looks to your display.

DMX Props

The last type of prop we’re going to cover is your DMX props. These are starting to become more popular over the past few years. DMX props have come from being used in stage lighting.

These types of props offer a couple of different functions. Often you’ll see them sending out a beam, creating a wash on a backdrop, or some units even are a moving light.

You might not see these in every display, but if used in an effective manner, they can really help bring a unique look to your display.

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