Light-O-Rama MP3 Directors
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`The LOR MP3 tab of the Light-O-Rama Hardware Utility can be used to download both musical sequences and animation sequences to a Light-O-Rama MP3 director (such as an "LOR1602W with Show Director and MP3 Player"), and schedule when those sequences should be played.
Newer Generation 3 MP3 Directors, like the MP3g3 Dual Network Director, can drive both LOR and DMX hardware.
Note, that any loops in an animation sequence will be ignored. Up to nine separate shows can be downloaded to an MP3 director.
For details, please refer to the following sections:
The LOR MP3 tab of the Hardware Utility
This section allows you to select various options about the show:
This section gives three main options for when the show will play: "plays anytime powered", "plays during scheduled time", and "plays when triggered". Additionally, you can specify that the show cannot be interrupted by input triggers, even if other shows are set up to start on those triggers.
Selecting "plays anytime powered" will cause the show to run whenever the MP3 director is powered on.
Selecting "plays during scheduled time" allows you to specify a time or times when the show should play. Up to nine shows can be downloaded to a controller, and each will be assigned a number between 1 and 9. If two shows are scheduled for the same time, the lower numbered show will be played.
Selecting "plays when triggered" will cause the show to start whenever some external trigger happens (such as a circuit being closed or a motion detector being tripped). If you choose this option, you will be prompted to select the trigger's switch number (up to six switches are supported), and whether the switch is normally open or normally closed.
A normally open switch has its contacts open until you activate it, at which point they close; a normally closed switch has its contacts closed until you activate it, at which point they open. Most switches are normally open; motion detectors, however, are typically normally closed. This is because they are often used in security systems, where it is important to notice that a wire has been cut.
In this section, you can choose whether the show should loop continuously (that is, when it finishes playing the last sequence in its list, it will start over at the first), or only one time, or every so often (every hour, half hour, fifteen minutes or ten minutes). If you are using a triggered sequence you can also select if you would like to run the sequence list in a 'Round Robin'.
If you choose to play the show every so often, you will also be prompted for what the lights should do in between. You can choose to have all your lights on, or off, or else use an animation sequence as a "filler" that will play continuously during the time in between.
If you choose to play the sequences in a Round Robin, only the first sequence in the sequence list will play. The next time the MP3 director is triggered, it will play the next sequence in the list. After playing the last sequence in the list, the next trigger will start over with the first sequence. Note: Round Robin play can only be used with triggered sequences on G3 MP3 directors with Firmware version 5.34 or higher.
The sequences will be played in the order listed. You can change the order by clicking on a sequence to highlight it, and then clicking "Move Up" or "Move Down".
Sequences with subsequences cannot be added to the showlist.
Optionally, you can also specify a "start sequence", which will be played once and only once every time the show starts up, before the other sequences. This is most useful if you selected that the show should loop continuously. For example, a show with a start sequence and three sequences in the showlist will, when "loop continuously" is turned on, first play the start sequence, then the first sequence of the showlist, then the second, then the third, and then back to the first in the showlist - not back to the start sequence.
Both musical sequences and animation sequences can be used as start sequences.
New advanced MP3 Directors, like the Dual Port G3MP3 Director, can drive 2 separate physical networks of devices. In the future new MP3 directors will be available that can drive 4 physical networks. These advanced directors can control LOR devices, DMX devices, or a combination of them on separate ports. The Hardware Utility will automatically select which networks and/or universes in your sequence will be used by the director.
Only the ADVANCED level of the LOR software will allow for the creation of DMX output for a director. All other levels are limited to creating LOR output only.
Older Directors, like the DC-MP3-SHOWTIME, are limited to ONLY the LOR REGULAR network.
For Advanced Directors, the Hardware Utility uses a ‘priority system’ based on the contents of the FIRST sequence added to the show list. In order to prevent confusion, all sequences that are part of a single show should use the same channel configuration.
1.If your license supports them, there is no difference between LOR Enhanced networks and normal LOR networks. Both are treated the same when it comes to priority.
2.LOR networks have priority over DMX universes.
3.The LOR REGular network has the highest priority, followed by AUX A through AUX O.
4.A lower number DMX Universe is higher priority than a higher number.
5.If the sequence contains more than 2 networks, universes, or a combination thereof, those Networks and Universes are silently discarded.
6.If your director only has one port, then only the PORT 1 column applies.
Examples assuming that you have the ‘Advanced’ level of the software:
* Please note that the MP3g3 dual network controller will mirror the output of Port 1 onto Port 2 on a per-sequence basis. If you wish to have all controllers on port 2 stay dark during certain sequences, ensure that ALL of the sequences in that show use the same channel configuration. That is to say, ensure all of your sequences contain channels for BOTH ports, even if those channels are all OFF for the duration of the sequence.
'Startup' sequences as well as 'Filler' sequences can also use LOR or DMX devices on advanced directors and the same rules apply to them.
When you have selected the show's options and the sequences to be played, you can download the show to an SD card (which can later be placed into the MP3 director). Make sure that you have your SD card reader/writer hooked up to your PC, and click on the "Create Show" button. This brings up a the Write Show to SD Card Wizard. Once you have made your selections, press 'NEXT' to continue. If you would like to go back and change a selection, press 'PREVIOUS'.
There are several steps to specify the options you need to set up the SD card properly, depending on your hardware, preferences, etc.
Select the drive that contains your SD card.
Select the show number that you want to use for this show. Each show on a card must have a unique number assigned. If multiple shows are scheduled at the same time, the lowest numbered show will take priority.
This is what LOR Networks and/or DMX Universes the SD Card Wizard will write to the card, based on the priority system from above. This is informational only, there are no changes to be made here.
Here is where you can specify different options that your show or hardware may require:
•Lock Step: If you have a very large display, selecting "lock step" may help the different controllers used in the display react with a higher degree of synchronization. This is not supported on all controller types, and the level of firmware in the controllers must be 3.0 or higher.
•Set MP3 player's internal clock: If you wish to add a file to the SD card to set the MP3 director's internal clock, check the box that says so. Note that there are also other ways to set the director's clock.
•Strip MP3 Header Information: Some MP3s may have a large data block before the actual music data. For example, an MP3 may have several high-resolution pictures in its ID3 Tags. The MP3 director will correctly ignore this data, however it does take time to find the actual start of the music file. Stripping this data will allow the MP3 director to start playing the sequence faster.
•Keep lights ON at end if using DMX: Previously if one or both ports were controlling DMX Universes the MP3 director would always shut off all the lights. Checking this box will allow channels in DMX universes controlled by the MP3 director to remain in the last state they were sent. If you leave a light on at the end of a sequence, that light will remain on until the start of the next sequence.
•Show can not be interrupted by input triggers: Once this show has started on the MP3 director, pressing an input will not interrupt the show - it will run to completion.
•Advanced Throttling Options: The advanced options button will bring up an additional window that allows you to change parameters which relate to how data will be transmitted from your MP3 Director. Unless a specific issue is preventing your MP3 Director from working correctly, you should not change these options.
Communications port setup is done here.
For each port your director has, you will be presented these options. So for example if you have a G3MP3 Dual Network director, you see this dialog twice. Once for the fist physical port, and then again for the other physical port. Depending on the type of equipment you have, your LOR license level, and/or the contents of your sequence, one or more of these options may not be available to you.
If a port is using LOR devices:
Select the communications speed that will be used to broadcast lighting commands. The recommended setting (57.6) will suffice for many users' displays. If you have many controllers that are far distances apart, a slower speed may help; if your sequences use many rapid lighting commands, a faster speed may help.
•G3 directors (and higher) have an additional speeds of 500K and 1000K available. The 500K speed is approximately four times faster than the previous high speed of 115.4K, but is only supported on Generation 3 (G3) devices with updated firmware.
•The 1000K speed can ONLY be used with networks that only contain PixCon16 controllers. No other LOR controllers support 1000K.
•Since the MP3g3 director has two ports, you can additionally specify a different speed for port 2 if your show will use both ports. Single network directors do not have a second port and so these options are not available.
•If your license supports Enhanced LOR Protocol and you are creating a card for a G3 or above director, an additional option may be available depending on the first sequence loaded. If the first sequence has both Normal LOR and Enhanced LOR commands available, you can select if you want BOTH to be written to the card (checked), or if you only want Normal (unchecked) commands written. If you do not have a G3 controller, or you do not have a license that supports Enhanced LOR protocol, or if your sequence does not have both types of networks, then this option is not available. There is no option that will allow for only Enhanced commands, even if your sequence has both available.
If a port is using DMX devices
DMX Universes run at a fixed speed, and therefore the options to change port speed are not available.
This final screen will confirm the choices you made. When you are ready to write to the SD card, press the 'Create SD Card' button.
If any of your shows are set up to run on schedules, it is important to set the MP3 director's clock appropriately. There are several ways to do this:
First, you can directly hook your MP3 director up to your PC, and click on the "Set to PC's time" button (in the lower right-hand corner of the LOR MP3 tab).
If you cannot (or do not wish to) hook the MP3 director up to your PC, you can instead create a "time file" to be placed on an SD card. The first time that SD card is placed in the MP3 director, the director's clock will be set to the time specified in the time file (which you can choose, so that you have enough time to move the card from your PC to your MP3 director).
There are two ways to build a time file: First, you can click on the "Only place SET TIME file on the SD card"; this will create a time file and download it, without downloading a show as well. Second, when you create a show, during the final options dialog, you can request that a time file be created and downloaded along with the show.
Finally, you can manually set the time on an MP3 director. See the director's user's guide for details.
While writing your show to the SD card for an MP3 player, the Hardware Utility will automatically monitor how much bandwidth is required by your sequence every centi-second. When the bandwidth is exceeded, the program can 'compress' your data so that your music and lights stay better in sync. The advanced options window allows you to turn this functionality on/off or adjust its parameters.
The Advanced Parameters window
•Throttle Data Output for Improved Performance: It is recommended that this option remain ON (checked). When checked, your sequence is monitored. For each centi-second that passes, the program will compute the amount of bandwidth required and compare it to the amount available. If unchecked, no throttling is done - this is the same mode as versions previous to 3.12.0.
•Minimum Throttle Time in CS: If throttling is enabled, this is the minimum amount that the sequence must be behind before compression starts. For example, if this is set to 5 CS, then once the sequence is 5 or more centi-seconds behind the audio, compression will begin. Setting this higher will allow for more complex areas of your sequence to remain uncompressed at the expense of lagging further behind your audio. The default value is 1, and this means that as soon as the sequence falls behind, compression should begin.
•Buffer Flush Time in CS: This can be thought of as the 'resolution' that your MP3 Director will run at. Setting the value lower will increase resolution as well as network load. Setting the value higher will decrease network load at the expense of having more commands be compressed. The default value of 2 most closely emulates what a computer produces for output, either in the Sequence Editor or the Show Player, when running a sequence on your hardware. For versions before 3.12.0, this value was 1.
•MP3 Director Network Efficiency: MP3 directors will typically use 100% of the bandwidth that is available for a port. Setting this to a lower percentage reduces the amount of throughput, which will cause more throttling to happen. It may be best to think of this option as a reduction in the network speed. For example, if you set a port to 57.6K speed, and set this option to 70%, then the hardware utility will throttle the sequence as if it was for a network that runs at approximately 40.3K (57.6 * 70%).