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Discussion Starter #1
Getting started this year with more sophisticated halloween display.

i have a number of LOR controllers and added a Medusa DMX controller for my skull/skeleton

Wondering what software i should be using for halloween. LOR or VSA or ?

i downloaded the VSA demo and started playing with it. Crashes quite a bit and seems very hard to use and cumbersome to do simple things.

What are you guys using and why? i'd like to start off right and not spend a lot of time on something i may not end up using

as mentioned i want to do general lights and fog machines on my AC LOR Dimmers (they can run as LOR or as DMX). I also want to use the Medusa DMX board and i also have LOR DC boards as well.

I am using a ENTTEC USB Pro MK2

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Mike
 

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A few here have LOR but I think most of us use VSA.....VSA is fairly simple but still can do complex routines....I definitely wish I could just grab the events and drag them in the timeline but using a joystick in real time is pretty fast programming also....Try to get an idea of the big picture of what you want to be capable of doing ultimately show wise and that will help you decide now....ZR
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks. i think i can do either way but i am a little worried about VSA. it just seems very cumbersome. couldnt even figure out how to clear all events in one device yet. The visualizer in LOR is nice too as it lets you see your scene on screen while it is playing. Have not dont anything with servos in LOR so i am not sure how well that works

will play a little more with VSA and decide
 

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I think the feedback that it's crashing a lot is interesting. I haven't played with the SW, but that would be incredibly frustrating. I was on the fence about going the route of VSA/DMX but instead am going to stitch stuff together with Straub's individual 4 ch controllers and an arduino.

I'd like to hear from other VSA users if they experience periodic issues of stability.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
to be honest i havent done mcuh except for playing with it very little moving some servos and changing some leds

i had issues with loading audio files and it seems that if it is a file it doesnt like it often crashes.

I'd definately go DMX as it is supported in more environments. I cant imagine doing very complex lighting stuff with VSA though. I am leaning towards either using Lightorama for all or use a combination of LOR and VSA

And just in case i do have very good hardware. Was running it on a Core I7 Windows 7 64 with 16G and a 1TB SSD drive with an ENTTEC USB Pro 2

Documentation on VSA is very light also and i dont think there is a user forum dedicated to the software is there ?

Mike
 

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I use LOR and direct DMX outputs for several separate Halloween props in my haunt. Although I haven't used the Medusa board it looks like a straight forward dmx unit.

LOR servo programming is just setting a whole track to the neutral position value (0 to 100) for each servo channel and then ramping up or down to whatever value is needed for the desired servo position. You can set custom intensity and ramp numbers so it's easy to set positions as needed.

Initial cost of the LOR equipment is higher than other controllers but the programming is so much easier to do and make any changes needed, I much prefer it to anything else that i've used.
 

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Mike,

Most of my customers use VSA. I did a how-to for VSA (see below), with regards to RGB LED setup. It might give you a jump on how to get things set up, even though it's geared just toward LEDs.

In addition to VSA, my customers also use Vixen, VenueMagic, LSC Clarity, Freestyler, and Sunlite Suite. Although some of these are for stage (or other) applications, and not for Halloween displays.

Hope this helps,
- Hook
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The Medusa board is very nice. Got it up and running in no time. I like the set of features. It really is pretty much what you need on one board

i built my skull with a 3 cell lipo battery (11.1V for the board and the LEDs and relays and a Voltage regulator to 6V for the servos). Only wire i have going in is a DMX cable

i have it working in VSA can nove the servos and change the leds and all. just ran into a number of little issues that could simply be not knowing VSA. For example i tried to clear all events on one device. it did crash a few times also as mentioned.

i also looked at vixen. downloaded vixen 3 but it was very unstable also. LOR isnt amazing either but it is much more polished.

what i miss in LOR with servos is to be able to set endpoints and to convert audio to servo movement and record joystick movement
 

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Starzen

What it sounds as though people are trying to drive home, is that there are some that use "this" some that use "that". With any new software there is a learning curve as well as limitations. I use LOR for my Christmas display and try to use what I know of the application for Halloween. LOR has a large upfront cost for their software and controllers, so that is why I stick with it for Halloween. Need to get my money's worth!

I havent gotten into servo control with it yet, but that is something I would like to eventually try.

Keep us posted on your progress.
 

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Mike
I have been using VSA for years now for Halloween and wouldn't think of using anything else. I have never had the program crash on me and yes there is a learning curve but its not that hard. I find LOR much harder and time consuming to use. Jon at Brookshire is a great guy and has helped me immensely over the years, support I don't think you will get out of LOR. Recently I have started to use the Medusa board and its the best for dmx and Brian is a class act. I had run time errors in VSA last year and we went back and forth with emails and then we spoke on the phone one morning while he was driving to work to help fix my issues, you don't get that kinda of support anywhere (except Brookshire).
I have 7 Skelly's and about 5 routines that were programmed in vsa and I run through DMXorcsit, never a crash or hiccup. I also have 4 skell'ys at a friend house running of a Rapu from brookshire and that has been running great also for two years. I will admit that every year when its time to add i forget VSA a little but after a while it comes back to you.
Good luck with what ever route you choose.
Rich
 

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I'm not sure why your VSA routines crashed....Your using the Enttec Pro so that should eliminate 1 problem some folks were having with the open DMX module.....Have you tried a terminator plug at the end of your DMX chain?....Sometimes that causes an issue if you don't have one installed....My set up has ran pretty solid....I had some issues running a relay to the fog machine that would cause it to freeze but other than that, nothing that comes to mind....ZR
 
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