your neighbors (even the nice ones).
Software is needed to program light sequences and to
run the show. Light-O-Rama software operates in two
1) A software development kit for designing your light
display and programming sequences.
Light-O-Rama provides a Sequence Editor that helps
you take a song and synchronize it to lights. First, the
software has built-in wizards that will
automatically find the beat of the music
and also automatically create timings that
you can program to. You have the option
of just tapping along with the music — then
your tapping is converted into a timing grid.
Since each sequence can have multiple
timing grids, you can use multiple sets of
timings to get the best result.
Using the Sequence Editor is much like
using a spreadsheet (see Figure 3). The
columns represent the timings and the
rows represent the channels. You color in
the cells to specify if you want the lights to
be on, fade-on, fade-off, shimmer, or
There is a definite art and a learning
curve to sequencing songs, so plan to
devote significant time to it. This is actually
my favorite part, and I have online tutorials
posted on You Tube that may be useful to you.
The S3 software also provides a visualizer that
simulates how your display will look when programmed,
without having to hang a single strand of lights. This way,
you can develop all of your sequences in advance of
putting the lights up.
2) Software that executes your light display schedule.
You configure a schedule that allows you to create an
appointment for a show to start at a certain time and end
at a certain time. A schedule can run the same show over
and over, or run a variety of different shows that you
create. Recall that each show contains sequences. The
shows allow you to specify sequences that will start and
end your show, and a list of sequences that loop until it is
time to end the show. You can even have sequences that
run in the background (Figure 4).
Currently, Light-O-Rama software only runs on PCs.
System requirements grow as your display grows. Typically,
running the show does not take a very beefy computer,
but you may want some more processing power when
programming the sequences and running the visualizer.
Often, you will see people program their sequences on
one computer, then run the show from a different one. In
28 December 2014
Light-O-Rama offers sequences for sale on their website,
but there is also an active Christmas Light community
where people freely share their sequences. Everyone’s
display configuration is different, but with some
copying/pasting and some gentle massaging, you can
apply one of these pre-programmed sequences to your
display vs. programming your own.
■ FIGURE 4. Schedules contain shows that contain
sequences that contain channels.
■ FIGURE 3. Screenshot of Light-O-Rama's S3 Sequence Editor.