In 2017 a Czech company called Pyroterra Lighttoys released programmable LED S-Staffs. I immediately ordered two pairs. The first iteration of their light show programming software was a disaster to use and I spent 40 hours creating a 3 minute show for my four S-Staffs! Their new software LTComposer is much easier to use, and works more or less like a video editor, except you’re working with colours, not video footage.
For our new act titled ‘Desire for Light’ we decided to try something completely different! We invested in 20 extra programmable LED lamps and 2 pairs of Visual Poi, basically 40 cm long light sticks that show images while we spin them.
Before I could even start on the light show programming I needed to create the soundtrack, because the way the software works is that you first load the soundtrack into the timeline and then start building your light show based on changes in the music.
To make a long story short, I spent about 30 hours just on the soundtrack alone, mixing the music and sound effects in Logic Pro X. In the end I had 6 minutes of what was supposed to be the soundtrack to our new act!
Below is a short excerpt from the first part of the soundtrack. In the video you’ll see the main window of Logic. The blue blocks on top contains the main music. The green boxes in the middle are extra instruments I’ve added to make some of the melodies ‘stronger’ like the bell that plays through most of the act to give each light it’s own little chime. The notes at the bottom of the screen plays the bell melody. The rest of the blue blocks are just sound effects and voices!
So after those long 30 hours I was finally ready to load the music into the LTComposer software and start building the light show. I basically started at the beginning and built each sequence piece by piece.
18 of the lamps are placed in a circle around us to create interesting effects where the light seem to travel from one lamp to the other. The light can travel in circles, forth and back. It can jump from one side to the other. Only my imagination sets the limits to what I’m able to achieve with this software and our lamps!
Below is a recording of the LTComposer software I use to program the lights. In this part of the act Mara and I are having a sort of fight of light where I want all the lamps to be blue and green and she wants pink and orange. We ‘send’ the light from our light sticks to the lamps between us. In the second part of this video we ‘play’ on the lamps, and it all ends in a big surprise never seen before in a light show. I won’t spoil the surprise for those who haven’t seen it, but I’m pretty sure it’s a quite unique little gimmick 🙂 As you can see from the video below I work very musically when I program. It’s almost like every single note and sound in the music has its own light or effect! Of course that makes the whole process much more tedious but I believe that it’s worth it in the end. We intend to work with this act for many years to come, so if I have to spend 120 hours to make this light show absolutely perfect, I will…
…and I did! All those hours of hard work later the first version of the light show was ready to be loaded into the memory banks of the lamps and testing could finally begin! Until now I had only imagined the whole light show in my head! Luckily, everything worked flawlessly, and the effects I had imagined looked even cooler for real! After initial testing I spent another 30 hours to clean up the programming, add some extra special effects and even taking away some sequences that just got in the way of our object manipulation. Sometimes less is more, and that is true even with light shows! Sometimes it was just too much going on with the lights. So much that the focus on us got lost. I’m sure I will continue to work on the lights once we start running the act for a live audience on a regular basis, maybe even add some more lamps to place around the performance venue, but that’s for later 🙂 Now I’m just really happy the act is ready to blow our audience minds!
Below is a short excerpt from the world premiere of the act back in September.