Luz gets DMX lighting control

DMX is a standard for controlling lighting and other show devices (lasers, smoke, fog, heat machines). Many of the club and venue lighting systems are DMX, especially the larger ones.

Luz can now output DMX commands via an Enttec DMX USB Pro, a serial-usb device that is plug-n-play in Linux.

Luz meshes VERY well with DMX!

Conceptually, DMX is a 512-channel data bus, each holding a 0-100% activation (0-255). Each lighting fixture is configured to listen to a subset of those channels (often 3 for RGB). That’s it.

Luz Variables form an unlimited-channel data bus, each holding a 0-100% activation:

Luz Variables get their values from human inputs, or from animations over time or beats.

Luz as a live DMX lighting controller feels very natural.

What does DMX control get us?

Luz can now make the house lights dance. It can animate color and brightness changes on the beat of the music, or via human input on any sort of input device (Wacom Tablet, Wiimote, MIDI piano), or via the Spectrum Analyzer, or any other application that can send OpenSoundControl to Luz on a LAN or Wifi network.

You could control a stadium’s lighting with a Wiimote. You could play the club lights with a midi piano.

Below is a video of some early experimentation with projector-lights synchronicity. I directly connected the Spectrum Analyzer’s signals to color control of the primary actor on the projector, and also to the RGB color of four Colorsplash JRs LED DMX lights:

Right now I’m at the point where all the technology works, and I’m deciding how best to integrate DMX into the Luz Studio experience.

I’m thinking that DMX plugins will be in your Directors. So each of your Directors will have a handful of Luz Actors creating the projector image, and a handful of DMX plugins controlling the house lights.

This makes it easy for users to create full projector + lighting packaged experiences, and even to crossfade between lighting experiences in sync with the visuals on the projector transitioning gradually between Directors (using Director Cycle or Director Voyage).

I’m open to your thoughts, ideas, questions, proposals for collaboration (Portland, OR).

Luz is very easy to install on Ubuntu. See the easy Luz installation instructions on the project page.

Luz Studio is free and open source software. My favorite toy and my gift to you! If you like Luz and would like to donate a small amount or become a $1/month Luz Project Supporter that would also be most appreciated!

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One Response to Luz gets DMX lighting control

  1. Matt West says:

    Out of interest can it work the other way? Generally live performance media servers (which Luz is, kinda) are controlled via DMX by a lighting desk (light board in the US). It would be great to be able to create content live under control of the lighting desk…

    Yes, it could definitely work the other way. The Enttec device could read values off the wire, and Luz Variables and Events could be activated by the incoming DMX values.

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