DMX explained

DMX Intelligent Lighting & the Software that makes it simple

Last October we ran the basics of DMX intelligent lighting by you (you can revisit our Beginners Guide to DMX by clicking here), to great response. This month we follow up with look at the software that makes adding high-tech lighting effects to your show as easy as plug and play. On hand to offer us an overview of what makes for solid software solutions is Mr. Matt Wisdom, formerly of Orlando Florida’s prestigious Impact Lighting Inc, currently an independent consultant and guru-at-large for all things DMX.  

“Once you understand how DMX works, you’ll find pretty much any software controller does pretty much the same thing,” says Matt. “What you should be concerned with is which software offers you the easiest way to get from A to B without sacrificing features.”

To fast track that, Matt kindly offered us his take on our list of Features To Look For

Easy To Learn -- Easy’s important, agrees Matt, who’s also quick to caution that “a lot of the simple programs are less advanced; they have far less features and that can lead to some disappointing dead-ends. The best programs are easy to use without scrimping on the features you’ll need to go full-on Bellagio if the occasion demands it.”

Adjustment of Boundaries – “Let’s say you’ve built all your programs around a medium sized dance floor, and you go somewhere where the dance floor is twice as big; being able to instantly and easily modify your global settings to suit any size venue is a huge plus for a mobile DJ.”

Sound Active – An essential feature that also goes by “Beat Activation,” “Audio Responsive,” and “Audio Triggered,” Sound Active technology allows your lights to react to the music. Notes Matt: “Different software gives you different levels of control; for example, more advanced software will allow you to link 4/4 motion to your bass, strobes to your snare; and more. The better software packages will give you more tools to work with and more room to grow.”

Stackable Cues free you from the tyranny of a pre-set program by allowing you to adjust the individual elements of your show, on the fly, giving you the option to actively improvise as inspiration strikes. Cautions Matt: “The terminology can vary from software to software, some manufacturers might call it ‘Stackable Cue,’ others might refer to it as ‘Transparent Cues,” but by any name, consider independent cues an essential feature to look for.

Matt’s Software Suggestions: “A lot of people don’t realize that when you buy a software lighting controller, you need to look at it as whole package – as both software and hardware (for more on lighting controllers, catch this month’s Gear Review). You want a foolproof combination: a MIDI controller that allows for a more hands-on, less keyboard-and-mouse approach and doubles as a backup; you’ll want a hardware devices that can store your lightshow programming and can perform independently of your laptop. Having said that, my suggestion for mobile DJ or nightclub apps would include Lumidesk (plug & play, intuitive, ideal for beginners), and, for the more advance user, feature-rich apps like Elation Compu Pro, and Martin Light Jockey.”

You’ll find free demos available from all the big players; so, as always, try before you buy…

Mac users -- check out Chavet’s Show Xpress! For a free demo click here

To tap Matt Wisdom’s talents as teacher, speaker and consultant visit or email

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Promo Only 2008 v2

New On DVD & DFF - 2008 Volume 2

Tracklistings include: "Take A Bow", Rihanna; "Lollipop", Lil Wayne f. Static Major; "All Summer Long", Kid Rock; "Whatever You Like", T.I.; "What Hurts The Most", Cascada; "Closer", Ne-Yo; "Should’ve Said No", Taylor Swift; "Single Ladies" (Put A Ring On It); and more!

2008 Vol 2 is available on DVD and DFF (digital file format/MPEG4) data disc.

To order your copy today call 407-331-3600 or click

Got requests? Your feedback on what video content you need for your venue/events is not only appreciated but very important to our programmers. Please email us at to request older material and at for newer releases you feel are relevant.

For more information on our Hot Video Classics and Specialty dvds, call 407-331-3600 or click here to email Customer Service today!

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Obey 40

Chauvet Obey 40 DMX Lighting Controller.... Thinking inside the box

Lighting control comes in many forms, from simple on/off switches to light and laser shows involving massive gear that costs equally massive bucks. Somewhere in between lies the humble lighting controller and one of the best returns on investment you can give yourself and your business: adding lighting.

One of the best bargains we’ve stumbled on: The Chauvet Obey 40 is a universal DMX-512 lighting controller that can manage up to 12 intelligent lights with up to 16 channels each, for a total of 192 DMX channels. The Obey 40 gives you control over 30 banks of 8 scenes for 240 scenes total, 6 sets of chases, program fade and speed time into each step, reversible sliders, re-assignable channels, fog & strobe control, and the sequential linking of chases. Best of all, the Obey is MIDI compatible, offers beat activation, tap-sync, and auto run, and fits into a 3-space rack mount.

Feature Highlights:

  1. Universal DMX-512 controller
  2. Controls up to 12 intelligent lights of up to 16 channels each
  3. 192 DMX channels of control
  4. 30 banks of 8 scenes, 240 scenes max.
  5. 6 sets of chases containing 240 scenes each
  6. Program fade and speed time into each step
  7. Reversible sliders
  8. Re-assignable channels
  9. Sequential linking of chases
  10. Fox and strobe control buttons
  11. Grab any fixture on the fly
  12. Beat activation, tap sync, and auto run
  13. Polarity selector
  14. 3-space (2U) rack mount
  15. MIDI compatible

Priced at or around $119.00. For more info visit

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Dj Swamp cover

In the Spotlight: DJ Swamp
Monster of the Mix...

It started with a needle drop and ended with his winning the 1996 US DMC Championship and a four-year gig as Beck’s go-to turntablist; and that was just his rookie year. In the 15 years since, Cleveland’s Ron Keyes, aka DJ Swamp, has carved out a unique spot in the DJ landscape with his singular brand of fire-breathing theatrics, supernatural mixing skills, and mic-rocking rap and vocals.

Case in point: Pyro, the lead track from his new Vinyl Disciple CD. “The song’s about a girl I knew who always had her video camera in your face and always wanted to be in your business,” laughs Swamp. “There are a lot of layers to that.”

A patented blend of hip-hop, metal and Sk8er boy breakbeats, Pyro personifies Swamp’s continuing quest for critical mass on his own terms, daft dystopia and all.

It also makes for irresistible eye-and-ear candy. We bet you can’t just spin it once.

YouTube, FaceBook – you’ll find Swamp’s mad-monk beats backing the likes of Kid Rock, RL Burnside, The Crystal Method, Kool Keith, The Dust Brothers and, of course, Beck.

Or you can catch him at his plum new digs as resident DJ at Vegas’ über-prestigious Palms Casino Resort, beginning June 14th.

Also in the works: “Producers of the TV show, Ghost Hunters are going to be producing a reality show that follows me and my manager around this summer.”

For more info visit

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Stacy Zemon - DJ VIdeo Network

Stacy Zemon Launches DJ Video Network Internet TV for DJs, by DJs

This just in: Announcing, a DJ video-sharing community featuring an ever-expanding library of shows that can be viewed for free via computer, mobile device or television.

“Disc Jockeys who are tired of searching around on YouTube® for quality DJ material will really like DJVN because it’s a one-stop destination to watch original videos by topic,” says Zemon. “Show topics include gear reviews and tutorials, entertainment and news shows, music mixing, contests, industry event coverage, and much more.”

DJs who create engaging original programming can apply to be a Content Partner on the site. CLICK HERE for the full story!

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Tip of the Month!

Damaged discs happen. When they do, receiving a replacement is as easy as calling 407-331-3600 or emailing Be sure to call within 30 days of our shipping date to ensure that your replacement is free.

Ditto for a disc that loses its way: Give us a prompt shout for any disc that fails to promptly reach you and your replacement will ship that same day.

Thought for the day: Make the switch to our new digital delivery service today and say goodbye to snail-mail trouble tomorrow!

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The Hitlist -- Find all the hottest top 40, hip-hop, country, rock, dance and Latin hits -- and where they appear on your Promo Only series --[click here]

**EDITORS NOTE** The current Hitlist may still be in the process of being compiled so please check back if the one shown is not the most current.

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Useless Information! - Fun facts, trivia, or just plain silly stuff!

"Weird Ways to Attract True Love "

It's likely that you or one of your single friends spends a good deal of time complaining about how difficult it is to meet people worth dating. Problem solved! These strange customs from all over the world give single people inventive ways to find true love. Go get an apple and we'll show ya!

An Apple a Day...
In Elizabethan times, it was desirable for a girl to peel an apple and stick it under her armpit until it was saturated with sweat. The girl would then give it to her potential beau so that he could inhale her heavenly scent. We figure most men would prefer a hanky scented with Chanel No. 5, but whatever works!

Sniffin' for Love...
A study at the University of New Mexico found that when some women are ovulating, their sense of smell is seriously elevated, allowing them to evaluate how attracted a man is to them just by sniffing his worn shirts. Ladies, if the guy questions your sniffing, just tell him "it's a pheromone thing".

ShamrockEat Your Greens...
Ladies, a few directions: Go to Ireland. Find a shamrock. Eat said shamrock while thinking of your true love. Wait for the gentleman to arrive, fully in love with you. In certain parts of Ireland, this custom is said to work like a (lucky) charm.

glovesBackyard Safari...
It takes a little preplanning, but if you can spare the time on Valentine's Day, go on a little wildlife adventure to determine your future with love and help your selection process. According to old European folktales, the types of animals you see on February 14 foretell the person you'll marry. Squirrels mean you'll find a cheapskate; goldfinch sightings point to a millionaire; a robin means you'll marry a crime fighter. And if you should find a glove that day, the owner of the other glove is your true love.

Pillaging, Etc.
If you're a warrior or male tribal member who happens to be looking for love, why not try the ancient custom of a hostile takeover? They're always dramatic and you don't have to worry about a curfew. But beware: If your new bride's family comes looking for her, you have to hide out with her for as long as it takes the moon to go through a full cycle.

Dating back to 17th-century Wales, men carved spoons when they had a crush on a woman. Much like the secret codes in flower-giving (red roses=love, daisies=loyalty, etc.) the spoons were carved with various embellishments that let the girl know the man's intentions. Vines meant that feelings continued to grow, for example, and a circle inside a square signified a desire for children.

Victorian Dating Bureaucracy...
If you think the politics of dating are weird today, you don't know how good we have it. In the Victorian age, dating among the elite was more complicated than filing taxes. First of all, nothing happened without a chaperone, and everything usually took place in full view of the whole family/town. Before a man could even speak to a woman, he had to be formallly introduced. After that, he gave her his card. If the young lady was interested, he might be able to take her out for a stroll.


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