LIFX Developer Zone

Using LIFX on stage

#1

Hi all.
I work with artistic performances and I’m new on scripting and developing, so if you guys could help me…
I’m trying to figure out a way to use A19 bulbs as I usually do it on stage: throughout faders, combining different setups into scenes and manually crossfading them. For this we have the DMX protocol, but I recon this is not the same for LIFX ou Hue, right?

Thank you for your help!

#2

Hi, DMX and the protocol followed by these bulbs are entirely different, so you won’t be able to use these with a standard lighting board (probably not a surprise).

But with the right software, you can do just about anything (in terms of color and intensity) that you can do with a typical LED stage light. Of course, stage lights usually have a lot more LED’s, which allows them to shine a lot brighter and produce better white light. Also, stage lights allow you to adjust the focus, which obviously is not possible with a bulb.

I think it would be a very interesting project to build some kind of a bridge, where DMX commands could be transformed appropriately and sent to bulbs on a WiFi network. I think it would be quite a bit of work, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone hasn’t already started working on it. A lot of lighting boards already have the ability to connect to a computer network, although I think it’s mostly used to allow control via a remote app.

#3

Tks for your reply zioalvaro.
About the “right software” to do anything, I tried LIFXstyle and you’re probably right. But I’m wondering if you can point me one that could connect to some sort of board or hardware controller (MIDI??). That way I could get more fine tuning controls.
Tks again!

#4

Hey @edurabin! I’ve been using LIFX for live theater experience and can chime in with some of my experiences. LIFX bulbs are a super powerful tool, that allow for beautiful & expressive lighting and moods, but the tooling around running them for a live performance isn’t great. Right now(to my knowledge) the only way to control bulbs and groups of bulbs is through the LIFX app. The app is pretty good and allows you to set scenes and presets but you won’t be able to control it with knobs and faders like you want.

For my experience I used the LIFX Python LAN API and built my own custom web app for the theater techs to use. Every time there is a performance they boot up a computer running my web app and control every part of it from the browser. A solution for you could be to build your own web app and then use webmidi.js to connect a midi keyboard for this.

A huge thing that is going to make or break your performance is going to be your network. I’ve found ensuring proper communciation with a large amount of bulbs has been the toughest thing, and had to do some work arounds to constantly send updates and make sure the bulbs are getting their messages.

When I started working on my theater project I bought my own LIFX bulb and I love it for personal use. But if you have the option to use a lighting option that supports DMX I would strongly advise that. Otherwise building your own app in Python or Node.js and using a midi keyboard as a controller would be the way to go. Let me know if you have any more questions.

#5

Hi Matt,
Wonderful reply!

I’ve tried working with the LIFX app, but you can’t really tweak the presets. For exemple: I’ve wanted to set two bulbs to flash independently blue and red, like a cop car, but the time between flashes is huge and I couldn’t create the strobe effect.

I had issues with network as well. I’ve found that the bulbs easily loose its connection. How do you manage to send updates without changing its state?

I’m very very “lame” on this script helm…have a friend who’s a pro, but he’s to busy to help me right now. Do you know where I can find a good knowledge base for start or if there’s already any script out there that I could start with?

Thanks a lot.

#6

Hey @edurabin, I would start here

All the examples are pretty straightforward. If you need some advanced help though I may be able to help out remotely (unless you’re in NYC area). If you want to message me we can talk!

#7

Hi, I don’t know what your WiFi setup is, but you might want to consider a mesh network, like Google WiFi or Eero. I live in a crowded, dense apartment building, and that improved performance for all of my connected devices.

I also have been using LifxLAN, and think it’s quite good. I believe you can learn a lot from the examples (I know I did), which all seem to work out of the box.

Early on, I had some problems with timing and lost connections, but when I added a background thread to keep re-discovering the lights every 2 minutes, that seemed to help. I can’t say why it would make a difference, but it may be that the WiFi network is doing something when a client goes silent for a while. Or maybe I just happened to fix a bug in my code without realizing it.

#8

Interesting idea. How would you interface a MIDI keyboard to a Python or Node app? Through USB?