As you probably know, our company is selling LED costumes but we also sell hardware and software separately for those, who would like to make their custom design.
How does it work? We will explain in two parts of blogs due to it is a more complex topic. In the first part, we will describe what is the LED suit made of and in the second part how you can build your suit using our controllers.
What is the LED suit made of?
Every LED suit on the market has three different components that are necessary for the show:
- Hardware controllers
- Costume design & LED technology on it
Software is the “brain” of the LED suit. It is a very important part of all shows and you usually spend plenty of your time programming. Many people do not pay attention to this and they are just looking for the best price but good software can save you a lot of time, stress and bad mood. Overall you have three options on the global market for programming the show:
- German – Madrix
- Chinese – LightEdit
- Slovak – Led Strip Studio
Madrix is the most popular LED software in the world and it is high quality but very complicated at the same time for making the LED shows and it takes a very long time to program anything. A big disadvantage is that if you want to be “online” – it means to have an option of live controlling, you need pay licenses that are in general very expensive and only for one year of use.
Light Edit is a Chinese version of the software. You will get this software by buying the costume from China. This software is very basic but I find working with it very impractical and the workspace is not very user-friendly. You do not have any timeline where you see all effects, you just take the part of the costume that you want to light up and write the exact time when it should start and finish. It is extremely hard to fit the effect to the correct beats due you want your programming to be accurate to milliseconds.
Led Strip Studio – it is our own software made for LED shows. We are using it for every show and we have never had any failure during the shows. You can see the timeline with all the beats and program everything offline and when you are having your show you just connect the controller and you can see all you have programmed in real-time. You can read more HERE or check the VIDEO.
Controllers are like “bones of the body”. It is the skeleton that you need for your costumes. A quality controller is extremely important due it is transmitting a wireless signal to the receivers on the dancer’s backs.
If you do not have the good one the signal can be interfaced with different wireless hardware, which is used on daily basics in studios or live events as microphones, radios, beam lights, fog machines, etc. We are using special dynamic frequency on 2,4 Gigahertz that can always find a free frequency to work properly. The distance for the transmitting signal is also very long but we always recommend putting the controllers next to the stage. If this is not possible you can reach up to 100 meters from the technical room over to the stage.
In case of losing signal, we implemented standalone mode to the receivers. It means if anything happens with the signal your suits still glow on the color/effect that you used last. So from the very first moment, nobody can recognize any mistake. To have a good and solid controller with receivers you need to use quality material and design. We are using standardize sizes 1U box for the controller and metal boxes for receivers. It means that even if you “dance on your back” (for example breakdance) you cannot destroy it. The receiver also provides you with a lot of useful information like WIFI strength, battery life, pair button, and change over switch to you can easy change the number of any dancer. We have one extra feature that is a test button. It is very useful in the situation when your controller is already installed in a technical room and you want to test your dancers in a changing room if all parts are glowing well (signal usually does not reach the changing room due they are far away).
The last main plus of the receiver is the possibility to easily change the most vulnerable part – plastic lockers. These lockers are damaged mostly during transport when you fly by airplane, but it takes just a few seconds to change.
Design of the costume
Costumes design has to perfectly copy the body shape. It is actually what people can see. You have multiple options for the design and technology that you can use but some work and some just don’t. You can pick from:
- El Wire
- LED analogue – strips or fiber optic
- LED digital
We are not using any el wire costumes due to their maintenance. Their look is very nice, the wire is very slim and has a rich color scale but you spend plenty of time repairing. Another big disadvantage is that you cannot change color just turn on/off the existing one.
LED analogue – strips or fiber optic
These are our favorite technologies and that is why we use them. The main advantage is the possibility to change color to any existing one, your programming is quite fast (compare to digital suits), maintenance is cheap and easy, and durability is on a high level. If you want to use the LED strips the best option is to install them on some solid materials like plastic. If you need flexibility you can pick fiber optic cable that you can form to any shape and even change colors as well. A disadvantage of fiber optic is lower intensity compare to LED strips but for our purpose of LED shows danced in a full dark, it is more than enough. I recommend this technology to anyone who is not so skillful in the technical aspects of the suits.
Digital costumes are the most complex, most expensive but the nicest to have. Usually, the digital costumes are the best what you can have but it also has a lot of disadvantages. The main issue is they are very expensive due to the hundreds of pixels they have (also the controller is more expensive), they are complicated to program (it is more time-consuming) and also because of the big number of pixels your dancing is limited. Their main advantage is that you can play videos on them and you can see it in real-time. Also, it is very easy to implement the logo of the client. The majority of suits that are sold with digital strips are still very limited. I have seen a lot of shows with digital suits but I did not really like them. It is because of the effects. Because of their imperfections, you cannot reach the top-quality effects which you would like to have in your show. Regarding our controllers, we still have not finished our digital suits due we want the top-quality costumes and better options for programming compare to our competitors.
I hope I gave given you some useful information. Do not forget to check the second part of this blog where you can find how to build your suit using our controllers.
If you already have some questions or you are interested in buying our products, do not hesitate to contact me HERE.