Really, really new to this, so not sure if this is more of a hardware question, but I've decide on Light Show Pro. Which USB dmx dongle is recommended for use with the software? Can any usb dmx controller be used?
There's a number of usb dongles that you can use. The most common style is the open dmx compatible ones. They can be bought via ebay if you can trawl through all the rubbish. I use http://auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/USB485RJ-ISO myself which can be grabbed from https://www.audiovisualdevices.com.au/viewprod.php?productid=USB485RJ-ISO . I sell a non isolated version for $22. The difference is if you happen to do bad stuff to the dmx boards the isolated version protects your pc from damage.
On a side note. Very few people will be using a dongle with LSP. LSP is best for 1000s of channels and once you get to the 1000s of channels mark you need an E1.31 interface rather than a usb dongle. If you haven't bought lsp yet I'd recommend you at least look at vixen 3 as both softwares have a bit of a learning curve which is not leaving you much time to play at this time of year but vixen is free. I personally hate the channel setup on vixen 3 but for low channel counts which is what you use usb dongles for it shouldn't be too painful.
Thanks AAH. I looked at Vixen, but it doesn't support syncing to a video which is something I want to incorporate as I don't have many lights to start with. I've downloaded the trial version and it seems to do what I want, although I haven't physically tried it with lights yet.
This year, just as a trial, we plan to use my 4 DMX LED stage lights (13 channels) as well,
We plan on buying 2 x 4 channel 240v dimmer packs (AIC-167) that will control the following:
1. red rope light
2. blue rope light
3. green rope light
4. 2 cherry blossom trees. (wife wants to use a double adapter, not sure if that's a good idea or not)
5. 2 stars
6. 2 x spiral trees
7. 2 x spiral trees (6 spiral trees altogether, 2 on each channel)
8. 2 x spiral trees
We have a projector we are going to put in the window.
We will probably also buy an FM transmitter.
Assuming those dimmers are http://alternativeimports.com.au/item/?73 then ouch at the cost. I have a bunch of lor dimmers that I've used in the past (using 1 or 2 this year) but for the last few years I've done my best to talk people out of 240V lights. It's cheaper and safer to throw the lights away and go with low voltage lights and dmx boards. Even a 16 channel lor AC board makes those AIC-167 look cheap. http://auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/Controllers has a list of all sorts of the AC and DC boards around. It would be too late to grab any new LOR boards from the states but there will be plenty of 2nd hand ones around if you wanted to go that way.