Planning an Animated Lighting display

How do I lay out my lighting for an Animated Christmas lighting show? This is the question that we are asked more than any other. Here are a few of my thoughts to help you in this process.

The first rule of thumb is to remember that you are putting on a “show”. If you go to a play or concert, there is a “stage” where the various actors or musicians are located. The same applies to your lighting show. Whether you are a homeowner or business owner, your animated lighting channels should be confined to a specific area. Most of our customers do not include 100% of their lighting into their animated lighting show, just certain items in a pre-determined area.

House with Lighting Channels

This is a typical house. Although your home might not look just like this, you can see where the different light circuits are placed. Once you understand where things go, it’s very easy to change things around based on the unique features of your home

People lay out their lighting for their show in one of three ways (you can mix and match on this any way you want).  This is in order of popularity (the first way is how most people lay out their displays and so on):

  • By color: It is cool when the red lights come on together, the green lights, etc.
  • By “type”: Many people group their lighting channels so the lights in the bushes come on together, the lights on the trees come on together, their candy canes light up together, etc
  • By location:  Some people like the items on the left side of their display to come on together, the items in the center to light up together, and the items on the right side come on together.

In the picture above, you see that there are numbers 1-16 in the picture.  These represent the Qty. 16 lighting channels that they will plug the lights into their light controller (that makes the lighting dance).  Certainly you can grow your display beyond 16 channels and we cover this in a page on our website called Standard Channel Mapping:

If you visit the Channel Mapping page you will see a variety of displays from Qty. 16 lighting channels up to Qty. 64 lighting channels.  Of course we are always ready, willing and able to discuss your animated lighting “show” thoughts.