Difference between revisions of "Selecting Music"

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:'''Imagine-Ear-ing'''
 
:'''Imagine-Ear-ing'''
 
::Selecting music takes time and a lot of listening. As you're listening to potential musical selections, try to imagine various props in your yard or on your house and how you'd animate them. You might have to listen to the same selection four or five times before you even decide it's on a "maybe" list. You might eventually listen to a selection twenty or more times before you decide it's right for what you want to do. By then you'll have formulated some pretty good ideas for the effects you'd use and sequencing the actual effects and synchronizing them to the music will actually be easier!
 
::Selecting music takes time and a lot of listening. As you're listening to potential musical selections, try to imagine various props in your yard or on your house and how you'd animate them. You might have to listen to the same selection four or five times before you even decide it's on a "maybe" list. You might eventually listen to a selection twenty or more times before you decide it's right for what you want to do. By then you'll have formulated some pretty good ideas for the effects you'd use and sequencing the actual effects and synchronizing them to the music will actually be easier!
 +
 +
:'''Vary the Music Type'''
 +
::It's a good idea to choose different genres of music as well -- as long as they support the vision of the show you've designed. Adding a country western selection, or maybe a brief choral-only piece gives your viewers something different not only to see, but to hear. Maybe do an all-instrumental piece, or use a folk song version of a popular Christmas tune, or put in something by a rock band. Try different things but always, always, vary the music from one selection to the next. You don't want them all to sound the same because then none of them will have an impact on the viewers.
 +
 +
:'''Appropriateness'''
 +
::Make the lighting effects appropriate for the music. Think about the song "Silent Night." It's generally a quiet, contemplative song -- it's really a lullaby for little children. Does it make sense to have wildly blinking and flashing lights going all over the place while Silent Night is playing? Probably not. I don't know whether KISS ever put the song on any of their albums, but I doubt it. How about "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town?" That's kind of a bouncy little song (Gene Autry was the original artist -- he wrote it!) that's relatively short and non-technical. It's also easy to sequence to and kids and parents can sing along with it. By involving your audience in that way, you endear them to your show and they'll come back many times just to hear those selections. A nice little bouncy song like that begs for light, bouncy lights in perfect time to the music's beat, and not a lot of heavy, overused effects. You get the idea.
 +
 +
:'''Quality'''
 +
::The quality of the recording is critically important. It needs to be a good, clean copy with good fidelity and low or no noise. Ripping the audio off a YouTube video isn't a good idea. For one, it's a copyright violation but more than that, the fidelity of recordings made that way is not good. Spend the dollar and buy it off Amazon or other music-sharing service.

Latest revision as of 14:40, 24 July 2020

Making a light show is an intensely personal activity. Here are a few guidelines that may be of help. There are no wrong answers to these questions but you must answer them as they will guide you in the future.
Why do I want to make a light show?
Are you doing it for the kids? Are you doing it because everyone else is doing it? Are you doing it because you want to outdo your neighbor! Are you doing it to celebrate an event or activity? Are you doing it just to keep busy? Are you doing it because you enjoy a technical challenge? Are you doing it for a charitable cause? Are you doing it to wow and dazzle people? Are you doing it because you don't have anything better to do with your time? There are lots of reasons why people make animated light shows, but it's important for you to know YOUR reason, because the hobby can be fairly expensive, it's proven to be somewhat addictive and it takes quite a bit of time -- time away from work, or from family or ???.
Who is your show's intended audience?
Who do you want to see your show? Are there lots of little children in the neighborhood? Are there lots of teenagers? Retirees? Is it for a specific religious or ethnic community? Is it just for yourself and your family? Is it for the general public? Are you hoping to have a lot of visitors or do you expect to have only a few? Do you want it to be interactive so visitors can push buttons or do things that influence the running show? Do you even care if you get visitors or not?
Own it
Your show is YOUR SHOW, and from the very start, you should do things the way YOU want to do them, not because someone else wants you to do them his or her way. Your show is unique: take pride in the fact that nobody else on the planet has the same show that you do. As such, when you select music for your show, choose music that YOU like because if you don't like the music, you're not likely to like your show or put a much effort into it and the result will likely be something you won't be proud to display. The end result of that is that you'll do a show for a year or two and quit -- and all those lights and controller electronics will have gone to waste. (And no, don't expect you'll be able to sell and get good money out of them. It never works that way in this hobby-- if you sell the gear and get ANY money out of it you'll be doing well.) Note: politically speaking, because you'll need the approval and possibly assistance of immediate family members, it's a good idea to involve them in the planning and construction and certainly, make them happy. "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" is a pretty good guideline here...
Theme
Some DIY'ers have a theme that changes from year to year. One year it might be "Santa" or another year, "Christmas Trees" or even "Winter Olympics." Then upwards of half of the props, sequences and music they select for the show puts a focus on the chosen theme. Some DIY'ers might use "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" as the focus of their shows but celebrate Jesus' birth in different ways, perhaps in a similar way to what Disney has done with their "It's a Small World" ride -- celebrating different cultures all over the world. Some shows might focus on new movies or use a "Star Wars" theme -- certainly the Star Wars music is vibrant and exciting and provides plenty of opportunity to make zany light effects. There's no limit to the thematic ideas you might use -- you're only limited by what you can afford to do in the space you have to do it.
Scheduling
Plan to have both fast and energetic and slower and calmer music in your show to give your viewers a break. The wild and crazy blinking flashing lights can be fun and certainly dazzling, but it can wear them out in no time. Believe it or not, it's a lot of work to watch an energy-packed, highly-animated lightshow. Too many high-energy songs in a row creates sensory overload for your visitors. Give them a break every now and then both in light effects and music energy.
Imagine-Ear-ing
Selecting music takes time and a lot of listening. As you're listening to potential musical selections, try to imagine various props in your yard or on your house and how you'd animate them. You might have to listen to the same selection four or five times before you even decide it's on a "maybe" list. You might eventually listen to a selection twenty or more times before you decide it's right for what you want to do. By then you'll have formulated some pretty good ideas for the effects you'd use and sequencing the actual effects and synchronizing them to the music will actually be easier!
Vary the Music Type
It's a good idea to choose different genres of music as well -- as long as they support the vision of the show you've designed. Adding a country western selection, or maybe a brief choral-only piece gives your viewers something different not only to see, but to hear. Maybe do an all-instrumental piece, or use a folk song version of a popular Christmas tune, or put in something by a rock band. Try different things but always, always, vary the music from one selection to the next. You don't want them all to sound the same because then none of them will have an impact on the viewers.
Appropriateness
Make the lighting effects appropriate for the music. Think about the song "Silent Night." It's generally a quiet, contemplative song -- it's really a lullaby for little children. Does it make sense to have wildly blinking and flashing lights going all over the place while Silent Night is playing? Probably not. I don't know whether KISS ever put the song on any of their albums, but I doubt it. How about "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town?" That's kind of a bouncy little song (Gene Autry was the original artist -- he wrote it!) that's relatively short and non-technical. It's also easy to sequence to and kids and parents can sing along with it. By involving your audience in that way, you endear them to your show and they'll come back many times just to hear those selections. A nice little bouncy song like that begs for light, bouncy lights in perfect time to the music's beat, and not a lot of heavy, overused effects. You get the idea.
Quality
The quality of the recording is critically important. It needs to be a good, clean copy with good fidelity and low or no noise. Ripping the audio off a YouTube video isn't a good idea. For one, it's a copyright violation but more than that, the fidelity of recordings made that way is not good. Spend the dollar and buy it off Amazon or other music-sharing service.