A Condensed History of ShowXpress™

 

by John Dominguez, CHAUVET® Assistant Service Manager

ShowXpress™ is a DMX software that allows you to control DMX fixtures from your laptop or smartphone .  The software offers a more flexible and versatile option to the regular rack-mounted controller by bringing you to the modern realm of computer control. Let’s face it, people are using computers for everything nowadays, so why shouldn’t controlling your fixtures be one of them? In 1998, the first customer placed an order for the Windows-compatible ShowXpress™ software. Since its introduction to the market, ShowXpress™ has gone through a significant amount of updates. Read on for a condensed history of the software that simplifies mobile gigs all over the world.

A Condensed History of ShowXpress™ Milestones

  • December 2009: First version of ShowXpress™, version 6.00, available for Windows and MacOS.
  • April 2010: version 6.2 features Timeline — a synchronized media playback that merges audio, video, pictures and lighting.
  • June 2010: Version 6.22 introduces MIDI and DMX input management.
  • July 2010: Version 6.23 adds Macro buttons in Live to trigger several buttons simply by pressing one “macro” button.
  • August 2010: Version 6.24 features a “copy” and “paste” section in Timeline to simplify programming and synchronization.
  • October 2010: Version 6.25 is now available in German and Dutch. It also includes a lasso selection tool and *BPM tool, which allows scenes to be triggered to beats per minute (*BPM tool is not available on MacOS).
  • January 2011: Version 6.26 is now available in Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. It also includes an astronomical clock trigger and DMX output patch, which allows you to automatically trigger scenes on a specific date and time, and control the software with an external DMX controller.
  • May 2011: Version 6.27 changes history by allowing you to control ShowXpress™ from your smartphone or tablet.
  • December 2011: Version 6.30beta1 introduces Pixels, which allows for pixel-mapping control over your RGB fixtures.

ShowXpress™ is constantly changing and adapting to the needs of the market. Click here to ensure you are using the latest version of the software. Keep your eyes on CHAUVET® DJ for the latest advances in DMX control.

Substituting Microphone Cables for DMX Cables

by Nick Airriess, CHAUVET® DJ product specialist

It is a common perception that microphone cables can be substituted for DMX cables when setting up your lighting gear. They appear similar because they both have three-pin, XLR connections, as well as male and female ends. However, the actual cables, the part transmitting the DMX signal, are designed different and transmit the signal differently. Click here to learn the difference.

DJ University is an online resource for the DJ/mobile performer sponsored by CHAUVET® DJ.

 

The Inside Scoop on Wireless Fixtures

by Nick Airriess, CHAUVET® DJ Product Specialist

Wireless DMX provides mobile entertainers with a simple and convenient DMX solution without the hassle, time and expense of DMX cables. The best way to enhance a fixture with built-in wireless DMX is adding battery power and an infrared remote control (IRC) — imagine the possibilities with a 100% TRUE wireless fixture. Need to setup uplighting in a historic building or location with limited sources of power? Not a problem. Have a limited amount of time to setup/breakdown and don’t want the added cost of extra labor? It doesn’t matter, because you won’t need the extra help. Need to instantly change the color of all your fixtures? You can easily make the switch with the press of a button. Investing in fixtures with wireless DMX not only saves time and money, it is worth its weight in gold just for the convenience of easily controlling your lights. Read on.

DJ University is an online resource for the DJ/mobile performer sponsored by CHAUVET® DJ.

3 Tips When Choosing a Wash Light

by Allan Reiss, CHAUVET® DJ product manager

When selecting wash lights, it is valuable to do your research to get the most bang for your buck. You want fixtures that will meet the demands of your audience, project your desired throw and fit within your budget. Before you decide to invest in an arsenal of wash lights, click here for some helpful tips.

If you’re looking to invest in CHAUVET® DJ wash lights, SlimPACK™ 56 is a great starter kit that bundles four SlimPAR™ 56 wash lights, one Obey™ 3 DMX controller, four 10-foot DMX cables and four IEC power cords all in one nifty VIP CHS-SP4 gear bag.

DJ University is an online resource for the DJ/mobile performer sponsored by CHAUVET® DJ.

 

DJ Profile: DJ Awtkazt

Robert A. Velasco, aka DJ Awtkazt (pronounced outcast), is a DJ who lives in New Brunswick, N.J. and caters to the N.Y. and N.J. areas. He owns and operates Skorpio Productions Entertainment and DJs all types events from car shows to weddings. Read on and get to know more about him.

1. How did you get started as a DJ?
I became interested in DJing in the 80’s because my uncle was a DJ in the NY mobile circuit. I started DJing in 1994 and currently do private and corporate events.

2. Is this a full-time job or something you do on the side?
DJing is a part-time gig for me.  I work full time as an implementation analyst for a healthcare automation company.

 3. What fixtures are included in your setup?
I use an Obey™ 40 DMX controller to control my fixtures. I’m looking to add Intimidator™ Spot LED 150 moving yokes, a haze or fog machine and a bunch of SlimPAR™ wash lights for uplighting.


4. What is your favorite fixture?
I haven’t added moving yokes or scanners to my setup yet, so I can’t say I have a favorite fixture. I can’t wait to see the lineup coming to the 2012 DJ Expo because I plan to pick up some new gear.

 5. Best advice you can give someone just getting started in the DJ industry?
Seek professional advice and budget accordingly.

 6. What are your top three most requested songs?
Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen, “Brokenhearted” by Karmin and “Drive By” by Train.

Service Confidential: DMX roundup

by John Dominguez, assistant service manager for CHAUVET® DJ

Remember the lighting boards from earlier decades? Some were as big as a door and easily recognizable due to their size. Technological advancements and the creation of DMX have allowed the miniaturization of electronic technologies. Lighting control boards are dramatically smaller and can be rack mounted or easily transported in a light case or gym bag.

What is DMX
DMX, or digital multiplex, is a universal digital system used to control lighting effects. It was originally used to control lighting dimmers and various incompatible systems. In the beginning, companies came out with their own methods of control and standards were not universal. As with all things, DMX evolved and is primarily used to connect controllers, dimmers, scanners, foggers and other advanced fixtures. In addition to controlling theater, interior design and architectural lighting, DMX is also used to control commercial electronic advertising and residential holiday-themed lighting.

Universal Tips:

Always use DMX cables
Microphone and other 3-pin cables look similar and may occasionally work with your fixtures. However, they will eventually fail. DMX cables are a necessity when working with highly sensitive LED lighting signals. If there is a problem with your fixture, cables are usually the first thing to check. Purchase good quality DMX cables to avoid the problem all together.

DMX Addressing
DMX addressing allows the controller to communicate with the fixture. You must properly address your fixtures in order for them to function correctly. Most controllers will include a guide with the correct address for each fixture in accordance with its specific fixture number.

Know Your Fixture
Take a moment and study your fixture. Each fixture has a specific number of DMX channels that control specific functions. Knowing the function of each channel gives you the means to control each function at your discretion and create customized light shows.

Always Test Fixtures
Prior to a gig, testing fixtures is a must. Don’t take a new item at face value. There are times when human error is to blame if a cable, clamp, lamp or other type of assembly is incomplete or missing.

Read Service Confidential: manuals and online sources

COLORstrip™ Reinvents Cosmic Bowling

Emerald Lanes, a bowling alley located in Boise, Idaho, livens up the Midwest and revolutionizes cosmic bowling with 70 CHAUVET® DJ COLORstrip™ LED wash lights.

Aaron Dreiling, whose family owns and operates Emerald Lanes, teamed with Anthony Nichols and strategically installed 70 COLORstrip™ linear wash lights. For maximum flexibility, the team uses ShowXpress™, Xpress™ 512 Plus and D-Fi™ Plus wireless DMX to control the fixtures and design unique light shows that change color, chase, and strobe.

To read the complete installation story, please click here.

3 Simple Steps to Wireless DMX

by Wallace Greenaway, CHAUVET® DJ Product Manager

Using wireless DMX to operate your fixtures reduces unsightly strips of taped cables, saves time by eliminating the need to run cables to and from each fixture, and is safer for your guests. In fact, here are 20 reasons why you should use wireless DMX. If you are completely unfamiliar with the process, click here for three simple steps to help you get started.

DJ University is an online resource for the DJ/mobile performer sponsored by CHAUVET DJ®.

CHAUVET® DJ INfects MBLV16

Team CHAUVET® DJ traveled to Las Vegas to introduce MBLV16 attendees to our new world standard of INfectious lighting. During the show, we handed out “Lighting is INfectious” swag, gave a ShowXpress™ tutorial, rubbed elbows with some staples in the DJ community, spread the word about the $4K Social and illuminated celebrity DJs on the main stage.

To show off our latest products, we mounted more than 100 fixtures in our 20-by-20-foot booth. The most popular fixtures included the Nimbus™ dry-ice machine, the pixel-mapping PiX™ series, the battery-operated, 100% TRUE wireless Freedom™ series and the new Intimidator™ scanners and moving heads. The main stage featured celebrity artists, including Young MC, illuminated by 4Bar™ Tri wash lights and Q-Spot™ 260-LED moving heads. Check out some of the photos we took while we were on the road!

5 Tips for a Smooth Setup

by Allan Reiss, CHAUVET® DJ product manager
Have you ever arrived to a gig and realized there is a covered walkway preventing you from backing your trailer in to unload your gear? Maybe you’ve unloaded all your gear and forgot to pack a power cord for every fixture. Click here for five tips to ensure a smooth setup.

DJ University is an online resource for the DJ/mobile performer sponsored by CHAUVET®.