LED Dance shows - technical requirements

What do I need to create Tron Dance show?

Here are three most important technical requirements for the Tron Dance performances:

  • LED suit(s)
  • Controlling hardware
  • Controlling software

We call them all Tron Dance System. It sounds quite easy, but let’s talk about the first requirement – the LED costume (or LED suit).

 

LED suit

LED suit is probably the most complicated, but also the most important part of Tron Dance system. For us, developing LED suits was very hard and very expensive process. It’s really complicated to produce good LED costume, which won’t break after only few shows. There are two main types of LED suits used now – EL strip suits and LED strip suits.

EL strip suits are produced using EL wires (or EL strips). There are many benefits when using EL wires – it’s very easy to create shape you want. It’s easier to create great-looking LED costumes with many curved shapes using EL wires. Also usually the EL wires shine really nice (the colors are nice). But there are some flaws when using EL wires. They can shine only in one color. Although you can mix several colors, you still don’t get full RGB color space. It’s not so easy to produce electronic, which will fade the EL wires. And the most important fact – the intensity is very low. But that’s ok for TV shows, where you use completely black environment (the intensity is ok for TV cameras). 

EL Wires

Our first and only attempt of using EL wires - it's nice,
but it's 
not "our style" - the design options are great,
but the light intensity is quite low

 

Old vs New LED suit

Old LED suit vs new one - the older was nicer,
but not reliable. Anyway, most of the clients
don't really care about the number of LEDs
on each strip.
 

 

We’ve decided to use LED strip based LED suits. The main reason was the intensity – we really wanted to have light costumes, which shine like crazy. Our plan was to use the costumes for the public events like concerts or trance parties – where the completely dark environment is not always available. Also the LED strip based LED suits allow you to mix RGB color channels, so you can color the suits using any color the client wants. Of course, there are some flaws of LED strips too. It’s a lot more complicated to produce curved shapes (it’s almost impossible, since the lowest segment length is 5cm). Also you need to do a lot of soldering when producing the suits.

The first version of LED costumes we’ve produced used LED strips with 360 LEDs per meter. They were nice – but not reliable. After every show we had to fix them. That’s why we use now 60 LEDs/m LED strips for our costumes.

 

Anyway, we’ve used both technologies and for our party-like Tron Dance performances, the LED strips are definitely better option. Although the design options are not that huge as by EL wires, the color change feature and the intensity are really most important factors. Also our shows are usually quite fast and the audience really don’t have time to admire the design. We think it’s more important to create light scenes, which are great for the music. And the most important is to catch all the important changes in the music sequence. That’s what makes people scream…

Except deciding between using EL wire or LED strip you also have to decide, how many separate channels you’ll need for your LED suit. It means, if you want to turn left and right hand separately or they can shine bot at once. We use 16 separate parts for our costume. Each part can have different color or it can be turned off completely.

 


Our standard LED costume produced using LED strips uses 16 separate parts

 

We’ll talk about the hardware and software in the future posts.  But you can also let us know in the comments section, what topics are the most interesting for you.

 

 

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