LED Cue lights

Aaron S.

Active Member
Hey everyone. I have been rolling an idea around my head for a while, and I wanted to see if anyone has done something similar.

In my venue, I currently have an "old school" home built cue light system. It all runs off of stage pin cable with standard A lamps for the light. The issue I have is that A) I only have 9 available cue lights, and B) the amount of cable I have to use at times.

My break out for the q lights is up in my cat walks, over the plaster line. If I need to run 2 lights to our automation station, I need to run about 400' of cable. If I need to run 4 lights to the back side of my set, not only do I need to run a few hundred feet of cable, but 4 separate runs.

In my venue I have ethernet ports for my lighting network all over the building. I have an idea of taking some 12v LED tape and wiring it up through ethernet connectors so I can just plug into my network ports, and daisy chain them together if need be. Having a switch in my dimmer room to Patch into, and maybe somehow utilize the PoE feature.

The other issue is that the SM booth doesn't have a lot of desk space so I would like to get something in a small package that I could maybe have a dozen or so lights.


Has anyone built something like this?
 

microstar

Well-Known Member
Looks like ETC beat you to it!

Screen Shot 2022-05-01 at 9.14.25 AM.png
 

Aaron S.

Active Member

I have looked a little at that system, my concerns are that it is way too much system for my needs. The other concern is the size. My SM booth doesn't have the space to put a 12 channel control station in there. It would literally take up the whole desk they have. I do like the system, but a much simpler and compact version is what I'm after. One of the good things with the current system I have is that the sounds desk has a rope light running around the whole desk so no matter where the operator has their attention they can see the cue light.

Thanks for the contribution to the discussion though.
 

Aaron S.

Active Member

Malabaristo

Well-Known Member
If you want a relatively easy DIY project, I've used these little things for camera tally lights triggered by our ATEM switcher. They're a neat and cheap package with built-in Wi-Fi, so all you need is power at the location you want to put one (via the USB C connector). There's a pretty novice-friendly visual programming environment available for them too. Because of my odd network layout (ATEM is connected to the internet for streaming, but I wanted the tally lights on a closed, A/V network), I have a desktop computer running Node-Red to act as a router between the ATEM and the tally lights. You could do something similar for your "master" station with Node-Red Dashboard, or use another ATOM with switches connected to the GPIO pins for more tactile control.

Something like this for cuelights is on my "free time" to-do list... so maybe someday I'll have an example to share :)
 

danTt

Well-Known Member
I think you're better off looking at some sort of analog-dmx converter, or DMX controller, and using AIP to control pre existing circuits or DMX decoders. The infrastructure already exists, and in most cases there's a spare circuit somewhere near everywhere you want a cue light, especially as conventional units are phased out. You certainly could use your approach, but it's going down the Arduino rabbit hole most likely and probably creating a system that no one would want to inherit
 

microstar

Well-Known Member
There is this discussion from the past with several suggestions:
 

almorton

Well-Known Member
I’m also curious if you could convert the 3pin mic cable to Ethernet and run it through a switch, as that’s what I would be doing in my venue.
I don't see anything on the site that suggests it's remotely easily convertible to ethernet. My guess would be the three conductors are carrying 0v, power (probably +12V) and serial data. That would be the easiest way to be able to daisy chain or split and still work as they suggest.
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
I have some 18" sticks of RGB tape mounted on stiff aluminum with 4 pin connectors.

I should think you could rig something up with those and Cat-3/5 cable and maybe adaptors; that would give you 7 different cues: R G B C M Y W.

Luckily, I had the eBay email so I could get some decent search keywords out of it; I'm talking about something like these:


A similar, but more rugged approach, is these:

 

Aaron S.

Active Member
If you want a relatively easy DIY project, I've used these little things for camera tally lights triggered by our ATEM switcher. They're a neat and cheap package with built-in Wi-Fi, so all you need is power at the location you want to put one (via the USB C connector). There's a pretty novice-friendly visual programming environment available for them too. Because of my odd network layout (ATEM is connected to the internet for streaming, but I wanted the tally lights on a closed, A/V network), I have a desktop computer running Node-Red to act as a router between the ATEM and the tally lights. You could do something similar for your "master" station with Node-Red Dashboard, or use another ATOM with switches connected to the GPIO pins for more tactile control.

Something like this for cuelights is on my "free time" to-do list... so maybe someday I'll have an example to share :)
That does seem like a nice little system, I am wanting to stay in the hardline route. Trying to keep it as "old school" as possible.
 

Aaron S.

Active Member
I think you're better off looking at some sort of analog-dmx converter, or DMX controller, and using AIP to control pre existing circuits or DMX decoders. The infrastructure already exists, and in most cases there's a spare circuit somewhere near everywhere you want a cue light, especially as conventional units are phased out. You certainly could use your approach, but it's going down the Arduino rabbit hole most likely and probably creating a system that no one would want to inherit
I am sorry to say I have no idea what AIP is. That may be a good solution for me, just have no idea what it is. I also don't mind having a system that "no one would want to inherit" since I will most likely be in this job for a VERY long time.

But, I do understand what you're saying. That's why I was hoping someone had already done something like this.
 

Aaron S.

Active Member
There is this discussion from the past with several suggestions:
I have taken a look at that, I am going to give it some more looking at. I imagine there is some info in there that will be useful for me.
 

Aaron S.

Active Member
I have some 18" sticks of RGB tape mounted on stiff aluminum with 4 pin connectors.

I should think you could rig something up with those and Cat-3/5 cable and maybe adaptors; that would give you 7 different cues: R G B C M Y W.

Luckily, I had the eBay email so I could get some decent search keywords out of it; I'm talking about something like these:


A similar, but more rugged approach, is these:

I do like this idea, I would have to figure out a way to get more lights on the system. I need at a minimum 9, ideally I'm shooting for 12
 

Aaron S.

Active Member
Thank you all for the ideas and anecdotes. I know I'm pretty picky with this project, I just for some reason have a very specific idea of what it wants to end up being. I'm also trying to account for the SM. Making it as fool proof as possible so anyone can come in and deal with it.

I appreciate all the knowledge and experience here.
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Thanks for the info. I definitely want to stay away from wireless and using a phone or tablet to trigger cue lights. I know, I'm very particular with me wants and desires on this project.
So you're instantly dismissive of "wireless" but embrace a phone or tablet? Must - not - be - condescending.... but what do you think those devices run on, unicorn burps?

I have some 18" sticks of RGB tape mounted on stiff aluminum with 4 pin connectors.

I should think you could rig something up with those and Cat-3/5 cable and maybe adaptors; that would give you 7 different cues: R G B C M Y W.
Make sure your crew can easily discern between blu and cyan, or magenta and red, or green and yellow. Worst case you have a 1 color system (full monochromic vision), more realistically you're got 3 colors, maybe 4. Thirteen percent of males - roughly 1 out of 8 - have some form of color perception distortion.
 

Aaron S.

Active Member
So you're instantly dismissive of "wireless" but embrace a phone or tablet? Must - not - be - condescending.... but what do you think those devices run on, unicorn burps?
Maybe there was a typo somewhere, but I am not embracing using a phone or tablet for the cue light system. You know as well as I do, unicorn burps are becoming scarce.

Make sure your crew can easily discern between blu and cyan, or magenta and red, or green and yellow. Worst case you have a 1 color system (full monochromic vision), more realistically you're got 3 colors, maybe 4. Thirteen percent of males - roughly 1 out of 8 - have some form of color perception distortion.
I would primarily be using RED, maybe I might throw a BLUE or GREEN in there if I needed multiple lights. Like at the automation desk. But, on the deck it's just RED.
 

Red_Carpet

Member
Hi Aaron S - have you read my query and related thread about this? I have gone through this heartache aswell
https://www.controlbooth.com/threads/cue-lights-rf-or-cabled-or-what.47826/

At the moment I use a cheap 6-channel dmx dimmer with the dmx signal going into a dmx transmitter.
Down at the hot end I have a dmx receiver (Don't forget to use an unsed dmx channel) that is attached into a dmx 4 channel dimmer.
I currently have three cue lights that are 15w pygmy bulbs in a bulb holder with a mains socket. I plug the mains socket into the dmx dimmer. KERCHING!!!
This is all a bit overkill, but it is spare stock that I have so the whole project cost me lest than £20 / $25?

Hope this helps - tell us how you get on please :¬)

Cheers
Red
 

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