Pixel Mapping LED Strip Tape
We receive a lot of questions on LED Strip Tape and how it can be implemented into your setup. We asked our friend Bryce from the team at Meptik to help walk us through this process. A huge thanks to Bryce for taking the time to go through this step by step and help us all understand how to pixel map LED strip tape.
Step 1 – How much are planning to map?
Depending on how many rolls of LED tape or fixtures your are using will change the way you set-up your system. For smaller systems you may be able to direct-line into your controller, while larger systems you’ll need additional gear to split your out-going commands.
Step 2 – What content?
When it comes to content the biggest tension is finding/making content that fits your environment, while also remembering the pixel tape isn’t a 4K TV. Remember, pixel tape is first and foremost a lighting product. Play into that strength and it’ll take you far. I typically lean towards content that has more contrasty elements, such as the clips I used in this example. Personally, anything with angled lines that will span across my canvas to show how it’s all tied together are always a go to for me.
Step 3 – Picking out your gear.
This step can vary drastically based on personal preference, but my typical tools of the trade are Resolume Arena 6, a USB to Ethernet adapter (if an ethernet port isn’t available on the computer already), and the Advatek PixLite 4 Rugged controllers. The pixel tape can vary depending on your budget and environment, but in this case I used 2 rolls of tape designed to imitate old fashioned Christmas bulbs.
Step 4 – Set up your system.
Since ArtNet runs over the network, ensuring your computers and your controllers network settings are critical. The default IP range for ArtNet is 2.x.y.z, however you can set your devices in the 10.x.y.z or 192,168.y.z range as well. While ArtNet does support DHCP, I would recommend setting a static IP on everything in your system. Once your network is established, set your controller to the desired sub-net and universe address. Some controllers and software start the subnet and universe counts at 0, others start at 1, so you may have to play with your addresses slightly.
Step 5 – Program Resolume (or software of choice).
Now the real fun begins. In the top left of the advanced output editor, you’ll add a DMX Lumiverse by clicking the plus sign, which will automatically add your first DMX fixture. Select the fixture to open the settings on the right hand side, and towards the bottom select the gear icon to open the fixture editor. Here is where you will create your fixtures and assign advanced settings such as pixel height and width, how the signal should flow, what order RGB you are using, and gamma. Once you create your fixture, save your fixture editor and add your fixtures to the scene by again selecting the plus sign in the top left. A lumiverse can support up to 512 channels of color, which equates to a max of 170 RGB pixels per lumiverse (1 channel for red, 1 for green, and 1 for blue for every pixel).
Step 6 – Patch the output to your pixels.
Again select your lumiverse, but this time on the top right of the advanced output editor you’ll focus on your target IP, subnet, and universe. Advatek controllers send out their settings to software like Resolume, so my target IP will become the controllers IP, and it will automatically set up it’s proper subnet and universe. If your controller doesn’t automatically show up you can also set a static IP to send your lumiverse output to, or broadcast to stream your output data across your network.
Step 7 – Tweak your work.
Now that everything is patched and working, tweak away! There are endless solutions and possibilities on how to map your pixels. I mapped the tree by creating multiple fixtures with just the right amount of pixels for each row of lights.