LIGHT DJ 2017 Year In Review

Can you believe 2017's ALMOst over?

For Light DJ, that means the app is turning 3 years old next month! It's been a long journey to get to this point and I couldn't have gotten there without the support of my faithful users. Let's take a look at what happened in 2017.

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In April I gave the Android app a nice big update, adding the SceneMaker and Matrix effects and updating the Visualizer. Often when I'm designing new light controllers I'm not really sure how well the concept will work or if it makes sense to users so I design on iOS first. With the feature set now stable on iOS I was able to add all 23 SceneMaker effects and 5 Matrix modes to the Android app to bring the two apps' features sets closer together.

Once that was released it was time to turn back to the iOS app for some new hardware compatibility. The app has always supported Philips Hue and LIFX since the beginning, but I've been hesitant to add other hardware due to various technical/practical concerns. The Nanoleaf Aurora is the first exception I made. The hardware is so eye-catching and vibrant that I just had to add it to the app. This was more complicated than I expected as I had to not only write the communications pipeline between the app and the Aurora, but I also had to redesign & recode all my effects (which were originally developed with individual bulbs in mind). It was worth the effort though and I couldn't be happier with the results. It makes me giddy when users send me videos of their Aurora lights in action! :)

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In October I released the newest addition to the Light DJ family - Light DJ Studio. With this new app I was able to demonstrate a new concept in light shows and also solve a few technical challenges that I've faced since I started working on my apps. The app is simple: pick a song to play, then while it's playing tap along on your phone. Your taps will translate into light effects and the phone will record your taps so that you can play back your light show later. It uses Apple's new MusicKit API, which lets the app the access the Apple Music library of over 30+ million tracks. It also works with Bluetooth speakers, which sadly isn't supported on the Light DJ Pro app. This app has a ton of room to grow and I can't wait to start building features for the next major release next year.

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Finally, in December I made a few significant back-end improvements to the Light DJ Pro app. I added support for Ableton Link and MIDI, allowing DJs and musicians to set and control the tempo from other devices. I also integrated a new beat-matching library for much improved real-time music synchronization over the mic. 

What can you expect to see in 2018?

One of the great things about being your own boss is that you get to set your own schedule. While I don't have any specific dates for any future releases, this is what I plan on prioritizing for next year:

  • Nanoleaf Aurora support on Android
  • Light DJ Studio Community Tracks service - share your light show recordings with other Light DJ Studio users
  • Custom effect playlists on iOS SceneMaker
  • Apple TV & Android TV support
  • Android tablet mode

 

If you have a specific feature request or just want to let me know what I should work on next, send me an email and let me know! I hope everyone has a safe and merry holiday season. I can't wait to see how everyone's New Years Eve parties turn out!

 

Cheers and happy holidays,

Kevin

Introducing Light DJ Studio, a whole new way to interact with your lights

Hey guys, it’s been just over 3 years since I released my first light app, HouseParty. A few months later I expanded on the concept and created Light DJ Pro, which has been growing steadily and adding new features and hardware support.

Today I’m happy to announce that I’m releasing a brand new app: Light DJ Studio. The app leverages the power of Apple’s new MusicKit API to enable you to record and playback light shows to your favorite tracks. Recording light shows is super easy: just load up a song and play along on the device. You’ll see your lights change as you trigger them.

Light DJ Studio makes it easy to record light shows. Just select a track and start playing.

Light DJ Studio makes it easy to record light shows. Just select a track and start playing.

If this sounds like something you’re interested in, I’d love to have your feedback! This first version includes everything that I think you’d need to make a great light show, but what’s really going to make the app great is knowing where to make improvements.

Cheers, Kevin

A couple notes on the app:

  • Requires iPhone or iPad with iOS 10.3 or higher
  • It works with either your local music library or with Apple Music.
  • Works with up to 10 lights: Hue, LIFX, or a mix of both. Light recordings don’t care how many bulbs you have connected and will play even if your light setup changes. Nanoleaf support is planned for the near future.
  • The app currently has 5 pulse-type effects (with combo and 5x buttons) and 5 multi-effects that affect your whole room. I’m looking to expand these in future versions of the app based on user feedback.

NEW: Connect your Nanoleaf Aurora with Philips Hue and LIFX

With Light DJ, you can now connect your Nanoleaf Aurora to Philips Hue and LIFX smart lights.

Hey guys! It's been a while since my last post, but I wanted to fill you in on the latest happenings here at Light DJ HQ. Last month I released a blockbuster addition to the iOS app, integrating all of the apps effects with the fantastic Nanoleaf Aurora.

The Nanoleaf Aurora is a set of modular LED panels that you mount to your wall in whatever configuration you can imagine. They piece together just like LEGOs and stick to your wall with easily removable 3M strips. You can create all sorts of different shapes with the panels and the system is expandable so you can keep adding more and more panels to create the ultimate lighting that will change your wall from boring to awesome!

The Nanoleaf Aurora adds a whole new dimension to your light setup, and fully integrates with your existing Philips Hue and LIFX lights.

This update is for iOS users at the moment, but Light DJ Android support for the Nanoleaf Aurora is in the works. Look for it to be released sometime this fall. As always, if you have any suggestions for the app I welcome your feedback at kevin@nrthrnlights.com.

Android Super Update Now Available

Hey everyone! I've been working hard over the past few months updating the Android app with the popular SceneMaker Effects and Matrix Strobe Maker controllers from the iOS version.

The SceneMaker controller has 23 different types of beat-matched effects. You get control of the effects, colors, and tempo and the controller will sync up the effects to whatever kind of music you’re listening to. You can take a peek at the effects here.

The SceneMaker controller includes over 20 effects that will sync to the beat of your music.

Setting the tempo is as simple as tapping the beat. Precision controls are also included.

The Matrix Strobe Maker is an interactive controller that has 5 different effect modes and lets you create strobes and tap out patterns. It’s a fun toy that gives you a lot of immediate control over the lights. 

Along with the new controllers, I've also added an improved color selector to the Visualizer, so now you can pick any color!

Tap, Swipe, and Drag your fingers over the Matrix controller to strobe your lights.

Pick your own custom colors by tapping on one of the Active Colors.

Color and Brightness Picker.

The updates are already available in Google Play. If you’ve previously purchased the Visualizer then you’ll get the other two controllers for free!

As always, if you have any questions or feedback feel free to write me at kevin@nrthrnlights.com

Cheers!

Big Update! New iPad App, UI Refresh, Effect Programmer and More!

Hey everyone, Kevin from Light DJ here to announce an exciting new update to the app. I've taken all of the suggestions that users sent me over the past 6 months and built a massive, feature-filled update that will benefit all iOS users.

Light DJ Visualizer listens to your music and syncs the your Philips Hue and LIFX lights to create the ultimate music listening experience.

Light DJ Visualizer listens to your music and syncs the your Philips Hue and LIFX lights to create the ultimate music listening experience.

The SceneMaker controller includes 23 special effects that you can customize with your favorite colors.

The SceneMaker controller includes 23 special effects that you can customize with your favorite colors.

Use the new color wheels to select any color in the rainbow, available throughout the app.

Use the new color wheels to select any color in the rainbow, available throughout the app.

First, I completely overhauled the UI - no more skeuomorphism! The new version features a sleek, modern UI with lots of nice upgrades. I've added color pickers everywhere, so now you can dial-in any color the lights can produce. I've also added additional controls to the SceneMaker controller, allowing you to pause on a specific lighting effect.

The iPad app is tailored for live performance and home DJ setups, and is the best way to experience the app. 

The iPad app is tailored for live performance and home DJ setups, and is the best way to experience the app. 

Next, I built a brand new iPad app from scratch. It's tailored for live performance and home DJ setups, and personally I think it's the best way to experience the app. It’s modeled after traditional DJ controllers with a host of buttons that control each of the effects. Users can configure and customize their own sheets of effects that work for their specific setup. Along with all of the SceneMaker, Matrix, and Visualizer effects, I’ve added “Tapper” buttons for your to tap out rhythms and control individual lights.

Program your own special lighting effects with the powerful new Effect Maker.

Program your own special lighting effects with the powerful new Effect Maker.

I also created a first-of-its-kind Effect Programmer that lets you pre-program each of your lights so that you can build your own effects that match your play environment and save them for later. With full control over colors and fading, you can create any effect that you can imagine. This is a powerful tool with a lot of possibilities; I spent about 6 weeks designing and developing this and I think you'll be blown away at how much it can do.

Along with all of the front-end upgrades, I made some serious improvements to the back-end lighting code. I re-engineered many of the effects to better handle large counts of lights. Also, now you can combine Hue and LIFX lights in a single group. The new light engine uses less processing power, which means better battery life so you can keep the show going all night long.

If you don't already have Light DJ you can download it from the App Store today and try all of the effects for free. If you like what you see you can buy the light controllers individually, or purchase the "Pro" Upgrade which unlocks the entire app (for both iPhone and iPad) for $9.99.

As always, I welcome your feedback and suggestions. What else would you like Light DJ to do? Email me at kevin@nrthrnlights.com with your ideas.

Cheers,

Kevin