How to Build Low-Resolution Video Panels (Controlled by ONYX or ELM)

If you turn on your TV and watch any live performance, you’re going to see video panels and pixel-lights in the background.

In this project, I experimented with building my own low-resolution video panels and it was much more simple than I thought it would be.

In this post, we’re going to walk through the materials I decided to use, how to control the video panels, and some extra bits of information to consider if you decide to build your own.

The great thing about these type of LED projects is that it has never been easier to build and create your own props. With multiple sources of information and inspiration it helps make these projects much easier to bring to life.


A common route when creating your own LED panel or prop, you’ll see that some use these LED strips or tape as pictured below. These are normally available online or on Amazon.

Low Resolution Panels

When using this LED tape you’ll find yourself spending a good bit of the day cutting and soldering this to make it work for your project. Personally, I feel that this is very time consuming and tedious for something that isn’t permanent.and even if it is, it’s still a lot of work!

I couldn’t help but think to myself, “There has to be a better way to make these.” That’s when I discovered Christmas light LEDs and in my opinion they bring a lot more to the table.

With these type of LED’s they come on a strand, they’re brighter, more durable, easier to configure, and on most projects you won’t have to solder them.

Materials for the Panels

To get to the actual project, it didn’t take as much as you would think it would. To get started, I wanted to find the right panels that would be a good fit for what I wanted.

So, I turned to Boscoyo Studio, which is a site that offers so many different types of corrugated panels and props for LEDs. They offer ready-made plastic panels that you simply push the pixels into – no drilling, no measuring!

Low-Resolution Video Panels

Since I already had the pixels, I was able to just push the Christmas LED pixels in and it looks fantastic. I’ve ordered Christmas pixels from a few sources and one that I really liked was RGB Man.

Next, on the list is that you’ll need a pixel controller. Depending on what you want to put together and as long as you aren’t rough on your equipement these pixel controllers can last you a long while.

Putting all of that together was very simple especially since I knew what I wanted. Once I selected the panels, I had to set up the pixels, and then setup the controller.

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How to Control the Panels

For this particular setup, I was able to control them with ONYX. If you are an ONYX user and decide you want to build something similar then I highly recommend using ONYX to do so.

If you are looking for a more simple approach, then I would recommend checking into ENTTEC ELM which is perfect for controlling these type of panels if you don’t already have a lighting console or software that can control pixels.

ELM is great for quickly designing certain looks and also has a library of options and looks that are completely customizable.

Using Christmas LEDs

Since I have started working with Christmas LEDs, I have learned a lot things and for projects such as this, it makes a lot sense to use them in the panels.

Compared to LED tape and strips, Christmas LEDs are really easy to work with. The downside to using LED tape or strips is that they can generally be a one use type of product. But with Christmas LEDs, that hasn’t been the case.

Whether you decide to use a look similar to these LED Panels or hopefully this has helped inspired you to create your own.

As I mentioned earlier, now more than ever the resources and information is out there to help you create your very own, including ours inside of Learn Stage Lighting Labs.

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