Scott Burkhart Effects LLC began in 2014 with the official LLC filing, with research on the project commencing in 2012. An Engineer and Laser Scientist at a major Livermore government lab, he became interested in music light shows when his wife showed him television competitions for the best, sometimes animated, Christmas displays. Total engineer that he was and still is, he sought to create lightshows at first using SCR technology driven in response to the music frequency and volume, but was very dissatisfied with the results, both the light response and the imagination in the composition. Furthermore, he rejected the use of incandescent light strings as too slow for an interesting mix of light effects, in favor of LED string lights. Over the subsequent months and years, the design evolved to something second nature to anyone doing digital audio workshop music composition - he integrated the light show with the DAW MIDI tracks. At first he used a custom Audio Unit, but upgraded to using Apple’s Audio MIDI Setup tools for direct MIDI communication between the DAW and the ScottEffx lightshow app on the Macintosh. The light show became an intuitive combination of MIDI Note-On events on the DAW tracks with short light show ‘Effects’. Along with the composition tools, he developed a way to record or ‘bounce’ the light show to a text tag, (ID3 tag) on the MP3 recordings for publication and general use.
The electronics he developed became totally magnetics free, using MOSFET technology wedded with advanced microcontrollers from Microchip Inc. Running 110V circuitry resulted in a fair share of pops and rising smoke as the software and circuitry was perfected, with now an excellent and robust WiFi product utilizing 600V parts, fused protection, and cool, efficient, switching operation. Adding features like a full service dimmer and event timer wedded with automatic NIST time coordination on startup made for a powerful yet inexpensive product.
Creating his own light shows, he quickly realized the need for a simulator, which he created and is included with the free Macintosh software, where the lightshow developer can using a photograph of their desired scene, ‘decorate’ it with light strings on separate image layers, then simulate the light show without buying anything - no lights, no decorating, and free ScottEffx software.
Finally, everyone of course wants to run things off their phone, so Scott ported the Macintosh software over to iOS which is the software framework for Apple’s mobile devices. In the process he also adopted Apple’s newer user interface software called SwiftUI, for a fast and reliable App.
The name flickerSong and the egg-shaped flickerSong enclosure are based upon a bird which frequents the trees around Livermore, the Northern Flicker. Indeed the exact shape of the enclosure is based upon the shape of the Northern Flicker’s egg, as bird eggs have a fantastic variety of shapes, analyzed in some academic publications.