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scodavis

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Everything posted by scodavis

  1. Hello everyone, In addition to doing my own display, I am also lead programmer for Santa Claus Lane, run by Deb and Terry Toews here in Clovis, California. I have just finished the first draft of the 2017 visualizer for the display, which will include 38 houses, somewhere just over 1,700 Light-O-Rama standard channels, and as of right now we are estimated to have over 250,000 LED lights. Not pictured in the visualizer is their CCR tree, upgraded for 2017 to have 24 ribbons (up from 12). The Pic Link: Visualizer Preview Picture And a quick tour: Every home has individually-controlled upper and lower eaves (shown as the straight lines), decorated with RWBG C6 super strings. Every home has at least six mini trees (shown as small circles), made with tomato cages and 100 lights each of RWBG M6 super strings. House 3116 (control house) has 16 trees, and 3126 has 8. House 3166 may have two singing snowmen - one male, one female. House 3146 has a large tree decorated with five sets of M6-100 super strings (20 channels total). House 3166, the main control house, has many special features: Four "star sticks", each with 8 segments going up, and a three-part star on top. White only. A 64-channel mega tree that is over 25 feet tall, with 16 channels of each color RWBG, and a white one-channel star on top. A channel of strobes (not shown) is also on the mega tree. A 3-channel "Bethlehem Star" that goes on their roof. White lights. Eight 8-segment leaping arches. White lights. Four singing Christmas trees. This year we are adding one channel on each to make it female as needed, and another channel (not shown) will turn on multi lights inside the tree to make it look lit like a Christmas tree on songs where the trees are not being used for singing. We are really, really excited about how large the display is going to get this year. If you have any questions, please post them - Deb and I are happy to answer! Enjoy! -Scott
  2. Hello everyone, I have decided to post a little visualizer preview of my 2017 Christmas Show. The song is Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 24 by Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which will be the one song I always include in my show because I absolutely love it. This year I also moved to a new (to me) home, so I had to completely re-do my light organization. The features include: 7 individual house elements, all using RWBG super strings 11 individual plants, also decorated using RWBG super strings 16 tomato cage mini trees, decorated using RWBG super strings, and a mini tree decorated with 400 pink lights for my daughter (my son will get one too, once he chooses a favorite color) The big tree between the sidewalk and street, decorated with RWBG super strings 16 10-watt RGB floods mounted to the eaves and pointed down at the house walls My display will contain 147 LOR channels and 48 LOR RGB channels with somewhere between 16,000 and 18,000 lights (the total is unknown because I have no idea how many lights I will put in the big tree, but knowing me I will probably just fit them all up there somehow because there is no purpose to having spare lights, is there?!). The entire show is run with LOR hardware. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Uvi4e91aJI If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Looking forward to a great 2017 display season! -Scott
  3. New Website Idea

    Hello everyone, In addition to other hobbies, one of my skills involves designing and programming database-driven websites. I've had an idea for a new website - a database of music for synchronized displays. It would be completely free and community-driven, with visitors submitting new songs (which must be approved). Data in the DB could be genre, speed in BPM, lead singer gender, festival type (christmas, halloween), and others. No actual music would be hosted; we would link to iTunes or Amazon digital music where people can listen to the song. The primary purpose would be for people who want ideas for their display, such as "wow, I wish I could find a comedy song to go here" etc. I would like your community input as to: (a) If you think you (or others) would find this helpful. (b) If you would be interested in helping me design and test - I would need some help with critique and ideas, and probably a couple moderators once it was up and running. Of course, if such a site already exists, please let me know that as well, so I don't put time and effort into reinventing the wheel. Please share your thoughts. Thank you! -Scott
  4. New Website Idea

    Thanks for your input. Part of my thinking was from my own experience - I am only in my second year, but I want every show year to be unique (except for TSO Carol of the Bells, which I am using every year). Having a resource to go to in order to get ideas would be helpful to me, and I expect to others as well. No sign up required - just go to the website and search. Contributors just fill out a form which submits it to a moderator (likely just me) for approval. No signing up, no login credentials to remember. I want this to be as simple and useful as possible. It is my hope that the many veteran animators on here will contribute their playlists so that I have a good database on launch, if I choose to go through with this.
  5. New Website Idea

    From the original post: "I've had an idea for a new website - a database of music for synchronized displays. It would be completely free and community-driven, with visitors submitting new songs (which must be approved). Data in the DB could be genre, speed in BPM, lead singer gender, festival type (christmas, halloween), and others. No actual music would be hosted; we would link to iTunes or Amazon digital music where people can listen to the song."
  6. New Website Idea

    Mr. P. - it appears you mistakenly thought that I would be hosting the music. All I would have is lists of music, which are completely legal. DibbleJr - neither of your quotes addresses what I want to do. The site would not share sequences. It would not share music. It would only act as a searchable playlist so people can get music ideas. -Scott
  7. Santa Claus Lane 2017 Visualizer Preview

    Hi Chris, @debtoews and Terry Toews had been doing the animated display on their house for several years when their next door neighbor wanted to join in. They then did both houses for a year (I believe), and after that season were trying to decide what to add to their display. Instead of adding more lights to their house, they decided to try to add more houses, and contacted all the remaining houses (there are 16 total) on their street to have a meeting. About half of the remaining homes signed up immediately, and the remaining neighbors signed up within a couple weeks. I think the last ones to join did so because they didn't want to be the only house out of 16 that wasn't lit! The 2015 and 2016 displays were done on these 16 houses. Before the 2016 season, residents on a different street contacted Deb and Terry and wanted to join as well. They became the "ambassadors" of the other street and several meetings were held. Long story short, between Norwich, Maine, and Indianapolis there are a total of 38 houses and 34 homes will be lit (some people didn't want to participate). I'm doing the programming based on 38 houses just in case the non-participants decide later they want in. Lights have been ordered for all homes just in case. Coming from an inside perspective, I will tell you that it isn't without drama - nothing involving this many people is - but the end result is absolutely amazing to see in person. If you live anywhere close to the Clovis/Fresno, CA area, it's worth seeing. You're also welcome to come see the display on my house - this is my second year and I'll be running 195 channels and somewhere around 17,000 lights. Thanks for the comment! -Scott
  8. What did you MAD GRAB?

    Stocked up for a couple years of expansion - got two ELL 2-packs and 16 CTB16PC controllers. -Scott
  9. Davis Family Christmas 2017 Preview

    Thank you for the comment, BYRG! I actually spend a lot of time doing the timing grids for my song. First I use the beat wizard to get a timing grid that is close, and then I break up the song into sections, count the beats for each section, delete the timing grid, and re-create it with the correct number of beats and sub-beats. It takes me about 30 minutes per song but I end up with a very, very accurate timing grid which makes the programming a whole lot easier. Maybe someday I'll do a YouTube video of my process or something. -Scott
  10. Recording With a GoPro

    Hello everyone, I have been considering buying a GoPro Hero5 Black for filming my Christmas light show, as I'm not quite happy with the performance of my DSLR in how it records. I know the GoPro camera series' are well-revered for their uses in action photography, but I was curious if any of you on here have experience with the cameras, particularly the one mentioned above, and particularly with recording their Christmas light display. Any thoughts and samples? Thank you! -Scott
  11. Recording With a GoPro

    @MikeERWNC That certainly looks like another option, but all the videos I found were shot during the daytime with plenty of light. What about low-light performance at night with Christmas light shows? Do you have any sample videos shot using one of those cameras?
  12. Recording With a GoPro

    @DisneyMatt10 What model/edition of GoPro did you use? What about the way they turned out did you hate? I'm wondering if you used an older model that didn't have features that were as good as current equipment. I'm also going to look at experimenting with different settings on my DSLR - one of the hardest parts is that I have discovered that the Shimmer effect doesn't look very good when recorded at 30fps, but it looks great when recorded at 60fps. Of course, this also means that I lose a stop of light just from the max shutter speed being 1/60 sec instead of 1/30 sec. I would be very interested to know what settings those with DSLRs used (ISO, shutter speed, focal ratio, video fps, etc.). This year my show is going to be a bit larger and more work to put up, so I plan to start the first weekend of October. That will give me plenty of testing time. -Scott
  13. Recording With a GoPro

    Worth noting to anyone else reading this - I am completely open to other device suggestions as well!
  14. Recording With a GoPro

    Thanks Jim, I appreciate the information. I do like using my DSLR for shooting videos, but I find that I'm always fighting aperture as my lenses have a max aperture of f/3.5 or f/4.5 depending on which one I use. Raising the ISO helps, but noise quickly becomes a factor, so I'm curious about finding a solution that handles low-light noise better or have a faster focal ratio. I'm not sure what the GoPro has as a f-ratio but I figure it's either 2 or 2.8. I haven't been able to find that spec anywhere. -Scott
  15. Santa Claus Lane 2017 Visualizer Preview

    Excellent question. There are a total of five networks - one for each side of the street. The houses are linked through ELL units. In cases where it must cross to the northern street, we actually will use a combination of ELL units and Controllers to bridge the gaps. For example, to get from the control house (3116) to the north side of the top street on the map, we will have ELL unit on south side, to ELL unit on North side, to dummy controller through backyards, to another dummy controller, to another ELL unit which broadcasts to the other street. -Scott
  16. Santa Claus Lane 2017 Visualizer Preview

    @B.Y.R.G. Let's not think too big - don't you think we should start with *just* a single city block first? :-) @Mega Arch Thank you very much for your kind comments. I love sequencing and I really appreciate it.
  17. Santa Claus Lane 2017 Visualizer Preview

    Thank you BYRG - Because of the size of the display and the need to make sure everything is organized, Santa Claus Lane operates as an organized nonprofit known as Clovis Festival of Lights. To keep the cost to each individual homeowner down, the controllers, mini trees, and ELL units are owned and paid for by the organization. Each individual homeowner is only responsible for buying the lights for their eaves, which comes to about $250-$350 depending on the house model. Each homeowner typically hangs their own house lights, but all of the controller hookup is done by Terry and a couple other neighbors as they know the channel configuration. You are right that there is a lot of time involved - the lights have to go up early because we do ground- and air-based filming of the display prior to opening night. Last year I did about half of their programming to help take the stress off of them - this year I will be doing almost all of the programming. Here is an example of what the display looked like last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKOa9mLvd2I It really is quite the production - we estimate over 7,000 people came out on opening night alone. If you live anywhere close, it's definitely worth a trip to see. Thank you again! -Scott
  18. Hello everybody, I just moved to a new house after Christmas, and of course my 2017 display will be in my new house. As with my old house, the eaves have a wooden fascia board, which makes it very easy to screw in some cup hooks for quick and easy light attachment. The problem comes with my garage - no wood visible. The entire border of the garage is stucco. And since the home was built only 12 years ago, I am guessing that it is actually a product called EIFS, which is designed to look like stucco but has something akin to styrofoam beneath it. I have, therefore, two options: - Build a wooden frame that fits on the inside of the garage door frame, and find some way to mount it - Find a way to install cup hooks into the stucco material Ideally, I want to use some kind of stainless steel cup hooks because it makes light hanging and takedown a breeze. Does anybody have experience with this? -Scott
  19. DSLR Filming Settings

    Hello, For those who use a DSLR to film their holiday display, I was curious to know what you were using as your settings. Personally, I use a Canon 60D to do filming, and last night I filmed my display. My settings were 720p, 60 fps video, with exposure set to 1/60 second, f/5.6 on the aperture, ISO 800 sensitivity. It turned out pretty well but I did have to lighten it a bit. What settings do YOU use? -Scott
  20. Hello friends, For those who do a lot of SPT-1 wiring, you may be interested in the cart we just created and are using for Santa Claus Lane in Clovis, California, which this year will feature over 160,000 lights on 16 houses, all synchronized to music thanks to Light-O-Rama software and hardware. The bottom row has four spools on one side (great for RWBG super string wiring) and a single spool for other features. The middle row also has four spools. Finally, the top rack has plenty of room for tools as well as two boxes for the female and male SPT-1 plugs. The thick PVC for the bottom row spools is held in place by a combination of plywood on the sides and heavy wire in the middle. The middle wooden rod is suspended with metal plumber's tape that has holes for strapping things like water heaters. The cart rolls pretty easily and will REALLY come in handy, considering this year Santa Claus Lane is adding 82 RWBG mini trees as well as several other features. I invite you to ask questions about how this cart is built if you have any and, if you have devised your own ways of handling multiple SPT-1 spools, please reply and share them! Thanks for looking!
  21. Ultimate SPT-1 Wiring Cart

    @Need more lights is correct - it is very much a group effort. I believe this year, between all sixteen houses, there is a total of over 7 MILES of SPT-1 cord. If I remember correctly 2 miles were added this year just for the new mini trees. You're also correct about the controllers. The main control house has 19 controllers running (I believe), and every other house has two controllers - eight channels for the upper and lower eaves, and the remaining 24 channels for the six mini trees. One of the houses has a singing snowman so they actually have a third controller there. So I think it is 50 controllers total but I might be off by a couple. @gsmith37064 - we filmed a bunch of the songs from both the ground and air and I'm working on the video editing right now - there should be some video available in the next few weeks. It really is a beautiful display and I'm proud to be a part of it. In the meantime, though, be sure to check out the trailer if you haven't already: Santa Claus Lane 2016 Trailer
  22. DSLR Filming Settings

    BYRG, thank you for the compliment on the website. In response to your other question, I have just posted a video of one of my twelve songs onto YouTube. https://youtu.be/N3BIpIUNtAM Enjoy! -Scott
  23. DSLR Filming Settings

    It can. I use the 720p60 because it is 60 frames per second. I have noticed that the shimmer effect looks really weird if videotaped at 30 fps but looks perfect at 60.
  24. Santa Claus Lane is a Light-O-Rama display in Clovis, California featuring over 160,000 lights on 16 homes synchronized to music. This year, one of the walking nights will be Frozen Night, featuring seven songs from the movie. Since this hasn't actually occurred yet, the video is actually a capture of the visualizer. The bottom half shows the sixteen homes - the two lines on each home represent the upper and lower eaves, and each circle in front of each home is a mini tree made with tomato cages. The top represents the features that are unique to the home of Deb Toews - four singing trees, a CCR tree, a mega tree, eight arches, and four eight-channel light columns, each with a three-channel star on top. There are over 750 Light-O-Rama channels and 1,800 RGB channels on the CCR tree. This year, I programmed about half of their display, and Deb did the other half. Depending on the complexity of the song, it takes me anywhere between 6 and 9 hours of work for every 1 minute of music to program the Light-O-Rama channels. Also, some credits: LOR Programming - Me Singing Faces - Me (available for purchase through www.seasonalsequences.com) CCR Tree - Todd (available for purchase through www.seasonalsequences.com) If you live anywhere close to us, be sure to check out Santa Claus Lane, opening on Black Friday! Thank you! -Scott J. Davis http://www.clovisfestivaloflights.org http://www.davislights.org
  25. LOTS of Incandescents

    Hello everyone, Since I am now animating my show, I've completely switched over to LED. I have got a LOT of incandescent lights and I'm not sure what to do. I know that Lowe's and Home Depot will offer credit towards LED purchases, but I buy my LED lights through HLE so that really doesn't help me. Many of them are still in good shape so I don't want to just throw them away. I've been thinking of having a local yard sale and selling them for .25 a piece, but I was wondering if anybody on here wanted incandescents or had any other ideas. I don't have a complete inventory, but here is what I do have: An entire box of empty C7 and C9 sockets - probably at least 15-20 strings total. Sorted C7 and G40 bulbs, sorted by color. I have clear, red, orange, yellow, green, teal, blue, and purple C7 bulbs, both in blinking and steady varieties, and I probably have at least 50 of each. Tons of Mini lights - most of them strings of 100, in clear, multi, red, green, blue, amber, and even some combo strings like red/green, red/white, and blue/frosted white. Probably over 150 strings in total. A few strings of mini motion lights - a couple are 200 lights, one is 300 lights in length. If anybody is interested in coming to see, I live in Fresno, California - you can get my address off of my display website. Send me a PM if interested. And if you're not interested, and have any ideas on a good way to get rid of them (even if I don't make money, I don't want them to just be thrown away), please let me know. Thank you! -Scott
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