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Hank Hancock

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About Hank Hancock

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  • Location
    Las Vegas
  • Occupation
    Medical Researcher / Mathematician

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  • Interests
    Hiking, camping, road bicycling, exploring, designing electronic gadgets, writing for outdoor magazines.
  • Favorite Decorating Holiday?

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  1. Hello Vicki. Thank you for the complement. I wasn't sure if you were looking for pointers on sequencing the Polar Express or just pointers on getting started with light shows in general. I'll try to touch on both. I've been doing my shows for a five years. The one thing I think I learned was to build the show incrementally rather than try to plan and sequence a large show as your first project. My first year, I kinda' bit off more than I could chew and realized I needed to drop some props from the show if I were to get the show up and running on time. From that I also learned I needed to start sequencing the music / video earlier in the year so as to not feel like I was up against a looming deadline. I now start planning my show and building props in mid to late August. That also allows me to order things I need from overseas wholesalers and receive them in time. I started sequencing the Polar Express show in early September and finished it towards the end of November. But, I have a day job so I would work on it a few hours each night. One challenge I ran into was the video projection. Curiously, I discovered that, for some reason, the computer running the show and playing the video wanted a higher resolution video format. I'm guessing that had something to do with my video card, which might have been choosing between software and hardware rendering, depending on the resolution. Anyway, that took a lot of experimentation to find a video resolution that worked well consistently without dropping frames. Designing and building the projection screen was interesting. I built it twice. The first time I used rear projection cloth I found on Amazon. After test watching it, I didn't like how I could see the projection lens through the cloth - too distracting to me. The second time I built it, I used a 3 mil. plastic drop cloth (for painting). That worked great. You can also use a plastic translucent shower curtain. I used that for a rear projection through my front window for Halloween. That also worked great. Out of curiosity, are you planning on sequencing the Polar Express? Also, please feel free to ask questions. I'm always happy to reply.
  2. Thank you, Matt. The display has kind of evolved over the past four years. I try to keep it simple and organized and mix it up each year to keep the neighbors guessing. I'd like to transition to RGB lights along the roofline next year if possible and expand from there in subsequent years, gradually replacing all lights with RGB as I can afford to. The video was shot with a Canon VIXIA HF S20 camera on a tripod. It has decent low light properties for the price. I shot the show six times - two times for each of the three different camera angles (so I could have clean video without cars driving through). I then edit the video in Final Cut Pro X (FCPX), where I add the soundtrack back in and boost the saturation to bring out the color of the lights. Merry Christmas!!! Hank
  3. This is the fourth year I've been putting up a LOR computerized light show. This year, I decided to do a thematic show - a 10th anniversary tribute to the 2004 Christmas animated motion picture, "The Polar Express." This was the first year I couldn't post my videos to Vimeo (they kept deleting them). So, I cancelled my Vimeo account and used the money to buy my own video player library for my personal web site and move my videos to it. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!!! http://www.lwhancock.com/Blog_141210.aspx
  4. I truly enjoy watching clean and well sequenced shows like this. Very well done!
  5. Very nice and clean. I'm hoping to integrate more RGB devices in my next year's show. Your small forrest of CCR trees give me inspiration.
  6. Wow, what a great first show! And like others have commented... it looks better than my first year's show. And, it warms my heart to see the children get involved.
  7. Congratulations! We've all experienced the "extension cord crisis management" at one time or another. Cheers and share videos if you can.
  8. Thanks for sharing your excitement with us. We've all experience that joy the first year we watched our sequenced lights for the first time. That, and the enjoyment and Christmas spirit it brings to the neighborhood. Please post videos if you can.
  9. @JeffF, I also have several years of Christmas Lights to Music videos that have gone completely untouched by Vimeo although, according to Vimeo's interpretation of copyright law, they would be taken down if detected. I also have a companion video of this year's video uploaded, only I set the privacy while uploading rather than after. It escaped the copyright detector. Vimeo seems to be running the detector against newly uploaded non-private videos only. That said, there is the possibility they will eventually go back through older uploads and inspect. I would advise that you go through your videos and set them all to private.
  10. I wrote to Vimeo and asked two basic questions: Why is a personal video of Christmas lights sequenced to music, with a disclaimer that states "I do not own the music used in this video and am using it under 'fair use' copyright law" not considered "fair use" when it is interpretive and recontextualizing (transformative)? In the extremely unlikely event that the copyright owner objects to the use of the music, who gets sued... Vimeo or me?This was their response: It seems my mistake was I did not mark the video as "Private" fast enough after uploading it to avoid it being inspected by their copyright detector. While I was trying to set it to "Private" I got a message that I was no longer able to access the video - my first clue it had been deleted. It is possible to mark the video as "Private" while it is uploading to avoid detection altogether. However, I have a paid account. I'm not sure if a video can be made private with a free account. Someone with a free account may be able to answer that question. Still, it seems avoiding the detector in this way still doesn't make the video "fair use." It just avoids being detected.
  11. Problem solved, at least for me. I spent time today on my personal web site to implement video streaming. I got it working, moved my videos over to my web site, then sent Vimeo my "kiss off" e-mail. It's truly sad how the music/film industry has badgered video and image hosting services to the point they won't host anything that is "fair use" or "appropriation art" respectively.
  12. I had my videos deleted by Vimeo also. I appealed their decision under "fair use," making the case that my light show recontextualizes (transforms) the material in as an artistic interpretation and they were created for personal use only. My appeal was denied. I cancelled my account at Youtube several years ago and went to Vimeo because Youtube was blocking my Christmas videos. Now Vimeo is doing it. My membership with Vimeo expires in five days. I don't plan to renew it now that they've become onerous. I'll have to look for another way to post my videos.
  13. Hello Roland, You've got a very nice setup and a great show. As much as I would love to do a front "screen" projection, my house is not oriented well for it. Thus, I've set up a rear screen projection system and angle the screen to work best with this year's show. The video projection and synchronization to the video went well. I'm using a WMV file but all of my video editing is on a Mac using Final Cut Pro. I have several MOV to WMV converters but they all seem to produce a WMV file that, while it plays fine in the S3 sequence editor and the show player, they don't produce a waveform beyond one minute in the sequence editor. To work around that issue, I simply output the audio portion of the video to a MP3 audio file and sequence to it. If I want to see how the video will look in the visualizer, I reload the video file and play it in the sequence editor while watching the visualizer on a separate computer. That arrangement works nicely. Curiously, I found that playback of the video is smoother at higher resolution (720p) than lower resolutions. At 720p it plays very smoothly with no glitches at all whereas, say, 480 or 320 resolution stutters every few seconds in both my VMWare virtual machine I use for sequencing and my dedicated Windows machine I use for the show. I'm sure that has more to do with the video cards, which are both optimized for HD and SD resolutions, than the LOR software or Windows Media Player. I have found them to be quirky with non-standard video resolutions in other venues as well. Merry Christmas to you and the rest of the forum family! Hank Hancock
  14. @Sean, If you're absolutely certain that you're at the correct cut point then Larry is right. Just cut it at that point using a scissors. For a proper soldering, you need to coat the copper pads on the ribbon with solder and also the wires separately first. That's called "wetting." Then, placing the wires on the pads and reheat with the soldering iron. The two should join easily. Good luck.
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