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Everything posted by MikeZ

  1. Looking forward to joining you all this evening!
  2. I'm really hoping I can attend, it's been awhile since I've been to a SoCal get together. I need to catch up on my programming this weekend so I can get away for a night next weekend.
  3. I use video in my display as well. I program my show with a audio file in LOR, and then swap it out at the very end with an MPEG4. Last year I finally bought a new computer to replace my 2003 show PC, so I was able to increase the quality of the video file. You may need to play with your video file bandwidth if your computer's not fast enough to deal with playing the video, and driving the lights all at the same time. I have a rear projection wreath that I project the image onto. The projector is located behind the wreath, shooting the image through a garage window. My show is always one continuous 10-13 min. presentation, so it's one video file that loops plays back as the show runs all night long. I edit my display soundtrack in Final Cut Pro, and then add my video track to the audio. Let me know if you have any questions.
  4. I always include one slow song towards the end of my show, which averages about 12 min. in length. I edit all of my songs down to 1 - 1.5 minutes to keep the show moving along. I like to use a song that's very thought provoking. A synced video helps highlight the message of the song, whether it be uplifting imagery, or family photos and home movies. These really help the visitor relate to their own family and Christmas traditions. I then launch right into the show finale.
  5. I edit my sequence with an WAV file, and then swap it out at the end with a MP4. There's no need for the video file until the sequence is totally finished. You'll want to control the bitrate and size of the video file, depending on the speed of your computer. I use an Optima 719 data projector that I bought 10 years ago, which is still working well. Choice of projector mainly depends on what you want to spend to get the best picture and brightness available. Here's a site that compares old and new projectors http://www.projectorcentral.com. I turn my on projector using an old Phillips Pronto touchscreen learning remote. It has a timer feature that switches the projector on a few minutes before the show. I hope this helps.
  6. Craig, If it's a simple shape you want to project on like the triangle of a gable or like the circle of a wreath screen, you'll need to create a matte. You can usually do a simple matte in most editing programs, or create something a little more detailed in Photoshop. The matte will prevent the image from spilling over into the areas you don't want to illuminate, and then you resize and reposition your image to fit the matte shape. Any more complex than this, and you want to get into projection mapping like Dennis mentioned. Mike
  7. One way of running multiple videos is to use a video playback system, such as this https://www.gilderfluke.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=16_76&products_id=343&zenid=k8mf7dov7ct02chisst60rv4s20ccbkt. As long as your program isn't too long, the video should remain in sync once triggered by DMX. It's a bit of pricey solution, but it solves the problem. There may be other less expensive options out there as well.
  8. Thank you! It's a great program that allows me to get smooth organic movements.
  9. I do use the Servo Dog to control all the servos, and the 12v LOR controller for the actuators. I program all the mouth movements in the sequence editor using the Tapper Wizard, and then I go back and tweak it by hand. I use Monkey Basic TrackSkull to do all the head movements. I have a short demo of the process here.
  10. I do use the Servo Dog to control all the servos, and the 12v LOR controller for the actuators. I program all the mouth movements in the sequence editor using the Tapper Wizard, and then I go back and tweak it by hand. I use Monkey Basic TrackSkull to do all the head movements. I have a short demo of the process here.
  11. Thank you! I'm glad she was able to catch it live!
  12. I actually don't work for Disney, I'm a freelance video editor. I work doing TV promo. I did work for them about 10 years ago as an editor for ABC Family. Thanks for the kind words. I'm not sure if my schedule would allow the time needed for the show, but it would be fun to do.
  13. Here's my show for 2014. It's all new, and the longest I've ever done. An additional 12,000 LED lights were added to the display this year, which definitely added to the overall brightness of the display. I also increased the amount of snow used in the display, the kids enjoy every minute of it! I hope you enjoy the show!
  14. My rear projection wreath screen uses this material https://www.dazian.com/product-details/?sku=Translite+Grey+65&variantSku=&categoryId=70&subCategoryId=316&catalog=Dazian. I'm still using the same piece of material since 2006, and it's held up great. I purchased some clips from them to grab and stretch the material, but they don't seem to carry them anymore. I'm sure they could point you in the right direction. The material is pricey, but the image quality is good, and the material holds up well.
  15. I started using these last year http://www.servocity.com/html/cat6_servo_extension.html#.U_OnSBag8Sw. They work great and have built in boosters. I'm using 25' cat 6 cables without a problem. I originally made my own extenders a few years ago, but they seemed to have a little noise. These are rock solid. You can also apply power at the animatronic end if you plan to run farther, supposedly 100' is the max. You will also need male to male extensions at the Servo Dog end to hook them up.
  16. Great! When the time comes, there'll be a snowman with your name on it!
  17. Thank you, I'm glad you liked them! Regarding the weathering of the animatronics, before I started building them for sale, I used them in my display for quite a few years. We had a few rainy Christmases, and they were fine. I do shut down my display in a heavy downpour and cover up the animatronics, but I leave them going in a light rain. The Santa, sleigh and reindeer's been up on my roof now for 3 years, and they've never been covered up. The bright fabrics will fade over time, but it's like any painted thing you use in a display. I actually sprayed the dancing elves' pants a few years ago with Red fabric spray paint, and they look good as new. The best thing to do is place the animatronics under an awning or enclosure to protect them from the rain and heavy snow loads.
  18. Thank you for the kind words, I'm glad to hear you love them! I wish I could have offered them at a lower price to meet more people's budgets, but the component costs and time involved in making them added up quick. If your budget ever increases…
  19. Next week I will be demoing my new animatronic "Elf-in-a-Box" at the Christmas Expo, along with my singing "Frosty the Snowman" animatronic. They'll both be performing in the vendor area for the first time! More info will be available soon at http://www.seasonsgreeters.net. I'm really looking forward to the Expo, and I hope to see and meet many of you there! - Mike Ziemkowski
  20. This year for the first time, Season's Greeters will have a booth at the 2014 Christmas Expo. I'll be demoing my animatronics, as well as teaching two classes. The first is "Animatronic Programming with TrackSkull & LOR," the software I use to program my animatronic head movements, which helps me achieve fluid motion. And "Video Editing," which will really cover shooting and editing your display video. It should be a great time, as it's always been in the past. This year's class list is filled with great topics and the vendor list is growing! Hope to see you there!
  21. Thank you Melvin! Thank you Tom! I was contacted by them last year and this year, but they tape in October and I would never be ready by then. Also, I'm not the best on camera, which is probably why I'm an editor.
  22. Here is my display video for 2013. This year's show features a few new favorite songs, as well as couple past favorites! Frosty has been replaced with one of my new Season's Greeters animatronics, joining the original cast of characters. The music was selected earlier this year, and programming began the end of September, after a bunch of new snowmen were shipped out to perform in other parts of the country! This will be my 14th display/show in Sherman Oaks, preceded by approx. 25 years of displays in St. John, IN. The year's have flown by! I hope you enjoy this year's show, and I hope you can make it by if you're in the LA area.
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