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Everything posted by LightsWithSoul

  1. I have a dual monitor setup as well. My primary monitor is a 1440p display, and with that really high resolution I can fit a ton more channels in SE on it than I could with a standard HD 1080p display. 2 monitors in my opinion is a must to have any level of efficiency while sequencing.
  2. When I was a kid it was a tradition for me to go out in to the garage, pull all of the bins down off the shelves and get out all of the Christmas lights. I will always remember stringing them out in the living room and testing each strand before carrying it outside to hang it on whatever bush I felt like at the time. I've been decorating since as long as I can remember... and I probably had thousands of Christmas lights to hang even by the time I was 8 years old. Most kids were out in the street throwing a football around or shooting hoops, and I was that one kid spending hours and hours hanging lights. It slowly built up over the years and over time I gained a knowledge of how to create more visually coherent displays. If any of you have ever heard of a neighborhood in southern California called "Balboa Island," you'll know how I was motivated to start decorating. There are hundreds of homes all with incredible, massive scale Christmas displays, and during the season it attracted tens of thousands of visitors just to see it. Because of the sheer amount of grand displays, the neighborhood lighting contest was fierce, and I was able to win an award 4 years in a row. I had constructed 7ft tall painted wooden cutouts of a Christmas tree and a snowman, and drilled hundreds of holes through them in which to stick multi-function mini lights. The effect was spectacular and it probably won me the award by itself. By the time I moved I was decorating 3 of the neighbor's houses because of how much they liked my display. That is a time that I can never relive but I am so thankful to have been raised in that environment. It spurred so much creativity and the desire to construct and design things. Now I await the arrival of 50 strings of pixels to start getting ready for next year. How things... well haven't changed much haha.
  3. I just looked up Carson William's display, and indeed it was the video I saw. A true classic, and the choreography still holds up today.. in face probably some of the most effective choreography that I've seen for Wizards in Winter to date.
  4. I have not used any TSO songs in my display as I do not like convention, however the first video I ever saw of a choreographed lights display was using Wizards in Winter. I remember the first time I saw that on Youtube I was mesmerized. I was probably 12 years old at the time and I can still recall playing the video over and over again. 61... too young.
  5. 3 pixie 16 packages with 16 strands of pixels each 1 cosmic color pixel set Ordered within 2 minutes. I'm sure these sold out very quickly...
  6. Check out the listing on the sale page for the black pixel pixie 16 package. There's an add to cart button there that does account for the sale price... Pretty sure that's not supposed to be there...
  7. Brian, nice choreography work. Very easy on the eyes and you can tell you have good musical sense. Good stuff.
  8. Basically I wanted the brightness, the really true intense color, and the capability to do more intense shimmers and certain effects that require the responsiveness of LEDs just in case a song calls on it, but most of the time in my sequences I want to give it a softer feel hence the little fade details and such. It's probably a weird niche way to program but I like the look of the end product so I can't feel too bad about the extra time spent on getting it. I agree with your emphasis on sequencing George. Honestly if I watch a video or drive by a display and the first thing I see is a lot of flashing I'm gone within a couple minutes. It legitimately gives me a headache. I mean no disrespect if anyone likes a very flashy display, that's just my personal preference.
  9. LEDs shimmer and twinkle extremely violently. The heat-up and cool-down time of the incandescents smooths out rapid flashing but that is not the case with LEDs. I have a display where there are 3 single-color strands on each house element, so in the event that I need to make something shimmer, I will leave 1 strand on solid and shimmer a second strand on top of it so that way the display is never completely off. I spend a lot of time in my programming putting small fades before and after each event as to soften the glow of the LEDs to give them a softer more incandescent-like glow. Another thing to keep in mind is that LEDs typically only have noticeable brightness differences during fades between about 6% and 80% intensity. If you are to make a fade in your display and you want it to be more linear (like incandescents), programming that fade to start at 6% or so and ramping up to ~80% is a good way to do that. The biggest thing I would advise is to always have a visual resting point in your choreography. LEDs can be very harsh if every element is always flashing. A color wash on the house or a certain lighting element that can be tied to a soft undertone in a song can really help keep the display from being too flashy. The thing that makes a display look harsh is when the entire display is on-off-on-off. If there is a constant light from somewhere or very smooth fading you can avoid that. Here is a video of my display from last year. All of the white and green lights are LED and the red on the house is incandescent, and I think you'd be hard-pressed to spot the difference. Almost every LED event is faded on and off to as closely match the soft glow of the incandescents as I could. So for example when I do a chase of the LED mini trees, instead of starting at 100% intensity and fading down to 0% like I would with an incandescent string, I put about a 1/8 of a second fade up from 6% to 80% intensity, then a solid intensity block, then the fade down. With that technique the difference between LEDs and Incandescents are almost indistinguishable. To keep a consistent visual style throughout the song I do that to almost every on-off event of the LEDs.
  10. I personally am of a belief that color consistency is of high importance. I think that goes hand in hand with sequencing. There are for example certain props in my display that interact with each other quite often during certain phrases of a song, and having those 2 be different shades of white for example would make the display look disjointed. I have even gone so far as to spend hours tinkering with all of my RGB flood light sequencing so that every time they're programmed to be white they appear a shade of warm white that perfectly matches that of my LEDs (and that takes a long time after you've already color faded in to the standard white lol). It all depends on how your props are laid out and sequenced. The other thing to note is that LEDs dim in a non-linear fashion, and if they are side-by-side with incandescents, they will look much different during fades. There is another level of depth and richness that is achieved when all the strings and colors perfectly match. Just my two cents.
  11. My display was down and stored within 6 hours. Thank goodness for PVC frames and lots of extra bins. Normally I'm sad to see my display down, but now with this animation thing I'm too excited for next year to be sad... ahhh.. the addiction... I can feel it... lol
  12. I hit our local Walmart (well it's Vegas, there's like 20 of them lol) at 50% off. Bought 96 packs of 50 LEDs. About $1.80 a box.
  13. Maybe my neighbors are just boring but everyone I've talked to just asks a few questions about how I do it, and they all tune to the radio station no problem.. I had one woman ask "do the lights go to any song?" which obviously meant she didn't understand phrasing in the choreography sense, because if it was auto programmed to any song every sequence would look identical. This has been a cool experience so far this year. I've met a few new neighbors through it and everyone here loves the display and they always compliment me/the display when they drive by. Guess it shows I'm in a good neighborhood.
  14. I am planning to build a "Firestick Forest." Basically the premise is to fill the planters that line our driveway up with various heights of firesticks, placed randomly throughout to create a "forest" of leaping lights. It's going to be a channel hog (I think I'll probably need 4 controllers to do it right), but man will it be worth it. On a powerful orchestral piece launching ~12 firesticks of different colors up in to the air is going to be magical. Man.. Christmas isn't even here and yet here I am thinking about 2017... I've got to get out of here! LOL
  15. Looking really good. Nice sweeps of color and the choreography really follows the song rather than relying on too many patterns. I love the use of multiple channels on the cypress trees. That's a really nice effect.
  16. Man. That's a bummer. I'm sorry that happened to you. I always wonder what the kids do with the stolen stuff when they get it home. I mean, I doubt they're going to put it out in their yard now. Initially I was bummed that our neighborhood was gated, but honestly I'd rather just have our neighbors and friends enjoy the display (and they do) and not have to worry about unruly kids messing it up. It's a lot less stress lol. 4 years in a row.. man.. that's either extremely unlucky or there are quite a few bad seeds in the area.
  17. Hello everyone. Wanted to share a quick video of one of the songs I've got this year. More videos to come but for now I've got one of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York." Please, tell me what you think, and thank you for taking the time to watch.
  18. "How much is your electric bill?" "How do you make the lights flash like that?" "Do they go to any song?" "How much is your electric bill?" "How do you broadcast it on the radio?" "How much is your electric bill?" "Is your electric bill huge this month?" I don't know. Times like this it seems like Christmas decorating is a customer service job. .......Should have taken that job at the call center.... at least I would have gotten paid for this.... LOL
  19. I went over every song probably 20 times after it was "done." And painstakingly looked at every beat and each effect to make sure there were no quirks that would surprise me on the first night. It was definitely worth it because the show has a real depth and polish to it.
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