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It's not just Blinking Lights


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Emails have been sent...

"Tune in to 89.5 FM for music" signs made...

"89.5 FM" in rope light made...

Handouts and business cards made...

And still the general public doesn't understand that it's all synched to music.

Statements made like:

"Hey, I can't get 895 AM"

"What music station is that? And how come it keeps playing the same songs?"

And my favorite:

"Cool flashing lights"

:)

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As was told to me a few weeks ago ... "You can't fix stupid."

If they don't see the sign, they don't see the sign. If they can't figure out that AM stations in the US don't end with 5, then you can't help it.

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Yeah, I figure the ones that just slowly drive by, didn't see/read the sign, and probably just write me off as a nut. I get a few drive-bys, but most stay for 6-16 minutes (one song and a little bit, or whole show). These folks don't write me off, but probably still think I'm a nut :)

Jeff in Raleigh

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Don wrote:

As was told to me a few weeks ago ... "You can't fix stupid."

If they don't see the sign, they don't see the sign. If they can't figure out that AM stations in the US don't end with 5, then you can't help it.



Thank you Don. That's what I've been saying since flipping on the switch.
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I had this concern the first year or two. The second year I put up a huge sign (made with Snap-n-glows) that said "Lights Dance to Music on FM 103.3". That darned sign was about 15 feet long...

Today, I no longer use the sign (I thought it was obnoxious) but most people seem to get it. (I still use two coro signs and an LED scrolling mesage sign). At least a lot of people seem to stop and stay for a time, which they probably wouldn't do if they thought it was just randomly blinking lights.

If they find the music, sooner or later they'll realize "hey, it looks like the lights are in sync, is it just me? Wait a minute, that CAN'T be a coincidence...

-Tim

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When we first lit up back on Thanksgiving, we heard one lady outside say, " wow look at all those moving lights. I guess thats all they do." I had to tell her to listen to her radio. I clearly have a sign lit up with a spot light by the front of my yard. I guess some people just dont get it yet! Oh well.....

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If viewers have a hard time realizing your lights are synced to the music then your show is too fast or too busy or complicated. We ran into this years ago and had to slow the shows down a bit. Remember this - you spent hours making the show and know exactly whats susposed to come on and when. Your audience is being blasted without knowing anything. For your spectators to really appreciate your work , you will have to come down to their level of comprehension. Generally younger people catch on quicker than the older folks. I once had an older gentleman come up to me and tell me that something was wrong with the lights- "must have a short somewhere". We found that setting a static scene briefly in with the syncing goes a long way in helping the viewers understand whats going on as evidenced by coments such as " wow, look , those lights are beating with the music" Put yourself in your audiences viewpoint.

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I think people think it is part on the show. When I worked at busch gardens this summer their was a show that could go down alot becaues it has alot of special effects. How it goes down is that the actor picks up a red flag notifying us (The people working the theater) to shut the show off, (it is all automated) and the actor also give the sorry were canceling the show, yada yada.....

You will be very surprised about how many people think that it is part of the show!

If the music cuts out....
The Doors open....
The lights freeze in their current state....
The guy on stage is politely trying to get the theater empty.....



Would you sit their? or get up and leave? Over HALF of a normal audience would think it was part of the show.


Now putting it in context of Christmas,


You have a bunch of lights
You have a sign that has radio info on it With a light on it

I think people think that it is just another display in your yard, it is just not clicking in their head that it might be possible to broadcast!


Thats my thought.....



--Daniel L

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Not everybody will understand, but most will. I had a guy come up to me yesterday. In one of the songs, 2 large fog machines pipe fog out to the 20' tree and it shoots right up through the middle. Anyway, it fills the whole yard up with smoke. He asked me if everything was ok at my house last night. I said yes, why? Him and his friend thought something was on fire because of all the smoke. I just laughed and told him it was part of the show. lol :)

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The wife had a great suggestion....

Hit the snowmaking snowman when they look like they are getting ready to drive off...the kids will say "LOOK DAD/MOM, SNOW!!!"

Now, where do I order more bottles of that evaporative snow from? and can I get it before I run out???:););)


More signs in being made now...The wife doesn't like it, but I've got the time.

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Great topic and I'll toss in my two cents.

No offense intended, but "Tune in to 89.5 FM for music" leads them to the pasture but didn't quite open the gate. Lots of people (in my area, at least) play (and broadcast) music to add to the festive spirit. Has nothing to do with their lights. Some of the most effective signs, in my opinion, last year were along the lines of "Listen to the lights dance, tune to 89.5 FM"

This summer when I was experimenting with sequencing my speaker cord happened to disconnect. It was one of those "ah ha" moments when I realized that the lights really needed to stand on their own as a show. The music is great, but without it I had a mess of "blinky lights" which was a criticism many LOR users reported last year.

Along the same line, with my display this year I leave a lot more lights on very dimly to minimize the harshness of on/off and the blinky effect. Generally, as soon as the lights have been used in a song they remain on (at maybe 20%) until the end of the song or until there is a natural pause where they can fade away without being noticed.

I've seen some first-time computized displays in the Orlando area this year and they've done the same thing I did two years ago (in my opinion, of course). Much too much stuff and as much flashing as you can possibly manage.

One of the greatest compliments I've received this year was posted online by a town resident (whom I've never met), saying my display was "classy and not overdone." And last year's neighbor who complained about the "blinky lights" commented that it's much better this year.

But with all that written, I hope everyone enjoys my display and gets from it whatever they like. If they enjoy the entire 30-minute experience, great. If they drive past and enjoy for a moment the way some of the lights hang on the house that's just fine too.

[Though I'll share this moment which I enjoyed - though the visual may not convey as well in writing. I did three houses in a row, and one of our songs is the 12 Days of Christmas. For each of the 12 sections a different part of a house illuminates. One evening a car parked across the street as that song was just beginning. Granny was in the backseat with the window rolled down (it is Florida, after all). As each section would light up she'd turn her head to look, appearing like a dog hanging it's head out the window - by the end of the twelve stanzas I was worried she'd have whiplash, but her smile was worth it.]

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A show near my house makes the whole display go gark for a couple seconds between each song. When it goes dark a spotlight comes on lighting up only a sign that tells you where to tune and why. The whole process is probably 15 seconds but it does make you look and read the sign. I thought it was a great idea and will probably use it next year.

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What if you had the the lit up sign on by it's self at the begining of each song with it's own music/sound or voice intro saying "tune to blah, blah, blah to hear the music the lights are dancing to". Have the sign starting out by staying on and then slowly blinks to a little faster blinks to almost a strobe effect and then shuts off. Then the sequence starts. I know it won't catch everybody, but it might help.

Or if possible, have a lit sign saying "turn radio on now", then another one right after it saying "tune to FM 101.1" all before the actual display. You might have to do it going both directions of traffic but it might work.

Either idea, isolating the FM radio info from the show might help.

It's the same thing as having a sign saying, "please turn off headlights in respect to others". Some people see it, some people see it and don't care and some people don't see it at all.

Just a thought,

Tom

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Some great ideas!!! Will have to re-do the signs now.

Leaning towards a "lights dance to music" or something along those lines.

"Musical Light Show" is what I have as the main sign now.


I don't really have to worry about too much going on with the lights. I only have 16 channels and my sequencing is more on a 4/4 basis (except where it really counts musically).

We'll see tonight what happens.

My two kids in 1st and Kindergarten passed out gift bags and greetings cards. I snuck in some cards with the Magic of Christmas Musical light show info inside.

50 kids.
25 will eat the candy and throw away the card.
25 will take home to parents.
10 will actually have the time to take the kids out. (The busy So Cal lifestyle thing)
5 will tell 2 and so on, and so on, and so on... Like a rolling snowball hopefully.

Take care and thanks for the suggestions

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I think "Listen to the Lights" is the best. You want use as few as words as possible to try and get the message across.

Most of all my traffic I think is from others telling people about it and I am sure they also mentioned that it is synced to music. Something like "Have you seen that crazy house that changes to the music?".

I do a lot of full yard color changes, color wipes, and chases so they can be enjoyed even if you were not listening to it. A lot of my work is based around patterns.

sign-03.jpg

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RichardH wrote:

sign-03.jpg



Hey Richard, nice sign. Did you make that? Give us details please.

Also, can you provide a night shot? Please?

Tom

Edited: spelling
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Richard, I thought you sold that sign...Did you get another one or did the sign not sell? I am game for it and have family that can swing your way if it is still available. It is a very cool sign either way. Congrats if you already have sold it.

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