Jump to content

RGB mega tree highlights for 2013


Kent Stutzman
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello all,

 

Here is a video sample of the more interesting RGB mega tree effects for 2013.  This is a roughly spliced compilation of snippets from a number of songs from the show.  95% are Nutcracker effects.   The ability to combine two different effects allows for a lot of variety.  My favorite effect is Picture with scrolling JPGs and animated GIFs.  Do a search for “psychedelic images” and you will get tons of interesting and varied examples.  I was also impressed with the clarity of recognizable images like the yellow submarine and Rudolph pictures.  Next year I plan to do a collage of TV theme songs and scroll images like Battlestar Galactica (1970’s cylon), Scooby Doo, Star Trek (Enterprise whooshing by), Fred Flintstone, Gilligan’s Island, Partridge Family (bus), Emergency (scroll a fire truck), Lost in Space (Dr. Smith), etc.  I used a TV tune collage for audio a couple years ago and people liked the nostalgia.

 

Sample highlight video                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkvQ8P-1c8I

 

 

Video with just scrolling JPGs          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06T1ljnGNdo

 

Video with just animated GIFs          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NZbNWRpSaw

 

My favorite uncut mega tree song    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyh9suKkoN8

 

 

While I was generally pleased with the outcome, there were definitely imperfections, and they show in the video.  This will lead to some changes next year.  I will start a lot earlier next year to test various configurations and not wait until late September to buy.  Numerous complex color changes like scrolling JPGs caused the last half of the 6th strand of each circuit to freeze.  Also, the up and down Bar effect was uneven between the color changes.  Although it looked jagged like you could get tetanus by touching it, to anyone else watching the show it looked intentional and interesting so I called it a “feature”.  The wind turned my straight up and down tree into a 45 degree spiral tree.  Additional reinforcement will be in order for next year.  RBG can be challenging, but also very rewarding,  I love it!

 

 

Kent

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another fantasic sequencing project(s)

 

Can you provide some info on the mega tree

Thanks Dave and Buckeyelights.  I'd be happy to.  

 

It is a 180 degree tree, 20’ tall and 10’diameter base.  24 strands of 50 pixel 5 volt 3001 pixels zip tied to EMT conduit.  6 strands zig zagged up and down per circuit.  Single Sandevices 3804 controller and two 350 volt power supplies from Ray.  Power injection after pixel 25 of each string.  Mounted the controller 10’ up the center pole so very short distance to run the power injection wires.  Nutcracker generated almost all the effects which were then copied into LOR and run on LOR version 3.9 something.  Had about 25 songs which was more than LOR could handle memory-wise, even with the 4 gb patch,  so I broke them up into 2 shows on alternating nights.  Also, the songs took a long time to load the first time they appeared in the show, so I started the show about 3:30 so they were all loaded by dark at 5 and then had fast seamless transition between songs for the rest of the night.  Sorry but I didn't take any pictures.

 

Kent

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Kent!

Hope you don't mind answering a couple more questions. I'm trying to figure out how I want to construct a pixel tree.

Did you use round pixels, shaped similar to a mini-light with the wires coming out of the back? Or the flat back pixels with wires that come out the side? I like the idea of attaching the strand to EMT conduit. Have some type of hook at the top to slip onto an eye-bolt.

How do you get to the top of the tree to attach the conduit at the top of the tree? Do you use a pulley to raise the conduit? 20' high, that would take a tall step ladder to reach the top.

Tks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really nice, I gotta jump into it and try now ;)

 

Could you answer a few more questions, what is the spacing on the strings you used and it looks like you curved the base, did you go a full 180?

 

I don't quite understand what you ment by zig zag or does it mean your strings were 40' long since you tree was 20' tall

Edited by gmac
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really nice, I gotta jump into it and try now ;)

 

Could you answer a few more questions, what is the spacing on the strings you used and it looks like you curved the base, did you go a full 180?

 

I don't quite understand what you ment by zig zag or does it mean your strings were 40' long since you tree was 20' tall

 

Hi gmac,

 

Not quite 180, but close.  Probably about 150.  I didn't feel the need to put one strand almost entirely behind the other.

 

You are exactly right on the zig zag, 100 pixel strands with 50 from bottom to top and the other 50 from the top down on the adjacent pole.  Spacing turned out to be about 4.75 inches.

 

Kent

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Kent!

Hope you don't mind answering a couple more questions. I'm trying to figure out how I want to construct a pixel tree.

Did you use round pixels, shaped similar to a mini-light with the wires coming out of the back? Or the flat back pixels with wires that come out the side? I like the idea of attaching the strand to EMT conduit. Have some type of hook at the top to slip onto an eye-bolt.

How do you get to the top of the tree to attach the conduit at the top of the tree? Do you use a pulley to raise the conduit? 20' high, that would take a tall step ladder to reach the top.

Tks!

 

Hi Buckeyelights,

 

I originally planned on using C-9 covers and didn't want to glue each one on so I chose the round pixels (like mini lights) rather than the flat ones because the flat ones don't have enough meat to connect the cover to.  Unfortunately the C-9 covers seem to have changed from last year and they do not hold onto the round pixels like last year's batch.  They slip off easily or slip down too far over the pixel and only the tip of the C-9 glows.  I ended up not using the C-9s and, frankly, didn't miss them.  To make a long story short, I would have bought flat ones if I knew that I wouldn't use C-9 covers.  Being flatter on the pole would make the zip tying easier, but the round ones work fine too.

 

My megatree doesn't have a pulley.  I hoist it up Iwo Jima style with a 24 hook tree topper http://www.christmaslightshow.com/Standard-Large-Hook-Head-for-outdoor-Christmas-decorations.html  I then assembled two 10' EMT poles with a coupler in the middle.  I drilled a 1/4" hole at the top and inserted an eye bolt 2.5" long, 1/4" thread diameter and about a 1" eye diameter.  Hoisting a 20' pole like this vertically and getting the eye hole over the hook at the top was difficult because the pole flexes a lot.  I zip tied two adjoining poles together with one eye on top of the other, forming a single hole.  The two poles are touching at the top, forming a "V" with the eye bolts.  (Sorry I didn't take any pictures which would have made this more clear.)  The solution solved 3 problems:

 

1)  The two poles were much more stable when vertical and trying to hook it over the topper, and you only have to do it 12 times rather than 24.

 

2)  Since I used 24 total vertical poles tied in groups of 2, this allowed me to just use the front 12 of the 24 hooks on the topper.  This made the top nice and clean (although a bit flat at the top).

 

3)  Having two poles permanently lashed together allowed for zig-zag strands of 100 pixels per strand with 50 going up and 50 coming back down.  I had Ray connect a 3 strand version of these connectors http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/10-pairs-4-Core-White-Waterproof-cable-45cm-long-each-male-and-female/701799_532156471.html to both ends of each strand.  The electrical connections were always at the bottom which was very handy because I did a lot of experimenting with the number of strands per circuit.  The SanDevices E6804 allows up to five 100 pixel strands per circuit, but that had too much freezing on the later strands so I reduced to three strands.  Having these connectors at the bottom made it very easy try different lengths.

 

I then zip tied the bottom of each pole to rebar stuck in the ground to keep it in place and relieve the weight on the top of the tree.  

 

The wind rotation was an issue and also the 20' length kinks inward a bit at the junction in the middle.  Next year I might bend some EMT into a half circle and attach to each pole half way up with bolts to secure things better.

 

Other benefits:  This method allows for easy removal of a single strand for repair.  Using a hook head at the top allows for several star choices at the top (next year I will probably use a coro star at the top and tie it to my old metal star).  Easy assembly and take down.  Stores in a pretty small area (about 1' x 1.5' x 10').  Erection process is so much easier than spiraling individual dumb strands and trying to make the spacing equal and avoid sagging.   

 

Hope this makes sense and gives you some ideas.  I was very pleased with it.

 

Kent

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kent,

Thanks for the detailed explanation and your time for providing more information than my questions. This is very helpful. You answered some additional questions I had.

I like the idea of an eye-bolt at the top of the pipe and slipping it over the hook. As you said, that would allow for easy replacement for repairs. Tying 2 poles together for ease of hanging sounds like a very good idea; it’s gotta get tight up at the top.

It is surprising how much flex or sag a piece of EMT can have. I was thinking about planning for a mid-height support to take the sag out. In addition to tying the mid-height support to the vertical poles, thought a couple ½” rebars for vertical support would help take any sag out of the conduit. Or another thought or idea I read on another thread was to add a turnbuckle attached to the bottom of the pole, tightening the turnbuckle would take sag out of the conduit; although the connection point at the bottom would have to be very rigid.

I’m leaning towards using 50 ct flat back pixels so all the connections are at the bottom.

I’m glad you mentioned the erection process being so much easier than spiraling. I’ve been trying to justify the cost of a pixel tree. While it’s tough to do, one of the things I was telling myself is that I’ll replace my spiral tree with a pixel tree. The spiral tree takes a full day to set up, so tough to get the spacing right, then the wind and snow causes it to move. Anyway I think the time savings would be really nice.

By the way, any December that you want to set-up your pixel tree in my yard you’re welcome too. Consider it an open invitation.

Your tree looks great!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kent,

Where are you located??

Can't tell from your profile or info on youtube

 

How did your pixels hold up this year?

any/many failure?

what was your weather like during the shows??

 

Are you pixels epoxy filled?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kent,

Thanks for the detailed explanation and your time for providing more information than my questions. This is very helpful. You answered some additional questions I had.

I like the idea of an eye-bolt at the top of the pipe and slipping it over the hook. As you said, that would allow for easy replacement for repairs. Tying 2 poles together for ease of hanging sounds like a very good idea; it’s gotta get tight up at the top.

It is surprising how much flex or sag a piece of EMT can have. I was thinking about planning for a mid-height support to take the sag out. In addition to tying the mid-height support to the vertical poles, thought a couple ½” rebars for vertical support would help take any sag out of the conduit. Or another thought or idea I read on another thread was to add a turnbuckle attached to the bottom of the pole, tightening the turnbuckle would take sag out of the conduit; although the connection point at the bottom would have to be very rigid.

I’m leaning towards using 50 ct flat back pixels so all the connections are at the bottom.

I’m glad you mentioned the erection process being so much easier than spiraling. I’ve been trying to justify the cost of a pixel tree. While it’s tough to do, one of the things I was telling myself is that I’ll replace my spiral tree with a pixel tree. The spiral tree takes a full day to set up, so tough to get the spacing right, then the wind and snow causes it to move. Anyway I think the time savings would be really nice.

By the way, any December that you want to set-up your pixel tree in my yard you’re welcome too. Consider it an open invitation.

Your tree looks great!!

 

Hi Buckeyelights,

 

How were you planning to use 1/2" rebar to remove the sag?  Would you run the rebar inside the EMT to add rigidity?  

 

I wouldn't think a turnbuckle would work well because, for the amount of tension required to straighten the pipes, it will more likely pull the pipes apart in the middle.  I had a couple come apart and I didn't have nearly as much tension.  Frankly, the sag was minor and didn't bother me.  The wind twist was more annoying so that would be my main reason for applying additional support.

 

Another thing to consider is whether to paint the bars.  If you don't paint, you will get some reflection and probably will help fill in the gaps between the lights.  During the day though, it will look like you have the top of the Chrysler building in your yard.  I painted mine dark green and was pleased with the result.  It worked well at night and somewhat looked like a green tree during the day.  In my other post showing the tree from the bottom up, the circle farther up the cone is green and the larger circle closer to the camera is silver and you can definitely see the silver more.  It is a matter of personal preference.

 

Yes the EMT pixel tree does save time installing, but the biggest benefit is the tremendous flexibility in using Superstar and Nutcracker.  They provide immediate visual feedback and are downright fun to program with.

 

Kent

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kent,

Where are you located??

Can't tell from your profile or info on youtube

 

How did your pixels hold up this year?

any/many failure?

what was your weather like during the shows??

 

Are you pixels epoxy filled?

 

Hi Dave,

 

I'm on the other southern corner from you ... the other Orange county in southern California a bit south of Los Angeles.  Of the 3000 or so pixels, I saw 3 that failed, and all were adjacent on one string so somehow probably related.  As for weather, we are in a mega drought here.  We had one slight drizzle in the 2 months that I had them up.  They are IP68 epoxy filled and seem very resistant.  I had some hanging face down in the yard with C-9 covers which filled with water from the sprinklers, so the pixels were sitting in water and had no problems.  Granted the biggest danger point on pixels is where the wires go in and that was not immersed in water.

 

Kent

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kent,

Regarding the turnbuckles, I hadn't thought about the conduits pulling apart, thanks for that tidbit.

You mentioned placing a horizontal support at mid-height, I was thinking that a rebar support post under that horizontal support could lift the conduit to take out the sage. Looking at your tree in the video I don't see any sag. But the conduit couplers are what, 3/4" -1" deep, so I can see a tendency for some sag at the connection point.

I had considered using pvc pipe, and if I used it, would definitely paint it. Hadn't consider the reflection of the silver conduit, so a dark green paint is a good idea.

I'm still toying with the idea of pvc pipe to keep the weight low. But that increases the sag. To offset that, the idea I have is to run a vinyl coated steel wire through the pvc pipe and connect the steel wire at the top and bottom, pull it nice and tight. I might experiment with the pvc idea??

Glad to hear you didn't have any, only a couple, moisture issues.....that part scares me.

tks!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...