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How long is a good show?


SuperMatt
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How long do you consider a good Christmas light show to be?  (I suppose you could measure it in number of songs or minutes.)

 

I have 5 solid songs. It's so easy to want to program more and more, but I'm thinking there's a point where it would get old/boring for the viewer.

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Last year I had some nights my show was 1hr long and people sat and watched the whole show.  And some nights I had to make the show shorter to keep the traffic moving along.  It will vary.

 

Will also depend on the sequencing.

Edited by 75redman
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Mine is over an hour and a half before it repeats. One thing to consider is that you don't wanna listen to the same song over and over you've already done that making the sequence. That is if you have it set up with speakers. I think every situation is different I don't know if I'm right just my opinion

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I adopt the Disney way with a song then static lights for 8 minutes then another song. This keeps the traffic moving but ensures people don't miss the fact that the lights are synchronised to music. Also with speakers outside it gives the neighbours a break. I guess there is no fixed answer it is what works for you.

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I'm running 37 songs this year so that anyone who lives in this neighborhood is pretty well assured they'll never see the same song twice if going by. This is my 3rd year and even last year, only a few would stop and watch/listen to more than one song. Within two weeks of Christmas, things pick up though.

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Some people come back every night.   I already have parents telling me their kids are nagging them to come see and its not lit up.  Yes it may seem boring but kids can handle a lot of repeats.    I try to have songs which vary in tempo and style.   No need to use every channel in every song either.  Sometimes using a channel sparingly will add an element of surprise.      For my display I dont think of it as a 'show' with a start and end time and if you are not present at a particular time then you missed out.  I like to begin before dark since no one will be here.   And I end late so the traffic is down or street is empty.

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I agree it depends mostly on the sequencing. We loop maybe two dozen songs each evening so there's always something playing. I agree with Bob that I don't want people to feel as though they've missed out. I also hear from people all the time that come often and hear from many who stay for the whole rotation. On real busy nights when the wait is longer than 30 minutes we'll run shorter rotations. I've gone as low as five songs.

Edited by George Simmons
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I have to go with redman and BobO.  I don't use every element in every sequence, because it is nice to provide a "wow" factor to keep the interest of the viewer.  I also have a short and long version of the show, running the short one on the busy nights.  The short show I also consider to be my best songs - ones that have taken the longest time programming.  The short show ends up being under 30 minutes, the long one over an hour.  They do follow the same order for every play - and I have voiceovers between songs that promote safe driving and "kids sing along with this one" talk, and announce the artist and song.  I've used this now for many years and people can stay for one song or the whole thing. 

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I also do not turn on every prop in every song. I like to "Sequence to effect" or at least that's what I call it. I have various props that are out there for just one or two songs whereas other props might get used in a lot of songs. Depends on the mood, tempo and story of the song. 

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I don't have a show as such either, just 16 songs in rotation - about 45 minutes total.  Likewise, I don't use all lights in each sequence and in some songs the lights used are not even sequenced.  For example, I put one song in at the last minute.  The only lights used are blue and white, all on steady.  The only animation are my two pixel trees that were done in blue and white with Nutcracker.  It's a slow song that not many have heard, called "To Believe" by Jackie Evancho (the ten year old soprano) and I use video of her singing it.  Also, it's not a Christmas song.  Evidently, it's pretty effective as I have seen more than one person wiping tears away during the sequence.  This song took all of fifteen minutes to sequence.  So, just because one has the lights and the channels, doesn't mean the most effective sequence uses everything or has to be blinky/flashy.

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Thanks for the responses. I like how each of you has your own approach and there's not so much an air of "this is how it's ALWAYS been done" in the lighting community.

 

35 songs? And hour and a half show? Wow! I've got some work to do.  :D

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For the people with a crazy amount of songs (aka, 35), what do you do when you add new elements to your display? Do you update all of your existing sequences to use the new elements, or do you just keep them as they are and only used the new elements in any new songs you do? That number of songs seems a bit overwhelming.

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Yes and it is a time-consuming thing to do but on the other side of the coin as such, its easy too in that you are only sequencing for the added props as opposed to the whole display/song. My 37 songs runs real close to 2 hours before it repeats. I do that many soley to insure than anyone driving by in this neighborhood, never sees/hears the same song twice.

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