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Sequencing do's and don'ts for best results


Ebuechner

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At the moment I have 9 songs done into a planned 33 songs for my show and looking for input. Currently I'm sequencing one element at a time from beginning to end of the song. Then moving on to the next element such as mega tree then on to the mini trees. So how do you get your best results do you sequence everything from beginning to end working in small sections, Or do you do like I do? This is going on to my fourth year and I was curious if anybody had one of those moments when they figured something out that made the whole process easier or with better results.

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It depends on the song.  But yes, I typically do one grouping at a time, for the whole song.  Window frames first, then window wreaths, then my 2 holly trees, then my four lattice trees, then my two types of bushes, then my garage outline, then my topiary tree, then (lastly) the spiral tree, which is new this year.  Then I go over it with a fine-toothed comb until I'm happy with the whole thing.

 

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Even though I only have 9 songs done I'm at least 80% for the year. I've been using a spreadsheet to map the items that are done for each song that way I don't have to stay focused on one song. Such as if I had to sequence the Chipmunks from beginning to end without a break you would probably find me hanging from a mega tree. But I was wondering do you start off with a theme for the song or a color palette how do you find inspiration and then translate that to the lights? I've been finding myself stuck on a couple of songs so I'm giving them a break and hopefully something will click. 

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30 minutes ago, Ebuechner said:

Even though I only have 9 songs done I'm at least 80% for the year. I've been using a spreadsheet to map the items that are done for each song that way I don't have to stay focused on one song. Such as if I had to sequence the Chipmunks from beginning to end without a break you would probably find me hanging from a mega tree. But I was wondering do you start off with a theme for the song or a color palette how do you find inspiration and then translate that to the lights? I've been finding myself stuck on a couple of songs so I'm giving them a break and hopefully something will click. 

I also use a spreadsheet to track all the display elements.  I always bounce around from song to song, working on whatever inspires me that hour/minute/day.  I've found that is the best way to keep me productive and focused on sequencing instead of playing games and surfing the net when I get stuck on a given song.

I can't recall any time (although it may have happened) when I began a song with a "theme" in mind.  For me, whenever a theme emerges, it's something that just kind of happens.  When I start a new song, I always sequence the beat elements in the display first.  This gives me ideas as I examine and work through the song.  Then I do the color scheme.  After working through every second of the song twice, I've usually got a few ideas regarding other display elements.  In no particular order, probably starting with the one I like the most, I'll do those next.  From there, I'll work through the remaining elements one group at a time or as inspiration strikes me.  If I run out of inspiration, I switch over to a different song.  At some point, I'll either come back and finish the first one, decide it's good enough to show as is, or realize it's one I'll never get finished and add it to the scrap heap.

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I would concentrate on dowing fewer songs, better, than a larger number of average songs. From my experience, visityors general stay for 1-3 songs.  At least in my cold weather climate where they never leave their car.  So 33 songs may be overkill.

 

The bulk of my sequences are built from copy/pasting elements from shared sequences. So I do try to keep a big picture overview as I copy in elements in.  Once I have copied in all the elements, I do generally take one grouping in my sequence and tweak it all the way to the end and then move on to another grouping.

 

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14 minutes ago, George Simmons said:

I also use a spreadsheet to track all the display elements.  I always bounce around from song to song, working on whatever inspires me that hour/minute/day.  I've found that is the best way to keep me productive and focused on sequencing instead of playing games and surfing the net when I get stuck on a given song.

I can't recall any time (although it may have happened) when I began a song with a "theme" in mind.  For me, whenever a theme emerges, it's something that just kind of happens.  When I start a new song, I always sequence the beat elements in the display first.  This gives me ideas as I examine and work through the song.  Then I do the color scheme.  After working through every second of the song twice, I've usually got a few ideas regarding other display elements.  In no particular order, probably starting with the one I like the most, I'll do those next.  From there, I'll work through the remaining elements one group at a time or as inspiration strikes me.  If I run out of inspiration, I switch over to a different song.  At some point, I'll either come back and finish the first one, decide it's good enough to show as is, or realize it's one I'll never get finished and add it to the scrap heap.

couldn't have said it better:D

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31 minutes ago, mpageler said:

I would concentrate on dowing fewer songs, better, than a larger number of average songs. From my experience, visityors general stay for 1-3 songs.  At least in my cold weather climate where they never leave their car.  So 33 songs may be overkill.

 

The bulk of my sequences are built from copy/pasting elements from shared sequences. So I do try to keep a big picture overview as I copy in elements in.  Once I have copied in all the elements, I do generally take one grouping in my sequence and tweak it all the way to the end and then move on to another grouping.

 

I've actually had people stay for my whole show which last year was about an hour and a half before it repeats. Several other people said they liked being able to come back multiple times and hear different stuff each time. And no offense about the copy and paste thing (I've tried it) I ended up with nothing that fit my display and everything seemed to be doing its own thing with nothing in common. I have watched a lot of YouTube videos trying to get inspiration. I live on the edge of Madison Wisconsin so I do know cold weather and it seems to keep people in their cars and not playing around in the display (so far I haven't had that problem)

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2 minutes ago, Ebuechner said:

I've actually had people stay for my whole show which last year was about an hour and a half before it repeats. Several other people said they liked being able to come back multiple times and hear different stuff each time. And no offense about the copy and paste thing (I've tried it) I ended up with nothing that fit my display and everything seemed to be doing its own thing with nothing in common. I have watched a lot of YouTube videos trying to get inspiration. I live on the edge of Madison Wisconsin so I do know cold weather and it seems to keep people in their cars and not playing around in the display (so far I haven't had that problem)

It's not at all uncommon for us to look out front and see some of the same cars there as were there 30 minutes ago.  And we, too, have people (a lot of them actually) who like coming back multiple times each season.  I've got one old guy (well into his eighties) who I see at least half a dozen times during the season.  Each time he sees me outside (I think he waits for me to come out on a candy cane run) he comes over to drop a nice donation in the food shelf collection and makes a big deal of inviting me over to the car to meet his "lady friend".    Every time I've seen him he's had a different woman sitting in the car.  I asked him about that last year and he told me it's a nice life to be a single guy whose plumbing still works living in a retirement home full of single women who don't get out much.  Is this a great hobby or what ???

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I don't think I've ever sat down and programed one song from beginning to end.  I usually program in chunks of the song and chunks of props.  Most of the time with 2-3 songs in progress.   Sometimes I know how a sequence will end long before how it begins.  I will hear a song and have an idea on how to do the Mega Tree, or some other prop and then go from there.  I do copy and paste quite a bit from song to song.  Just like this post, I tend to go all over the place.  Then the OCD kicks in when I think each song is done, because they NEVER are...

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4 hours ago, Ebuechner said:

 And no offense about the copy and paste thing (I've tried it) I ended up with nothing that fit my display and everything seemed to be doing its own thing with nothing in common.

With building scratch, there is a range of poor to outstanding sequences out there.  Sames true for people that use copy/paste form shared sequences.

 

I have collected a pretty large inventory of shared sequences and can spend a lot of time in searching through them to get an a very pleasent and "organized looking" sequences. 

 

Not saying that nobody should do 30 song shows.  Just don't want newbies to get the message that they need shows that long .  Ultimately, your visitation numbers is largely based on location and the quality of the display.

 

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I know what you mean little_b by going into sequencing a song with one part maybe even in the middle already in my head. Most of the time I'm able to work from there but other times I have a hard time getting something to fit with what I started. I've been finding myself lately starting a song with one part of the display as the focus then sequencing that from beginning to end then working everything else with the same theme to bring it all together. I found the spreadsheet helps me a lot and staying organized and focused but sometimes it can be your enemy as well. For instance I was looking at a sequence and the spreadsheet trying to figure out where I could put a couple of props in then I realized the sequence worked well without those items. (I think it was my OCD telling me that I had to fill all the blank spaces on the spreadsheet) I was hoping that somebody would have some advice on things not to do. Common mistakes that end up holding you back. Kind of like never go grocery shopping while you're hungry.

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Great repost, Brian.

Good sequencing will not come as a result of copying / pasting. I've never been a big fan of the "sequence one element at a time" philosophy.

If you want good programming, it has to be done holisticly. That's what we call composition: composing each scene. Yeah, it likely takes note brainpower thatn an element at a time, but visitors will "understand" what you're trying to do with the lights, as opposed to watching a blinky flashy show.

Think about creating 20 (several) "mini scenes" or "looks" throughout your song, and things like the end of the phrase, a key change, tempo change, etc. will signal the change. It's intuitive. Think about transitions between your "scenes", and it's likely that some "scenes" are similar to others, while others are completely different.

Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk

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