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I am finishing up my 2nd song and was wondering how long is too long. I plan on 15-20 minute show with static display between (allow the cars to thin out before next show). This song (Jingle Bell Rock) is 3 minutes long. I was looking at some of the shows on the show off forum and they are all fairly short.

Thanks for the help!

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BamaFlum wrote:

I am finishing up my 2nd song and was wondering how long is too long. I plan on 15-20 minute show with static display between (allow the cars to thin out before next show). This song (Jingle Bell Rock) is 3 minutes long. I was looking at some of the shows on the show off forum and they are all fairly short.

Thanks for the help!

That's the age old question! How long a show can be is obviously limited by your imagination. What you have to consider is the dynamics of your area. If you live on a busy street, then you may not want to have shows that run long.

My story ... which has been told before.

2005 was my first year animated. The first 3 weeks were busy, but traffic overall was light. Then, the Sunday before Christmas ... it got busy. Real busy. Up until that point I was able to run all 10 songs all night, over and over. I had to go in and change the format that night, because I had 3-5 cars which sat there for over 15 minutes. This, while other cars were trying to see the show as well.

My sequences were short simply because after a minute or so of animation, I was simply tired of working on it. Of course, it turns out that was the way I needed to go in order to keep traffic moving.
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Hi Bama,

Don experience echos my own ... here's my thoughts though:


  • 2 minutes seemed to be about perfect for length. Much longer than that it seemed the song was just repeating anyway, or as Don mentioned, just taking for ever to properly sequence.
  • I had about 14 minutes of music, that repeated all evening. What I found later was that I could arrange the songs in such a way that there was a short show and a long show. In reality, it was one show that had all the musical sequences in it, and then a few of them repeated to form a short show. In the minds of the viewers, if they had heard a song once already, they assumed the show was just repeating and off they went.
  • Since some would sit through the show 2 times, I felt I needed to cause the "repeat" to happen quicker to get people to move on.
  • Also, I came to realize that most people don't come with a bag of popcorn, they really are just watching for a short period. So, short shows work fine.
  • Finally, I too was going to have silent sequences in between shows, what I determined is that doing that would confuse people. They thought they had the wrong FM station or something was wrong. I felt it was best to leave the musical sequences running all the time.
  • Case in point: One night I forgot to turn on the FM transmitter, because I had been working on a new song during the day, and didn't want to be broadcasting my work. Well, I can home around 9:30 ... and there were 8 cars sitting there watching the show without music ... their demeanor ranged from "confused" to "overly frustrated" ... it was almost like they were mad at me. Soooo, I went in a remedied the situation.

So, my plan for this year will be:


  1. 2 minute long songs
  2. A range of old favorites and new

    • A couple sing-a-long songs
    • A couple orchestral songs from movie soundtracks
    • A couple old standards, but without words ...


[*]The entire show will last 10 to 15 minutes
[*]I will change the show during the month

Hope this helps ...

T

OH: You should know, all of my lights are involved in the show ... there are no non-sequenced lights in my display. I think this makes a difference as to how you design your "shows". Some people have music simply as background, or use to synchronize a small portion of their overall display. So they approach this whole thing differently than I do.

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