It is December 1, 2019 and after hundreds of programming and set up hours we launched our largest show ever. This year's show includes 120,000 lights and covers our house as well as four of our neighbors. We look forward to seeing everyone. We hope you enjoy the show.
Ok, based on the fact that my last blog post was almost a year ago it is pretty obvious I am not a blogger. However, we have been working hard on our 2014 show for months now. Set-up starts tomorrow (November 1). We have added several new elements to the show this year and can't wait to see them up and running. We can get an idea of how things will look on the computer, but nothing beats the real thing.
Also, this year I joined the Charlotte Lights Gone Wild Group. This is a group of people who also have Christmas light shows in the Charlotte area. We have added a new page to our website that shows the addresses of these shows. I encourage you to take the time to visit these other shows. All have put a lot of time into their shows, you will be impressed.
Thirty days and counting until opening night!
The big day is almost here. We have spent the last month constructing the display. All the lights are up and we are now in the process of installing the nearly 2 miles of extension cords that make the show come to life as well as the 2000 feet of CAT 5e cable. This years show runs on three separate computer networks. Stop by and say hello if you see us out. You may even get a chance to sneak an early peak at the show as we test out the elements. T
WOW..... December is coming fast. Sequencing is nearly done for the year. We currently have 56 minutes of the show complete and need to add one more song to round out the full hour. We have several new selections this year and can't wait to see how they look. We have been spending a lot of time building our new props for this year's show. We are about 75% complete and have done some pretty significant engineering upgrades. We learned a lot from last year's show, mainly what not to do. We are only about a week or two away from starting to install things outdoors.
Believe it or not we really haven't been off the radar, just got caught up in all the summer festivities. Took a nice family vacation, a lot of work around the house, and some school prep as the kids get ready to start another year of high school, college, and med school. However, don't fear.......the light show planning has not slowed down. We have been working on some major infrastructure upgrades. One project that was completed this year was a 100 amp subpanel installation. We got by last year, but likely had a few code violations. For 2013 we are fully legal and ready to go with a little electrical capacity to spare. We also spent time debugging our new megatree. We did a trial run in the Spring in the back yard and it was running at about the 75% level. After several more hours and some great help by the Light-O-Rama help desk we have it running at full capacity! It took some firmware upgrades, a dedicated show PC, and three separate Ethernet networks, but it is a thing of beauty. Finally, we have spent some time beginning to construct the new display props for the 2013 show. Our shipment of LED light came in in August so now it is full speed ahead. Only 75 days until installation begins. Updated pics are in the 2013 planning page.
Sorry we have been off the radar for a few weeks. The prep work has not stopped, we were just lacking on the updates. We continued constructing our new improved mega-trees and actually did a few full scale test in the back yard. It had to be in the back yard since many people think we are crazy enough in December. 30 foot mega-trees running in May and June don't do much to make people think you are normal. The testing was well worth it. We found and fixed several problems, but overall the new designs worked great. We still have some networking issues to resolve, but they should be taken care of by December. Now it is back to the software programming.
This week we started construction on our new mega-tree support systems. We started with a trip to Lowes to purchase a considerable amount of random material. I am convinced that the purchase tracker associated with the My Lowes card has got to be the most random ever. Some of the material we purchased included some 10' long rigid electrical conduit. Unfortunately we figured out that the inside of our car was 9' - 11 3/4" long. A broken windshield later we got the material home. A small price to pay for a great light show.
We took advantage of the Light-O-Rama spring sale to add to the hardware for the 2013 show. The number of controllers has been doubled. We also ordered additional LED light sets for the new show. About 80% of the show will be LED this year. This weekend we also plan to start working on new supports for our mega-trees. The set-up we used last year served its purpose, but it was not user friendly. Through the wonders of the Internet and some great people in the holiday lighting community we will be moving to a new design. A big thank you goes out to the Light-O-Rama Forum community and to several individuals for sharing their knowledge. We have also been spending time reworking the song sequences. Currently we have 7 songs complete, 2 new selections and 5 favorites. We have about 12 more songs to complete before December 1. Each song takes 8 - 12 hours to complete.
With the show lay-out complete for 2013 our focus has shifted to
sequencing the music for this year's show. The first song has been completed and required about 6 hours of work. The first song was reworked from the
2012 show, but due to the removal of several components and the addition of
several new ones a lot of reprogramming was required.
The second song that is now being worked on will be new to the show and
based on feedback from last year's spectators is a completely different offering
that we are sure you will find enjoyable.
Planning for the 2013 show is already underway. The current focus this month is figuring out what new elements will be added. It is critical to figure this out first since it determines what new hardware must be purchased and more importantly what changes must be made to the song sequences. Current plans are to add more LEDs, increase the number of Allen Balls in the trees, add an additional megatree, and rework the structural support of the megatrees. There will also be one other major addition to the 2013 show, but you will all have to wait until December to see what it is.