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Our Inspiration for animated lighting comes from two sources.

The first is a Christmas display we were introduced to near my father in law, Paul Kennedy's, home, who at the time lived in Milton Freewater, Oregon. What we witnessed there was awe inspiring and became a catalyst for today's computer controlled light display.

The second was Marty Slack's display in Murray, Utah. Marty has helped many people in many different ways including us. Marty's web site is www.christmasutah.com. We have visited his display several times and miss seeing it every year now that we are living in southern Utah. The talking reindeer head that we use in our 2006 display was the inspiration of Marty.

One thing to keep in mind here is that we have been collecting lights and equipment for more than four years to put on our first computer controlled display in 2005.

The first question people ask is "How much does it cost to rent a radio frequency"?

Answer: Nothing.

The FCC allows individuals to broadcast a low power radio signal over any available frequency for free. If you are looking for a frequency you can click here to check out what is available in your area. This year as the season approached, we were surprised to learn that the frequency that we used last year (88.9 FM) was now occupied. We did some fancy work to our "Tune to" sign so this year our new frequency is 92.5FM. We broadcast with a "Ramsey 25B" transmitter that I purchased as a kit. The transmitter audio line in is taken straight from the computer speakers, then transmitted to you, in the comfort of your car.

The next question is "How do you synchronize the lights to the music"?

Answer: MAGIC! Actually, when I watch a song that we have sequenced for the first time, It feels like magic.

The audio of the songs are first loaded into a program we use called "Light-O-Rama". This is a sophisticated program that adds a grid to the music. Each and every time the lights turn on or off is programmed on the grid. By the time you listen to the sequenced song for the first time, we have listened to it 300 times or more.

This process takes about 3-4 hours of programming for every minute of song to make a "sequence"

Next the sequence is sent to a controller that is much like a automatic sprinkler valve box, sending electricity to a specific strand of lights just when to computer tells it to.

For the 2008 season we are running a total of 272 channels of "Light-O-Rama". The results of all of this hard work you can now see during the 2008 season.

If you would like more detailed information of syncronizing lights click here. This will take you to a wiki on "How to Make Your Christmas Lights Flash to Music".

 

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