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