How many lights are there???
for 2014, the display had over 8,500 bulbs. But these bulbs have 3 lights in each bulb. So, in reality there are 25,500 lights in the display. With the new additions, there should be well over 30,000 lights in the 2015 display!
How do you get the lights to go with the music??? I currently use 2 programs to align the lights with the music. They are XLights/Nutcracker 4.0, and Light O Rama Showtime S4 software. Using a wave form and a grid setup, I can tell any fixture in the display when to turn on, off, and also what color to be. Sequencing, as it is known, takes the most time. For a 3 minute song, I’ll spend roughly 30 to 40 hours to make it “go” the way I want it. Because of the time invested in creating these sequences, I will reuse the same ones from year to year. I believed I’ve sequenced over 50 songs and typically only run around 15-20 songs per season.
How does it work? We upgraded to a new desktop computer that is dedicated to running the show. It is a 2.5Gb quad-core processor with 8Gb Ram and a 2 TB hard drive. When loaded with the sequencing software, the computer looks up the synchronization files and outputs them through a USB and network port. The data is collected and transferred to the lights via the controllers located out in the display.
What is your electric bill like?? Added cost to run the 2014 show was around $200 to run from December 1 to Jan 5. Using computer animation, only 1/3 of my lights are lit at any given moment. Also, the show runs for 5 to 6 hours per night. The lights do not run past 11pm
Are those special lights? Yes they are. For 2013 we added RGB technology. Using 1 bulb with 3 colors, red green and blue, each string can make a million colors. The RGB lights were custom designed and imported. Each display element required individual setup and connection to a DMX controller. Every element has a hand-soldered extension cord and wire connector. You can not go to any US retailer and purchase these items, they are all hand-crafted.
When do you begin setting up? Typically set-up begins around the middle of October. I use Halloween as a time to begin testing the show, and working out the “bugs”
How long does it take to setup? Set-up always varies. Work schedule, temperature, and weather play a big part in it. The most challenging part is getting the computer to connect to all the hardware on the network.
Are you an electrical engineer? I began learning about electricity in 6th grade with a project for our science fair. Since then I’ve learned a lot about wiring, soldering, low voltage, and electrical safety. I currently and employed as an assistant manager at Kings Family Restaurant in Kittanning, PA.