Fun Facts

 

How many lights are there?

For 2018 we have a grand total of 13,900 LED bulbs.

How do you get the lights to go with the music?  We use  xLights lighting software.   Each display prop is modeled in the software, and the program  organizes the props on grid setup (see image to the right).  On this screen we manually turn on and off each individual prop in the display.  The program builds-in some very interesting effects and allows you to create and endless amount of options.  The process known as Sequencing, is the most time consuming process of the entire display.  For a 3 minute song it will take around 20 to 40 hours to match the music with all lights.  To date, we have sequenced over 130 songs.

How does it work?

When loaded with the sequencing software, the computer looks up the synchronization files and sends the file data through the computer’s network port.  The data is collected and transferred to the light strings via the lighting controllers (image left).  We use the Falcon F16v3, Falcon F16v2, Falcon F48, Sandevices e682 and e6804, and the Advatek PixLite16 pixel controllers.  Each prop in the display is connected to a plug on a controller.  These controllers collect the network data from the computer and distribute them to the display item.

 

 

What kind of computer is needed to create and run the show?

During the late spring of 2018, we built a new desktop computer (image to the right) that is dedicated to sequencing.  The software doesn’t require a “monster” or “ultra fast” computer.  However, we spend a lot of time sequencing and the software utilizes the resources that a gaming computer can offer.

This is a Ryzen 1800x 8 core computer processor with 32GB RAM, and a 2 TB hard drive.  Because we do a lot more with the computer than just web browsing and media viewing, this computer is much more advanced than our previous system.

To “run the show” we have another computer that can output the pixel data.  The xLights software includes a “show/schedule player” software that doesn’t require a lot of resources.  In fact, the light show can run off of a $35 mini computer call a Raspberry Pi.  Lighting community members have developed software, free-to-use, called the Falcon Pi Player.

What is your electric bill like??  Most people will be surprised to hear the show costs $50 per week to run during the holiday season.  The added cost to run the 2017 show was around $300, from November 24 to January 5.

Are those special lights? Yes they are. In 2013 we added RGB technology. Each bulb contains  3 colors, red green and blue.  This “pixel” technology is very much like what is found in your TV, allowing us to mix millions of color combinations. Because of the specific nature of this type of lighting, everything is hand-crafted and custom built for this display.

How long does it take to setup?   We usually begin setup in October.   Set-up always varies.  Work schedule, temperature, and weather play a big part.  For 2018 we hand an usually wet and cold October and November.  This delayed us greatly, as water and electric don’t mix very well.  the 2018 display took nearly 6 weeks to erect, due mostly to the weather and schedule conflicts.  However, with the many NEW additions, more time was spent during the setup phase.  Usually the display takes three to four weeks to prepare, opening on Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Where do you store all of it?   Each prop is built with the thought of how to store it.  We have a large basement that is great for storing all the ground display elements.  Everything on the roof is kept in the attic.  Some of the larger and longer  props are kept in a storage shed.

Are you an electrical engineer?     Electricity has always been interesting and in 6th grade the project for the science fair revolved around light switches and batteries.  Since then we’ve learned a lot about wiring, soldering, low voltage lighting, and electrical safety.

How did you learn to do all this?  In 2007 a friend shared a video of some crazy Christmas lights dancing to music.   After doing a lot (months and months) of research, I learned it could be done by anyone.  The first year for Leechburg Lights was 2008 and looked nothing like what you see today.

Where can I learn how to do all this?  The Leechburg Lights website was created to help show the average person how to add this kind of lighting to their own home.  In 2018 we expanded and created a new website which shows in much greater detail how to build the light display of your dreams.  You can find us at www.pixelprodisplays.com