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tfischer

Keeping traffic moving

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Down here in Florida with the state and counties running enormous budget surpluses year after year, we found the kids in the Video Journalism classes are given these expensive HD video cameras so they can practice being TV reporters and we are also right at the border of two high school districts so you guessed it... every year kids from both schools come and want to interview me and tape my video display. I guess they said every morning in homeroom classes the video journalism class broadcasts its stuff for the first 20 minutes of every morning to every class in each of the schools, so needless to be said, the display here in Tampa gets a very big showing from high school students and their parents as well as most of the teachers show up.

I synced some songs for a municiple display in Spain last year for a Animated Lighting display at a park using some 4 million lights and I also added some of these Spanish language Christmas songs to my own play list(60% of Tampa's population understands Spanish), and these Spanish Christmas songs were a really big hit with teachers in the area.

This is a really good place to get word of mouth out is when the teachers start recommending kids and their parents come see your display. This is also a good reason to NOT use these "Yellow Snow, Yellow Snow, Yellow Snow" type joke songs and keep your displays totally rated "G".

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I'm wondering how this is going to work for me.

I live on an arterial city street (4 lane traffic). Last year, I did my first (static) Christmas lights. I had the house covered in blue LEDs and a nice snow motif. The house glowed a very intense blue like you never saw with Christmas lights. At times, people would turn into my driveway. At other times, people would stop in the right hand lane in front of the house. A few people even came to the door to ask about the various elements (LED lights, giant snowglobe, moving snowflake projector, etc).

Suprise to me, since I've never done Christmas lights before. (When I was young, pop would only put a miserable string of lights... or perhaps two... in the bushes.)

I'm trying to figure out how this'll work out with a more elaborate display.

EDIT: Here is the scene. (Before I added even more LEDs. LOL.)

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I don't think the camera really gives a good indication of brightness or how saturated the blues were. The interesting thing about these LEDs (Philips) is that they are still the focused forward kind. A bit of a problem in that it dims the overall brightness. But a big plus in that it paints blobs of light on the structure, and it automatically creates a 'twinkle' that hits people as they drive by and intersect with the forward arc of various individual LEDs.

post-2314-12957096049_thumb.jpg

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I aggree with you. We only had three songs this year playing repeatedly untill shut down at eleven pm. Traffic stayed or left at will and no one missed out. Next year we will do the same thing only add more songs and six of my neighbors will also be on our system. We will probably have traffic issues next year.

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When I finally do go full animation on my display with a fm transmitter I am planning on doing a 15 min show with 15 min of just music and just accent lights on static during this period. My sign will not only have the frequency but a 15 min count down to next show. I figure that this is the best way to let people know that they can move on or when to start arriving to seea show.

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crackchecker wrote:

When I finally do go full animation on my display with a fm transmitter I am planning on doing a 15 min show with 15 min of just music and just accent lights on static during this period. My sign will not only have the frequency but a 15 min count down to next show. I figure that this is the best way to let people know that they can move on or when to start arriving to seea show.

I did this my first year. I got so many complaints that I changed it after a couple of weeks. It ended up causing more of a traffic problem with people just waiting until the next show started.

Ken

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I've been taking my daughters to a few of our favorite displaysthe last few years, usually a couple times before Christmas ... but always on christmas eve, for a short recap of our favorite things... and my daughters have told me that this is among the very best things we do each year ... and they asked me to never stop doing that!!

They are my biggest supporters when it comes to having a LOW show in 2008. They already told me that they want to dress up like elves ... and I DID find a Santa outfit in the clearance section for only $1.99 ... so my Daughters are growing up Christmas-crazy ... sounds good to me!

I'm very interested to hear about this traffic control topic. I live on a Cul De Sac with only 10 homes. A couple are in foreclosure, so there is more parking available than normal ... and my neighbors are great. One even wanted to participate, but I think I'm going to wait till at least year#2 to include him in the sequencing.

Scot Meyers already wisely told me that he never grants an interview with the media or TV stations ... because he (wisely) knows that it'll ruin it with horrendous traffic problems. I'm glad to get this wise advise -- beforehand!

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Ken W. Good wrote:

crackchecker wrote:

I did this my first year. I got so many complaints that I changed it after a couple of weeks. It ended up causing more of a traffic problem with people just waiting until the next show started.

Ken

yes pause delays... well they run up the electric bill because everything is burning static... for me I am carefully leveraged between too many lights and my breakers will heat up and trip if I dont keep animating with some off duty time... but I also ran into accumulating even more traffic waiting for next show instead of let them see it as soon as they get there and worked better for us to have continuous shows and rotate visitors thru. Although at the end of a play cycle when going into a 15 min break, this tends to clear out everything but they reaccumulate quickly. Of course if you really want to chase away the crowd periodically... do a sequence to the song "Porky Pig does Bl Bl Blue Christmas"... for me that could take a record crowd and the people just cant get back to their cars and get outta here fast enough... oddly country format Christmas songs seem to have the same effect at my display.

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