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  • The oldest artificial Christmas trees date back to the late 1800s and were made of green raffia (think grass hula skirts) or dyed goose feathers. Next the Addis Brush Company used their machinery that wove toilet brushes to create pine-like branches for artificial Christmas trees that were less flammable and could hold heavier decorations.
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  • Santa Claus's sleigh is led by eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder (variously spelled Donder and Donner), and Blixem (variously spelled Blixen and Blitzen), with Rudolph being a 20th-century inclusion.
  • Outdoor Christmas lights on homes evolved from decorating the traditional Christmas tree and house with candles during the Christmas season. Lighting the tree with small candles dates back to the 17th century and originated in Germany before spreading to Eastern Europe.
  • That big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard didn’t always look that way. Prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. When Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, Santa was a small elflike figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, changing the color of his coat from tan to the red he’s known for today.
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jeffostroff

My Video: How to retrofit a Presto Tater Twister to help wrap Leaping Lights Archess

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I finally got around to completing my high definition how to video that shows you how to retrofit a tater twister appliance to help you automatically wrap your Christmas lights into a leaping light arch, or a light pole, or any other type of fixture that might require wrapping strings of lights around. Here is the link to the video. If for some reason it does not appear in high def, then click the HD button on the video while it's playing:

Here's a few photos I took last year to give you an idea of what I did.

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Edited by jeffostroff

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Nice improvement on my design. I had a guy thank me off ebay because he had a lot of these and he started selling them like crazy to Christmas people like ourselves.

I have the same camera as you and your video looks pretty sharp. What video editing software do you use and what format to you output to upload to Vimeo.

-Richard

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Richard:

I'm using Sony Vegas studio 9 Pro. When I render the videos for output, they are saved as a high definition MP4 file. I created a template in the render portion of Vegas studio, and saved it off using my own custom settings:

The main settings recommended by Vimeo:

1. H.264 - Select the Sony AVC encoder in Vegas

2. 1280x720 - set as a Custom Frame Size

3. 3000-5000 kbits/sec - bit rate in Vegas will show as 3,000

I originally chose these settings as they came the closest to Vimeo's requirements. Turns out it works awesome for YouTube as well. When you upload the high def video, you are sending Youtube an MP4 file, which they convert to flash, and it takes about an hour to upload and an hour for them to process the video.

I had actually mentioned this last year in a post, here are the exact steps to take in Sony Vegas studio:

The very first time you render a movie in Sony Vegas, you can set this up:

1) Go to Project > Render As

The rendering Dialog box asks you for some info, just give it the file name. I called mine HD VImeo Template.

.

In the "Save As type" field, I tell it save it as Sony AVS (MP4).

Then I hit the Custom button, to enter all my custom settings so the video will be in a high def format that Vimeo is expecting to see, which will guarantee me the best quality on Vimeo.

So after I hit the custom button and I'm on the custom template screen, I make sure I

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Very informative video. I liked the part where you had trouble getting the hole started, then the video cut magically to where it was just about finished :) I did the same thing with my mega-tree video -- I was going to video us hoisting it up, but we had issues, so you see us starting, then one cut later, magically it was up. I had to edit out all the grumbling and venting to my wife that otherwise would have been on there ;)

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