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How much does an epic xmas light show like Holdman's cost?


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That is a tough question to ask.

First, Answers like this don't belong. That's "Old School" and has no room here.

"Not to be disrespectful, but if you have to ask, you can't afford it..."

You need to start small. Buy a controller and experiment with it to see if you can sync the lights to the point you are happy with.

I spend on average over ten hours per song to make sure it is exactly the way I want it or it doesn't make to my "production" PC.

After that, the sky is the limit per your budget.

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Curb finds, garage sales, flea markets, asking people for old lights. All these things help reduce the overall costs. DYI items also help. I have no idea my total investment, but I do know it's a less than what is should be -- I'm cheap!

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That is a tough question to ask.

First, Answers like this don't belong. That's "Old School" and has no room here.

"Not to be disrespectful, but if you have to ask, you can't afford it..."

You need to start small. Buy a controller and experiment with it to see if you can sync the lights to the point you are happy with.

I spend on average over ten hours per song to make sure it is exactly the way I want it or it doesn't make to my "production" PC.

After that, the sky is the limit per your budget.

Thanks John! It's definitely something I want to look into doing but I was just wondering what type of budget I'd be looking at. These things look fun to set up and I'm sure they'd be very gratifying after the job is complete :)

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Eric

I agree with John... but in terms of your original question "it is likely to be well past the 5 figure point". Certainly for people in the USA using LOR a large percentage of cost is tied up in controllers as incandescants have been silly cheap in post christmas sales.

Controllers, lights, cords make up most of the monetary costs but the time cost people like Holdman put into sequencing is often incalculable.

I'm based in Australia and the split of cost is different due to high lights cost but my first year i figure cost from 1000 to 1500 with about 80channels (not LOR), second year saw around 2500 spent with around 400 channels. This year (my third) has seen a big jump in spending with around 6K-8K spent so far. light count has gone up about 4000 with the addition of 2500 RGB Pixels and various led strings, channel count has exploded to around 8000, all previous years controllers are being replaced with new ones as well.

Will i have a holdman-esqe display.... No, i just don't have his artistic and sequencing skills, will i have a display i will be proud of, yes. Will the locals like it, i hope so.

Guess my point is.... this is a "hobby" (far better to be called an addiction) that can be as cheap as you make it or the proverbial money pit - black hole.

Cheers

Aussiephil

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I just went to LOR this year. I have 64 ch and I have spent $4500 on the LOR stuff, cods, pvc, zip ties, sub panels. It all adds up so fast. It's also not just about the money...it takes a lot of time.

But don't forget those smiling faces that you will get in return! They are PRICELESS :)

We could make a Master Card commercial here, because we all know that we probably have our Master Cards maxed out right about now ;)

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I'm a complete newbie when it comes to christmas light shows, but I've been itching to ask this question for awhile: How much money does it usually cost to put on an epic light show like Holdman's? It doesn't exactly have to be his - it can be any epic project you've worked on.

Part of Holdman's success is what he is putting his lights on. That house is beautiful and would be distinct for a Christmas display I hate to say it no matter who decorated it. When he moved to the other location, he made up for things bygoing on a massive scale, covering several trees along 1000 ft of road frontage it seems. In any case, a well funded budget, good eye and talent have made for a fantastic display. Its organized, free of clutter, no excess wireframes, blow molds or inflatables almost is a significant part of Holdman's success.

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Not to be disrespectful, but if you have to ask, you can't afford it...

To have a Holdman display, you have to have a Holdman Home. I would put that in the 6 figures easily.

oh, you mean the LOR, LEDs and everything else? About the price of a new car.

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A couple people have sort of attempted to spell this out... but I figured, why not look at Richard Holdman's site for his specifics and draw something up for an "epic" display....

He said he has 200+ channels, let's say 224, which is a total of 14 Lightorama controllers. Those controllers typically cost around $200 with an enclosure, assembled, during the sales, so that is $2800

He said he has 150,000 lights total and he doesn't use LEDs. He has as bunch of C9's on his roof, but let's just assume that the 150k lights is 1500 strands of minis. Average price of a string of mini lights is typically $2 a string, so that is $3000

He said he has 7000 feet of extension cords. Let's assume that an average 50 foot 16AWG extension cord costs around $8. You would need 140 of them, so that is $1100 (I like round numbers)

He has nine of the twig/stick trees. Those are typically $50 each, so that is $500 (again, round numbers)

He has somewhere around 20 snowflakes in the display. At the cheapest those are $20, sometimes upwards of $40 depending on size. Let's say that is $600 (split the difference)

He has somewhere around 20 strobes in his megatree. At $5-6 each, that is another $100

He had said that he has 21 GFCI outlets that everything plugs into. If you are like most people and don't have that many outlets, you have to add them. At probably $150 an outlet, that is $3000

Now, the rest of the stuff he made (the leaping arches, the famous Holdman star, the megatree). If you can't make stuff, you have to buy them. The megatree kits are $250 plus another $100-150 in pipe, etc. So that is $400.

Ok, so let's add it up...

$11,500

There you have it.... Get your check book out!

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Will I started five years ago with a home made relay system with somewhere around $100.00 in then I change to LOR with 16 channels then to 144 and now over 300 and it has cost me will lets see:

two cars, one beach condo, 50% of two business, 50% of my retairment, attorneys fees, court cost and oh the wife and cat, just kidding wife is with me 100%.

Really one fact you must always keep in mind if married and want to stay that way is you both need to set a budget as to how much you want to spend each year and stick to it don't over extend yourself and leave the credit cards out of it unless you have made plains to pay in in full when due, and remember your time and share the fun with each other by talking your ideas and plains out.

Edited by Roger
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He had said that he has 21 GFCI outlets that everything plugs into. If you are like most people and don't have that many outlets, you have to add them. At probably $150 an outlet, that is $3000

I'm just curious, how did you arrive at $150 an outlet? I'm seeing GFCI outlets going for $15-$30 depending on some features on Lowes.com.

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I'm just curious, how did you arrive at $150 an outlet? I'm seeing GFCI outlets going for $15-$30 depending on some features on Lowes.com.

Sorry, I was assuming that for that large of a project, one would have them installed professionally (price range I have heard tossed around here before). I didn't throw in some other electrical stuff that probably would have to happen, such as, most people don't have 21 slots open in their main panel to accommodate 21 new GFCI circuits... requiring a subpanel, which is probably $500-1000 installed. Some folks don't have 200A (or higher) electrical service... that upgrade is another $1000 to $2000 depending on your current setup. I was giving a best case scenario ;)

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Sorry, I was assuming that for that large of a project, one would have them installed professionally (price range I have heard tossed around here before). I didn't throw in some other electrical stuff that probably would have to happen, such as, most people don't have 21 slots open in their main panel to accommodate 21 new GFCI circuits... requiring a subpanel, which is probably $500-1000 installed. Some folks don't have 200A (or higher) electrical service... that upgrade is another $1000 to $2000 depending on your current setup. I was giving a best case scenario ;)

I think it is great that you took the time to figure up all of those prices and figures, puts it all into perspective a whole lot better... Of course it is not that bad if you start small and work your way up over the years.... Now, if you are loaded go ahead and start big, it will become a lot easier in years to come :)

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Cost is THE one thing that may keep me from doing this for the long run as My wife is not happy after two years of what I have spent to this point. Always had a pretty good static display in the 20,000 lights range and started with one 16 channel LOR unit two Christmasses ago to get my feet wet. Last year I added three more units and double the lights. With the media coverage we got and having a donation box I felt I had to keep expanding and changing it up to keep people coming back. So. this year I added 3 more units to get to 112 channels and got in on Paul at CDI's early sale and bought close to 15000 LED's. Also opted to order a Moblie Black Box transmitter as my Whole House wasn't getting much beyond a couple houses. With the expected increase in traffic this yaer I want them to be able to hear it at least even if they can't be in front of it for awhile. But EVERYTHING I buy is questioned. I need to get a couple more signs to put in my other neighbors yard so when they are coming down the street from the north end they have instruction. But it all is questioned, so for me it can get as expensive as I want it to be. She was happy with Static, but I knew when Carson Williams house showed up a few years back during NFL games I HAD to go that route!! But that was a huge reason why I was truely looking forward to spending some time with Andrew Albertson in Chicago, to change things up and keep them interesting even in the years I can't afford to add anything. I'm also trying to get some corporate sponsors to help with the cost of building elements. etc.

Lenny

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I think it is great that you took the time to figure up all of those prices and figures, puts it all into perspective a whole lot better... Of course it is not that bad if you start small and work your way up over the years.... Now, if you are loaded go ahead and start big, it will become a lot easier in years to come :)

I agree with you 100% on starting slow. My first year (2005) I bought two controllers during the sale (along with the software). I have been lucky enough to add a couple of controllers per year since then, but I couldn't imagine having done it all at once... no way that would fly... my car was not much more than that!

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A couple people have sort of attempted to spell this out... but I figured, why not look at Richard Holdman's site for his specifics and draw something up for an "epic" display....

He said he has 200+ channels, let's say 224, which is a total of 14 Lightorama controllers. Those controllers typically cost around $200 with an enclosure, assembled, during the sales, so that is $2800

He said he has 150,000 lights total and he doesn't use LEDs. He has as bunch of C9's on his roof, but let's just assume that the 150k lights is 1500 strands of minis. Average price of a string of mini lights is typically $2 a string, so that is $3000

He said he has 7000 feet of extension cords. Let's assume that an average 50 foot 16AWG extension cord costs around $8. You would need 140 of them, so that is $1100 (I like round numbers)

He has nine of the twig/stick trees. Those are typically $50 each, so that is $500 (again, round numbers)

He has somewhere around 20 snowflakes in the display. At the cheapest those are $20, sometimes upwards of $40 depending on size. Let's say that is $600 (split the difference)

He has somewhere around 20 strobes in his megatree. At $5-6 each, that is another $100

He had said that he has 21 GFCI outlets that everything plugs into. If you are like most people and don't have that many outlets, you have to add them. At probably $150 an outlet, that is $3000

Now, the rest of the stuff he made (the leaping arches, the famous Holdman star, the megatree). If you can't make stuff, you have to buy them. The megatree kits are $250 plus another $100-150 in pipe, etc. So that is $400.

Ok, so let's add it up...

$11,500

There you have it.... Get your check book out!

Bah Humbug! Seems kind of cold. Accurate, but cold. Where's the Spirit Factor?? :D

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Seriously. All I know how to do is plug into an outlet and go. There's no way I will ever be able to get as complicated as you all make it sound. I get a kick out of it when you all talk about how "easy" it is to do these displays. I have absolutely NO knowledge of how to do it. I have NO idea what it means to have 224 "channels". What's a channel? I run one extension cord out of my house, and another one out of my garage. I put about 6 strands in each. Beyond that, I have NO idea how to expand. :( I suppose if I ever wanted to go to the next level, I would need to bring in an electrician and have him tell me what I need, and also pay him to do it.

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