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Lil' Joe

Planning First Show For 2012

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So I’ve been going through music and putting together a list of songs I want to tackle for the light show next year. I have 19 songs that I definitely want to try to use. This would make about a 45-46 minute show. I also have a list of 6 songs that I may want to do, but probably will not.

Am I over stretching? I hope not!!! Need help and guidance... Probably looking at tackling 48 to 64 channels.

Definite:

  • Christmas Concerto - Track 7 - The Christmas Trilogy - CD 1 - Trans-Siberian Orchestra - 0:41
  • Christmas / Sarajevo 12/24 - Track 8 - The Christmas Trilogy - CD 1 - Trans-Siberian Orchestra - 3:20
  • Wizards in Winter - Track 4 - The Christmas Trilogy - CD 3 - Trans-Siberian Orchestra - 3:04
  • Mister Santa - Track 7 - A Christmas to Remember - Amy Grant - 2:31
  • Here Comes Santa Clause - Track 1 - Christmas With the Chipmunks - The Chipmunks - 1:46
  • Jingle Bells - Track 3 - Christmas With the Chipmunks - The Chipmunks - 2:39
  • Up On the Housetop - Track 6 - Christmas With the Chipmunks - The Chipmunks - 1:35
  • We Wish You a Merry Christmas - Track 7 - Christmas With the Chipmunks - The Chipmunks - 0:56
  • Over the River and Through the Woods - Track 9 - Christmas With the Chipmunks - The Chipmunks - 1:59
  • Santa Claus Is Comin To Town - Track 13 - Christmas With the Chipmunks - The Chipmunks - 1:47
  • It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year - Track 1 - The Magic of Christmas - Garth Brooks - 2:58
  • Baby Jesus Is Born - Track 5 - The Magic of Christmas - Garth Brooks - 4:00
  • We Need a Little Christmas (Glee Cast Version) - Track 1 - Glee: The Music - The Christmas Album - Glee Cast - 2:44
  • Baby, It's Cold Outside (Glee Cast Version) - Track 4 - Glee: The Music - The Christmas Album - Glee Cast - 2:46
  • Jingle Bells (Glee Cast Version) - Track 9 - Glee: The Music - The Christmas Album - Glee Cast - 2:55
  • Carol Of The Bells - Track 12 - Home Alone - John Williams - 1:25
  • Carol of the Bells - Track 10 - A Fresh Aire Christmas - Mannheim Steamroller - 3:54
  • Kay Thompson's Jingle Bells - Track 3 - Osmond Family Christmas - The Osmonds - 2:33
  • Jingle Bells - Track 2 - Christmas in Space - Pomplamoose - 1:57

Maybe:

  • Bough of Holly - Track 2 - The Christmas Trilogy - CD 2 - Trans-Siberian Orchestra - 4:27
  • First Snow - Track 4 - The Christmas Trilogy - CD 1 - Trans-Siberian Orchestra - 3:58
  • Queen of the Winter Night - Track 8 - The Christmas Trilogy CD - 3 - Trans-Siberian Orchestra - 3:16
  • Wish Listz - Track 18 - The Christmas Trilogy - CD 3 - Trans-Siberian Orchestra - 3:40
  • The Most Wonderful Day of the Year (Glee Cast Version) - Track 5 - Glee: The Music - The Christmas Album - Glee Cast - 2:01
  • 01 Joy To The World - Track 2 - Christmas in the Aire - Mannheim Steamroller - 3:40

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WOW! This is going to be your first year and you are plannning on 48 to 64 channels and 19 to 25 songs. Is that to much real depends on the person, I can say that the first couple years are spent learning a lot of new things and you may be better off planning on doing 3 to 6 songs and 16 to 32 channels at first, then grow from there. You have to keep the fun in it and not let it consume your life. (ok that may to late for that one for a lot of us already).

I just don't want to see you jump in with huge plans then get all stressed trying to make everything work and leave the hobby because is it not fun.

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Thanks for the re-grounding... exactly what I needed! You're right, maybe I'll start with only 32 channels, and grow from there.

I'm really thinking of focusing more on the Chipmonk pieces as a) they're usually shorter, and B) it's easy to pick up the different musical elements for animation.

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WOW! This is going to be your first year and you are plannning on 48 to 64 channels and 19 to 25 songs. Is that to much real depends on the person, I can say that the first couple years are spent learning a lot of new things and you may be better off planning on doing 3 to 6 songs and 16 to 32 channels at first, then grow from there. You have to keep the fun in it and not let it consume your life. (ok that may to late for that one for a lot of us already).

I just don't want to see you jump in with huge plans then get all stressed trying to make everything work and leave the hobby because is it not fun.

Ditto this!

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Well since this is my first year I'll run you through what happened with me!

This time last year I stumbled across this site, I picked up all I could and by Jan 1st was programming my first song to what I thought would be my show - 32 channels. Once I saw a new item I added more, then more, then more, then I got a deal on an extra controller so more, now I sit at 96 LOR and 32 RGB channels. I also just started with the songs I couldn't do without and kept adding down my priority list. I worked on my programing no word of a lie - hours every week all year long! I ended up with 13 songs, 15 voice overs with a talking santa doing the voice overs and 10 non animated Bing Crosby songs! It took me everything to get the programming done with my last song finishing last weekend. One thing you need to remember if your starting out is to be prepared... get into the software right away, get at least one controller as soon as you can so you can test how it really works, figure out your game plan and add a buffer for expansion. If your going to buy lights - Hit all the sales you can then pick up the rest at the pre-sales that CDI is putting on. And buy at least 15-20% extra's. You will want to add more lights to each element then you think. Use your channels wisely.... I would suggest that 4 mini trees are more powerfull then 4 separatley controlled windows on your house. And a Mega tree is a must! It draws attention like nothing else. However one thing I have done this year was concentrate so much on the show I forgot to keep it looking christmasy! So I would suggest keeping that in mind when your building the show! Oh yeah.... have fun!

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I so want LOR but money tells me other Wise ATM so i settled with a Mr. Christmas got it for $30 dollars so to me that was worth it for my first year as i build things for next year and improvise them to work with Mr. Christmas and i know i am getting carried away i ran outta lights and i got boxes of them at first my ideas go far and beyond my capibilities currently but the more i learn from this and a few other sites the more realistic my ideas become. now if only CCR's would get cheaper i am trying to figure out the visualizer for LOr and man it is not easy well at first glance sine thats all i got for now. i want more and more and watching other videos gives me more ideas and my only bad is my house has no front yard and really no back yard Either but i am trying to make the best of what i got and then some..

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I'd say that the best thing to do is start small. I began 4 years ago with 64 channels, 5 songs, 17,150 lights, and I was still scrambling. Oh and I had to have a new 200amp box installed along with six 15amp lines run to control the show. Lets not forget the extension cords, all 64 of them that had to be 60-80' long cause I ran everything to the basement.

I'd definitely go with 2 controllers to start. Max 2 colors on the display elements. I like the way Tremor

... Use your channels wisely.... I would suggest that 4 mini trees are more powerfull then 4 separatley controlled windows on your house. And a Mega tree is a must! It draws attention like nothing else...

I should have done 12 mini trees instead of the 2 channel 6 mini trees I displayed. Would have looked bigger.

Sequencing, as Tremor mentioned above, will overtake your free time faster than you can blink. You have a pretty aggressive song list and sequencing your first year's show will be a challenge. You can pump out the songs, yes, but the quality you put into the sequencing is what will really make the show. My first year "looked nice" but after the second year, I had greatly improved. I'd suggest cutting your list down, and searching the forums for free sequences that people share. It is incredible how much you improve just by seeing how other people do their sequencing.

Remember the fun! My frustration came from trying to "get it all done by X date". Keep it fun. It can become a burden if you let the display take over your life.

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Oh and I had to have a new 200amp box installed along with six 15amp lines run to control the show.

Yeah, upgrading the power will be taking place in January. I've got to upgrade to a 200amp service. And run a few 30-amp lines (as it looks like that's all LOR sells now, or at least all I seem to come across). Eventually, I"ll probably have to run a separate service just for the Christmas lights lol.

I also need to invest in single color lights - most everything I have is multi-color. If I do a mega tree next year, I was going to use the many boxes of c-7 multi's that I got from allthingschristmasandmore.com on the cheap ($5 / 25-count box - commercial grade).

I also need to plan what are all the elements I'm going to have. I can easily see needing one controller dedicated to the Mega Tree - 8 channels for multi's and 8 channels for white. I want to do leaping arches as well, so 8 channels for that. If I start with 32 channels, then that leaves only 8 channels for anything else.

As you can see, there's a lot of swirling going around in my head... need to get my thoughts in order... definitely looking for guidance on where to start there. I figured working on song list to go ahead and get sequencing underway would be the best... but will be hard if i don't know what I'm going to actually sequence lol.

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My arches are 5 channel (I have a very small front yard) so if you want to go less channels and "mirror", you can save some... just a thought. Also, I started my first year with Multi and Clear. It was 2008 after Christmas when I found my supply of red and green incans. My stock of red is nearly out as no one has had any for 2 years :( But, I have picked up multi. I enlisted my mom to help make display elements for next year using the but-load of multi minis. I'll be adding 1/2 pinwheels/fan (kind of a reverse arch) @ 5 channels (500 minis) each. Maybe 8 on the roof and 5 on the ground between my firesticks. Most likely going to mirror the ones on the roof.

Think LONG term. Plan on having those elements and begin sequencing them. If you don't have them ready, don't worry, you can use them next year. And! You'll have the sequence set up for them already. No need to re-work you channel configuration. I did that 2 years ago with my firesticks, but didn't get around to them. I finished them last year AFTER the post-Christmas sales, stored them, then set them up this year!

I have wanted 5 channel control on all my elements since I started. Wish I had programmed that into my LOR visualizer when I started. Setting up the visualizer is EASY with only 2 or 3 controllers. But when you have to start all over again the next year, you must add to it. This process, with over 256 channels, took an entire 8 hour day to complete to my satisfaction. I can say it was worth it since the visualizer is as close to the real thing as possible.

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Arches are cool but if your limiting your Channels and want two arches I would suggest 5-6 channels on one arch and use the same channels to control the second arch... This is called shadowing or sharing channels. It will give the illusion of more channels without chewing up what you have. Also with less channels I would suggest using a smaller arch, somewhere in the 8' range. As for your power needs it sounds like your going incandescent so you will need power! You don't need 30amp plugs because lor 30amp controllers are really just two 15 amp controllers. I suggest 2 -20 amp dedicated circuits for every controller you have. This will be all the power you need.

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2011 was my first year. I began planing DEC2010. I knew exactly what I wanted and began sequencing in Feb. By June I had finished 10 songs and I was done (I mean really I just did not have the will to do anymore, I needed a break). I ended up doing a 64 channel halloween show and that almost set me back on my 96 channel Christmas Show. I was a day late on when I wanted to start it. Then had a week of working out some bugs.

I began with 96 channels because I wanted certain elements. It was confusing at first but I had a lot of help on the LSP forums on how to begin sequencing. I say go for qaulity over quantity. Limit your songs. I could throw together 50 songs if I want to, but it would have been just that, thrown together. Like others have said, mirror some of your channels to get a greater effect. I think I did pretty good for my first year and with the number of channels I had.

http://vimeo.com/33201303

We are here to help, but really cut your song list down and make some really nice sequences.

I like taking on big tasks and enjoyed the challenge of a higher channel count. Next year I plan on adding about 800 channels of RGB. Which is why I went with LSP in the begining because I know myself. I only plan on doing 3 or 4 songs this year, might do more, depends on how hard it is to sequence. So I went from 96 channels my first year and plan on going to about 1000 my next year. Am I a glutton for punishment, who knows, but I know exactly what I want in my display and how I want it to look.

Edited by vvolf27

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As for Power I thought the same thing need 30amp Becouse the LOr are 30amp but all you need is to do is run a dbl pull 20amp breaker with 12/3 wire you will get two LOr controllers per breaker - I just installed Two dbl 20amp breaker ran two 12/3 line and got 4 sets of plugs so i can now power 4 LOR outside under a little roof i built to protect the units once i get them. install the dbl 20amp breaker normally one side is red other is Black ground and white goto the grounding bar, run the length connect black and white to one plug (Two outlet) and other red and white theres Two controllers less wire runing thru the basement and plenty of power for LOR controller unit. I only have 100amp Service in my house it goes to a sub panel which is only a 50amp from that i run my 20amp plugs, got to remember using LOR means ALL your Light's will not be on at the SAme time. and if i want more LOR ( i'm planning on 4 units - planning proberly or might end up with more) but if i do end up with more. then i might work on getting upgraded to 200amp and then switch my 50amp sub to a 100amp sub - lucky for me the wireing between my main and sub is already 10 amp rated old owner messed with wireing and i would say dbl'd or pre planned

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Thanks everyone, this is really helpful.

As far my arches, yeah maybe I'll scale back to 6-channel arches. I was going to have probably around 5 or 6 to go around my front yard. The channels I have for the arches will all be shared.

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I made my arch 6 channel's and it looks good my shooting cross is also 6 channels and my fan is also 6 channels my talking Frosty is 9 channel's my mega tree is 6 channel's my driveway arch is 8 channels and im only thinking one color on each i don't wanna think about multi colrs yet id be out of my power range and would proberly need dbl LOR's so yea it all adds up quick and i also got 5 mini trees a house outline 5 window outlines ill have 3 stars a candy cane pin wheel with 6 channel's and i got 3 frosty wire forms for one channel one small santa with reindeer, star top for the mega tree, thats my planned 64 channel's for the 4 LOR's i plan on getting and preparing for as well. now if i add other solid colors i know i would need more LOR's and i am already laying the visualizer plans down granted with demo but it should help me get ahead a tiny bit. once i figure out the whole thing

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Heres what i would do is go with as many channels as you want. Where its not so fun is the song quanity your shooting for. And yes stick to shorter songs when songs get to 4 plus minutes You aint going to be smiling anymore. Another thing is your going to hear that song OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN! So make sure its one that isnt going to put you in the looney bin! When i seq. I must have listened to the same song thousand times! Lets just say i dont like those songs anymore! lol Yeah like i was saying go big as you can channels wise the problems come into play with the song and the length and how many you want. I start with 3 favorites and if you still have anything left in ya then keep on going. Quality over quanity :) When you finish your first song at 64 channels and your not walking like you have a inner ear infection and feel car sick and sweating bullets. First time i did 100 plus 4 minute song i didnt feel very well at all! One thing to remember this is KEY walk away before you ready for a break When your ready for a break your tired of it and you will put off and put off going back so stop and walk away before you get annoyed with it. Take your time though work sections at a time like mondaay do mini trees all the way across then tuesday megatree all the way across if you wander about you will miss spots. listen to the song a few times before ya start it will come to ya and if it doesnt move on that song aint for you. If ya cant pick up a beat fairly fast you know its gonna be a rough one to do. Theres a lot of songs i wont even touch! lol

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Thanks everyone, this is really helpful.

As far my arches, yeah maybe I'll scale back to 6-channel arches. I was going to have probably around 5 or 6 to go around my front yard. The channels I have for the arches will all be shared.

Exactly! Work your way up from that... little at a time...

Frost n Snow says Quality over Quantity! Agreed 100%

Also, you will do all the sequencing and may find out that it does not look like you want it. You might begin "playing" with the sequences once you have them up. And, if to do videos of the songs, you'll go back and fix everything you don't like about them the next year. I find I'm very picky abou the beets matching EXACTLY where they should (Wizards in Winter lol).

BTW, check and see if you could have 300amp svc added (some power companies will allow a residential svc the high) or find out what the max is... Just a though.

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I agree with FrostNSnow, go with as many channels you want. I certainly did. I have edited down long songs to the 2 minute range. Have fun with it and take breaks. You can still do a lot of smaller aches, just mirror them together. If you go with a higher channel count your first year out you can do it. Maybe 2 Controllers dedicated to your arches and mirror them up to give you a bunch of arches. Only your imagination can stop you in this field. My arches are 20, 3/4 sch 40 pvc that was left over and they are 6 channels each. Like I and FrostNSnow said drop your song count not your channel count and make good quality sequences.

I had a 100 AMP subpanel put in, but I only use LEDs.

EDIT:

If you do your six arches at 6 channels each and mirror them, then 6 x 3 = 18 channels, very doable. If you know what you want, then go for it. You have a lot of help around here, do not be afraid. Getting through your first song you will learn a lot. For me I listen to a song a see in my head what I want to happen, then I make it happen in the sequencer.

Edited by vvolf27

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For power I would try to build it now so you can expand very easy each year. We installed a 50amp outlet outside the used a premade range cord connected to a small electrical panel mounted in a box that gets packed away every year.Each electrical outlet is tied to a dedicated circuit and you can keep adding additional breakers as your display grows.

The one thing about all the infromation everyone gives (including me) pick out the pieces that best fit your display and will not require you to completely change every year you need to add additional items.

And of course always have fun doing it :P

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I second the 50-amp, 220 volt range plug. I run 8 15 amp circuit subpanels on each 50 amp range plug and I'm as happy as can be. Also, LEDs will dramatically change the power consumption. Last year I peaked in current needs - I would peak around 140 amps @ 220V. This year I'm way down as I converted C9s to RGB strands. Don't get me wrong, the lights still flicker in the house, but with everything I've converted to RGB, I'm probably peaking at maybe 100 amps this year.

I would limit the number of songs. This is my fourth year - I always start with 15 - 19 songs that I fall in love with, then I trim back to perhaps 8. I run 3 - 4 voiceovers, shuffled between each song. I also will sometimes have a primary list of songs and a secondary - for a couple of years I would have 10 songs total, 4 songs that would play twice as often as the others. It might be something like:

A1

Neighbors Voiceover

A2

Donation Voiceover

B1

Humor Voiceover

B2

Neighbors Voiceover

A1

Donation Voiceover

A2

Humor / Sponsor Voiceover

B3

Donations Voiceover

B4

Neighbor Voiceover

This helps move cars through - they hear A1 repeat again and move along, but still gives you variety. In my opinion, there are only so many Christmas songs I truly fall in love with each year and think, "I've GOTTA do that song!" When I have a surplus year like this one, hang on to that one for next year. No bonus points for quantity! My wife is instrumental in reminding me of this each year... "You don't need to do 15 songs, honey. Do you really want someone sitting outside our home for an hour? Christmas Eve is busy enough..." Wife 1, Husband 0.

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I saw a show tonight, and they had 2 mega trees where the lights were put on in a spiral. It was awesome! I definitely want one of those lol.

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I was going to do a sprial tree this year, but ran out of time due to my halloween show. So I went with a standard one. Next year I hope to do a 600 pixel 2D tree. 12 strips of RGB leds, very much like the one posted on LOR's website in the CCR section.

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I didn't have time to put up a mega tree this year. I'd like to dig a hole, set a pole base in, then pour concrete about 2' down so it can sit down in the ground 18 inches. It will be a nice foundation; however, I sequenced for one so I'm heading to Lowes after my second final today to pick up some 1/2" PVC. I'm going to loosely wrap a super set of red, green, clear, and blue lights around a 6 or 7' length. Then, I'll drill them to a block of wood at the top. at the bottom I'll use some 2 1/2' 1x2 scraps and make a quick base. Should take about an hour to wrap the lights and 30 minuets to set up. 10 minutes to run the extension cords...

This is what I mean by, "go ahead and plan for your expansions NOW. You never know when you'll find the time to add something."

Also, just a quick thought here. Don't use all your channels... save 2 or 3. Why? Well, if you should happen to have an issue with a channel not working correctly (stuck on/bad triac) then you'll be able to easily modify without much trouble. You'd just adjust the channel property in the Sequence Editor. Then as you really get into this hobby, maybe plan to have 1 extra controller that is ready go, in the event that you have one NOT work. This was a show-saver this season as I have a controller that would not operated on 2 individual 15amp power lines. It kept tripping the GFCI so I connected the jumper wire and hooked it up as a single 15amp controller. I still don't know why it's acting that .way but thankfully I was ready for the problem and had the extra controller to solve the problem.

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Joe

Let me join everyone else and welcome you here. The other folks here have given you good advice so I won't repeat what they've already said. You have to do some self evaluation. How much time do you have to devote to this? You just have no idea how long everything can take. Simple things will take much longer then you can guess. I spent just about every Saturday in the summer wrapping lights for one large driveway leaping arch. Then when I tried it out in Sept it broke and had to be redone. Just handling the 29 foot long arch was a challenge. It was broken into 4 sections but was still very heavy. How much frustration can you deal with? Most people find themselves reaching a point where they wonder why they ever started. Even in my third year I always reach a point where I say, "I'll never do this again." How about your budget? Getting started in this hobby is expensive. THis hobby requires so mamy different kinds of skills it's a amazing. A creative bent is helpful, an eye for color and beaury, Electrical wiring, carpentry, metal work, computer skils, I started out simply animating the same static display I had put out for years. The first year I just did one controller with 16 channels. The next year I went to 32 channels and used other people's sequences. This year I added another controller and make my first attempt to tweak other people's sequences. My advice is to start slowly. There is a huge learning curve and at 3 years, I'm still on the lower end of it. One final thought: It it a great hobby and even though people will laugh at you in July when you're thinking about Christmas, they will "oooh" and "ahhh" over your show in December and bring their kids to see it!.

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Li'l Joe, congrats on the excitement. I was there. This is my first year with LOR. I have 32 channels controlling 12,000 LEDs running 6 songs and a 30 second closer. The show runs about 22-23 minutes. Great traffic flow for my first year. I agree with the senior members - quality not quanity. I am running 10 4' mini trees, 1 15' megatree with a spiral setup overlay, several small trees, icycles, and a few bannister and wall lights. I shared channels for a few of the misc. trees in order to keep my channel count down. LOR has a couple of sequences available on their website ( Sarejevo is one of them ) already sequenced. You can get them as free downloads which works great for seeing how the sequencing should look. A super assistant for newbies like ourselves. I hope to get videos posted soon. I am already planning on adding 2 more boxes for a total of 64 channels in 2012. I wish you the best and hope you do the same for me.LOL Remeber this- if it ain't fun when your doing it, you wont enjoy it when it is done. Merry Christmas.

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It would be better to have fewer songs and really work on your sequencing. Most people are not going to sit out there for 45 mins and watch the entire show. My shows are around 10-12 mins.

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