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About csmith

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  1. Just wanna say hello Chuck

  2. Learn how to use the new "Promote to Article" feature to copy a post to the articles section.
  3. csmith

    Latest Topics

    This video shows how to create a latest topics block, showing the full post, and then adding that block to a new page.
  4. This video shows off some of the user interface you can expect to see in the article management area of the ACP.
  5. Behind the scenes, your techies have been struggling with the constant updates coming from the vendor supplying the PlanetChristmas forums software. Every update seems to fix one problem while generating new ones. According to the vendor's official website, they still have 1300 bugs to resolve, down from 1700 a year ago at this time. We are seeing improvements but it appears glacial at times. Enough! The PlanetChristmas Forums will soon be changing the underlying infrastructure to another vendor. All existing posts and accounts will be migrated to the new platform. The functionality you're used to is the same though some of the terminology has changed. I expect some inconvenience, but it will be worth it to stabilize our forums and allow us a steady platform for growth. As for me, I can't wait to start moving forward after treading water for a year. What can you expect during the transition? There will be a 24 hour window where the current forums will be out of service while all the data is transitioned to the new platform. The forums will then reopen and you'll pick up where you left off... with many new new options available. Worried? Don't be. We've been through this before. Just for the record: I had a full head of hair when the PlanetChristmas forum was first opened in 1996 More to come so please stay tuned.
  6. No need to worry about the "humble enthusiasts"... there will be plenty to do and learn for everyone in Gatlinburg. The schedule on the website was written last summer... almost a year before the event so it was a bit tough putting the right spin on things. The goal was to get people to at least put the date on their 2011 calendar Remember pros and enthusiasts have plenty to learn from each other. The website is due for an update in a couple of weeks. One of several sessions we'll be adding is called "As Seen on TV" where we hope to bring in many of the people you've seen on the various Christmas specials over the years. You'll learn how they got picked, what it was like to be followed by a TV camera and how their life has changed since the show was aired on national television. Not quite like American Idol but I prefer to think PlanetChristmas decorators are just as talented in a different kind of way. Pointers heard in this session will help you when the local TV stations come calling as word gets out about your display. There will be sessions on indoor decorating, lasers, incorporating videos, next-gen Christmas lights and more. Stay tuned!
  7. RGB: Red Green Blue. Think of a single bulb with these three colors built in... mix the colors and produce just about any color in the visible lighting spectrum. RGB based LEDs are coming on strong. The dream of many light fanatics is to have a string of lights where any bulb can be told to be any color at anytime. Imagine the possibilities! Philips Color Kinetics pioneered this idea several years ago with their iColor Flex nodes, but gosh were they ever expensive. Now we're seeing other manufacturers getting interested and the prices are dropping. What's the biggest challenge besides the cost? Think control. Every bulb needs three channels to control the intensity of red, green and blue. That 100 light string suddenly needs 300 control channels. That megatree with 3200 lights needs 9600 control channels. My head is already starting to hurt imagining a 9600 channel sequencing grid. Ouuuuucccchhhhh! Are RGBs in your future? If not yet, they will be. Let's talk about them here so we all can be on that bloody cutting edge of technology and dazzle our audiences!
  8. The PlanetChristmas community self-moderates. What in the world does self-moderate mean???? I rely on everyone to follow our three fundamental rules: family friendly, positive and Christmas centric. Anyone should feel comfortable allowing their six year old child or 100 year old mother to wander around PlanetChristmas and the forums. If you see a post violating any of our three rules before I do, please send me a private message (at the upper right of this page underneath the buttons) or high priority email at [email protected] and I will address the issue. PlanetChristmas has zero tolerance for rule breakers. Violators will lose all rights with no notification.
  9. Merry Christmas, Chuck. Thank you for making ours merry, too. i really appreciate all you have done for us and the rest of the Christmas decorators. Darlene Pino

  10. Let's be careful here. No pirate CDs are allowed at PlanetChristmas. We pay for what we use. Everyone needs to make a living.
  11. PlanetChristmas is hear to help every day of the year. Congratulations on a job well done!
  12. TYM In the very early days of my display there wasn't much traffic. Then I dropped a hint to my mother she come watch what I had done. Within a few days traffic really picked up. Tell Your Mother. She'll inform everybody as she brags about her kids Now that I thnk about it... the traffic picked up the closer it got to Christmas... no doubt just a coincidence
  13. DANGER WILL ROBINSON! Evil is not what we do. As tempting as it might be to punish the bad guys for messing with Christmas displays, leave that to law enforcement. They wear the bullet-proof vests. Signs and bright lights are the best deterrent.
  14. An artist is never satisfied with their work Sequencing lights to music is a bit like learning the piano. You can play a very simple tune quickly (I'm exceptionally talented at "Mary had a little lamb") but it takes years of practice, hard work and perseverance to find and take advantage of the instrument's nuances you hear when a great artist performs the same thing. If this was easy, everyone would do it. What's the key to a great show? Don't wait until the last minute. Practice your craft year-round.
  15. One of my tricks is to video the synchronized display initially using just the camera microphone...you can quickly move the camera around for different angles without having to worry about extra radios, wires, etc. Edit your final video keeping everything in sync with the field recorded audio. When done, mute the field audio track and add another track of the same music your synchronized show is using. Now you have great video with perfect audio. Another hint: cutaway shots don't have to be in perfect sync with the final audio... the viewer has already figured out the lights flash with the music and the cutaway breaks the monotony of just one long shot. Word to the wise: editing video can become a black hole of time... but it sure is fun!
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