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Did you know?
  • The original Rudolph did not have a red nose. In that day and age, red noses were seen as an indicator of chronic alcoholism and Montgomery Ward didn’t want him to look like a drunkard. To complete the original picture, he was almost named Reginald or Rollo.
  • The Christmas wreath was originally hung as a symbol of Jesus. The holly represents his crown of thorns and the red berries the blood he shed.
  • The three traditional colors of most Christmas decorations are red, green and gold. Red symbolizes the blood of Christ, green symbolized life and rebirth, and gold represents light, royalty and wealth.
  • Tinsel was invented in 1610 in Germany and was once made of real silver.
  • 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.
  • ‘Jingle Bells’ – the popular Christmas song was composed by James Pierpont in Massachusetts, America. It was, however, written for thanksgiving and not Christmas.
  • Coca-Cola was the first company that used Santa Claus during the winter season for promotion.
  • Hallmark introduced their first Christmas cards in 1915.
  • The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on that day.
  • 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.
  • Christmas 2018 countdown has already begun. Will you be ready???
  • Why do we love Christmas? It's all about the traditions. In this chaotic world we can miss the "good old days." Christmas reminds us of that time.


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About MikeZ

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    Senior Member
  • Birthday 01/30/1964

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  • Location
    Sherman Oaks, California, USA
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  1. Great job! It looks very realistic and has a magical look to it! And when it comes to storage, parking in a garage is so overrated!
  2. Chris, I have snowflakes on my roof as well and I put together a simple "how-to" on my blog http://lightsondispl...roof-stand.html, describing how I propped them up and secured them. My roof line is pretty shallow so I needed a method to get them propped up a bit. Hope this helps.
  3. I've been using video with my display since 2006, first with Animated Lighting and last year with LOR. Here's last year's display for reference http://www.lightsond...y.com/2011.html . You can look back over the years to see some of the content in previous screens. The video and audio track, which is a WMV file, substitutes for your mp3 in the grid. I first program with the mp3 and then replace it with the wmv when finished. I believe you need the top level of LOR to use video. You'll also need an extra display card on your computer to send out the video signal to your projector. My card and projector are fairly old, so I use an s-video line to feed the projector. My card feeds my computer monitor and the projector. I need to deactivate the internal display card to get it to work and play with a few settings, but it's been rock solid ever since. The video will always remain in sync, just like a music file, as the display routine plays. I turn on the projector with a universal Pronto remote that has a timer control built in. I create most of my content using Apple's Motion and Final Cut Pro. I animate the clip art in Motion and edit all of the elements in FCP, along with some purchased stock footage and home movies. I also use a circular matte to keep the image from spilling over my wreath's edges. The wreath was made out of PVC and I use a rear projection material from http://dazian.com/cg...d=165&cat_id=50 . It's rather pricey, but it's held up well over the years and it's allows for a great image. I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any more questions.
  4. Jeff, it's actually two PVC octagons spaced apart. I sprayed it Hunter Green and wrapped it with the pine garland. I flared out the garland in the right spots to give it a round shape. The screen is a rear screen material purchased from here http://dazian.com/cgi-bin/page.pl?action=show_style&style_id=346&group_id=165&cat_id=50 . It's held up well over the five year span it's been out there. I used a clip Dazian sells to grab the material and stretch it between the opening. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the build, but I can take some of the back when I break down this year.
  5. I just came across this posting. Thank you Jeff, it was an honor to be up against your great display and part of a challenge between people who share the same passion and hobby as me! Thank you to everyone else for taking the time to vote for your favorite displays this week, it's been a lot fun.
  6. My display is a ten minute show, featuring handmade animatronics and LED lighting, synced to an edited music and video track that changes each year. This year Frosty now plays his guitar, while singing a collection of Christmas songs. Also new this year, Santa and his sleigh and reindeer are soaring high above the display, getting a great view of the show! It's been months of work, and it's now running nightly in Sherman Oaks, CA from 5-10pm through New Year's Day. I hope you enjoy it!
  7. I happened to stumble across this thread. Thank you all for the very kind comments, it really made my day!
  8. Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed them! It's a great idea to start small, and then add on as the years go on. Let me know if you have any questions after you get into the building process.
  9. Thanks Darlene, I'm glad you enjoyed them! It was great to finally meet you!
  10. Mike, Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the classes! It's great to hear that I was able to convey the information in a simple to understand manner. The Santa greetings are a collection of movies that have been zipped into a folder, and should un-stuff when downloaded. You may need an un-stuffing program on your computer to access the files. It's a large file, so allow plenty of time for the folder to download.
  11. I had a great time at the Christmas Expo! A big "Thank You" to all the people that helped make it such a wonderful event filled with the Christmas Spirit! I hung out with some great friends and met a lot of new ones. If you couldn't make it to the classes or forgot the link, you can download my presentations as well as some free "Santa's Symphonies" content for your show at http://www.lightsondisplay.com/expo.html . If you have any questions, post them here or email me at [email protected]
  12. Thanks everyone, I really appreciate it! See you next week!
  13. I use a small Optima projector (http://www.projectorcentral.com/Optoma-EP719.htm) that's pretty bright for my display. Mine's housed indoors, situated behind my rear screen wreath, so it's safe and sound. For your environment I would make sure there's some kind of heat in the box to keep it within temperature specs and dry, once it turns on the heat should probably lower. If the bulb is very cold when it fires up, it might cause it to blow and the moisture is bad for the circuitry. Some kind of space heater with a thermostat might work well.
  14. Mark, thanks again for the very kind words. Darlene, I'm also looking forward to meeting you after all the correspondences over the years. Thank you, hopefully I can present some useful information on how to build or at least get started on building animatronics. See you soon!
  15. I'll be teaching three classes at the expo, composing a great display video, creating a show, and a class on animatronics. In the video class, I'll cover shot selection, as well as shooting and editing techniques that will help bring your display to life on the video screen. The "Show" class will include the elements and techniques that go in to making a display into a "show," from the flowing audio track to additional elements such as synced video and animatronics. The animatronics class will introduce simple building techniques that will help you bring a character to life and add a new element to your display. For some background on what I'll be teaching, check out my display video from last year http://www.lightsondisplay.com/2010.html Please let me know if you have any questions. I'm really looking forward to the expo and meeting a large group of fellow decorating enthusiasts! See you there!
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