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  • 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 sielbear

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 12/12/1978

Profile Information

  • Location
    Franklin, TN
  • Biography
    Started the outdoor lighting October 2008 and have been addicted since. When I'm not preparing for the next Christmas display, I'm a small business owner of an IT Management company. We provide strategic technology guidance for small and medium businesses as well as day-to-day operations of remote networks.
  • Interests
    Snow Skiing, electronics, wakeboarding, Titans fan,
  • Occupation
    Owner of Safe Network Solutions
  • About my display
    The display has grown from 32 channels the first year to 208 channels the second year. I use 2 D-Light controllers and 11 LOR controllers along with the LOR2 software. The display features 4 leaping arches, 18' megatree, 14 outlined windows, 9 artificial trees, 6 mini trees, and wrapped trees.

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  1. The O Holy Night is by Becoming the Archetype? I probably listen to music for 20 hours each spring to find about 20-30 potential songs. I put a lot into finding music that appeals to a wide range of people. I probably don't always nail it perfectly, however, I do make it a point to talk to lots of visitors. This is probably the first year where I've received compliments equally from young and old. I run an after hours show with very slow selections. The lights BARELY fade just to give them "life". I use Jessie Kol's Away in a manger and Mannheim's stille nacht. I saw all my neighbors kept theirs lights on till 3-4 AM, so I do the same with my after hours show. I'm always surprised who comes by to watch the after hours show. I've seen cops on patrol stop briefly, families who get out of their car and sit quietly on the sidewalk in front of the house, and other random visitors. It seems like the mix this year reaches all audiences, whether Christmas has any spiritual meaning to them or not. For me, I think that's part of the challenge I enjoy each year- reaching the unreachable. Thank you for the compliments! (null)
  2. Been a while since I've been as active on this forum as I'd like. It's been a wild year trying to prepare for the show this year. I've posted videos in the past, so I thought I'd pass along this year's show vids. The quality isn't perfect as the RGB nodes are just so bright it's hard to capture accurate color information without a fixed aperture camera. At the time, I don't have that available to me. http://www.liptonlights.com/Pages/2012Videos.aspx Hope you all are off to a wonderful lighting season!!
  3. Too funny! I had the same problem this year. I snagged a security cam pic of the car and wrote a blog post about it. I made it humorous (I think) and just rolled with it.
  4. I have another post in the synchronized displays where I have more detail. You had asked about it looking like a movie in the windows. I created all of my sequences this year based on custom videos I created for the show. If you imagine the visualizer as the tv screen, if you were to play a video on top of where your lights were drawn, you could automate the intensity and color of your display elements based on where they appear in the visualizer. Every element in the display this year was automated in this fashion with the exception on some songs where I manually animated the snowflakes, Bethlehem star, and megatree star.
  5. For the windows, that is a project that evolved over the last 3 years. Initially I started by measuring my windows and making custom pegboard panels that fit tightly inside every window. I made 15 of these panels. To that, I glued in several hundred (red, green, and clear lights) lights in every pegboard. The holes in pegboard was just the right size for mini lights. This year, I added a lot of pixelnet nodes to the show. The pixelnet allows individual control of each individual bulb. I can mix color and brightness. To make the windows (and I'll be posting pictures soon), I took some rectangular nodes and glued them to the pegboard where they were centered in each pane of glass. Lastly, I removed all of the mini lights (so painful after all the work to glue them in!!!!) and I put a white shower curtain against the windows. Do you hear what I hear? Was done by Anthem Lights on "The Essential Christmas Collection." I was passing out candy canes and one of the guests said, "Nice music selection... I like the Do You Hear What I Hear!" I said, "Yeah, I think that's my favorite this year. It's by Anthem Lights." He said, "Yeah... They are on my record label. You used Barlow Girl last year. she's on my label too." I said, "Hmmm... I'm hoping it's a good sign you didn't give me a hard time for it last year?" "No worries. You aren't making money off this display and your collecting money for charity. Can you imagine the bad press we'd get for giving you a hard time!" Oh Come Emmanuel is by August Burns Red. Fair warning, I sliced and diced it to be the length I wanted. I cut out some of the really heavy metal parts as it was a little harder than some of my audience would like... I think it has 8-10 cut points in it...
  6. This is a really great sequence. You really complimented the beauty of the music with the lights. "From night to day" and the lights changed from red to green... Really wonderfully done!
  7. Look what's required to secure mega trees in the lawn before getting too far along on the roof idea. Also look at what's required to secure a Holdman star to the roof. I don't want to unnecessarily scare you from doing it, but many members have had mega trees go down in strong winds. I now use 48" rebar driven approximately 38" in the ground. I also use a 72" fence post stake to keep the center post from moving. Lastly, the emt conduit must be staked in a few places to keep the lights straight / tensione at the base. Also consider that if a mega tree blows off a roof as opposed to falling down, the mega tree may no longer pose a cleanup challenge for you... It may be in your neighbor's living room! I see some unique challenges with securing a mega tree to a roof. I'm sure you'll get some good ideas from this group. Just keep the challenges in perspective. Short of penetrating your roof, I'm at a loss for really securing this beast. I'll be following this thread closely!
  8. My first year I added a couple of circuits to the garage. My second year I increased to 24 circuits- 8 20 amp and 16 15 amp. For the 15 amp addition, I added two mobile sub panels. The sub panels use 50 amp 220v range plugs to feed the circuit boxes. 1. If / when I move, the new owners will definitely worry about Frankenstein bodies roaming the property. "Who needs this much power in their garage?!?" 2. I'm embarrassed to admit that we converted all major appliances to gas. Now, they were over due for replacement, but we're gas for heat, hot water heater, oven and stove, and dryer. As led lights increases in use, the days of adding such craziness to run a display will end soon... It's like a right of passage is being removed as a requirement to run 100,000 lights...
  9. I've gone uber low tech. 18" rebar in the ground. Zip tie through the security hole on the size of the LOR box to the rebar. If I had a real security issue I'd do more, but so far, I've not had any issues. This also helps ensure the box stays closed during the season - with some of the rain we've received this year, it's worked well. I do pay a little more attention to the boxes further from the house. For the boxes right next to the house, I didn't even use rebar this year. I just propped them up against the house behind the shrubs. If they come wandering in the yard far enough to get the boxes, 1.) My dogs WILL let me know and 2.) I'll have their face on camera from MULTIPLE sides... Again, if I had reason to suspect people wanted to take the controller boxes, I'd put more time and energy into securing them. I guess some big HIGH VOLTAGE signs on the boxes might also help secure them. Along with the Babe Ruth idea... Side note - years ago, I witnessed a hilarous event when someone played a prank on some friends. Was at a hotel resort - one of those lazy river things that people just float in. He unwrapped the Baby Ruth candy bar and set it adrift towards his friends. Talk about JUMPING out of a pool! I'm not sure I've ever laughed that hard in my life!
  10. That really is an impressive display of pixel nodes / control. I'm curious what they used to playback the show... With my 4166 nodes, I push a little over 1 Mb per second. Compressed HD is what? Between 3-6 Mb? That's like streaming HD in pixel data. Very, very impressive indeed. I really liked the "snow" at the end... Just amazing!
  11. Jason- For the stepped fades you're seeing, it looks like you're seeing the stair stepped issue when using DMX on your LOR boxes, but not when using LOR native protocol on your LOR boxes - am I correct? We aren't talking about the E680 / E681 controllers with the issue, correct? I wonder if what you're seeing is the actual "digital" stair step of the 8-bit output in DMX. I'm supposing that the LOR protocol may have a smoothing process occurring in the output stage of the controller? When operating in DMX mode, I bet that's not possible, so you're actually seeing DMX values changing, for instance, between 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, etc. over a slow fade. If that is the case, you'd get the results you're describing - no change with faster refresh rates, and worse performance with slower refresh rates. I've noticed the same thing driving a couple of LED strands using DMX on the LOR boxes this year. I also see it in the pixel nodes I'm running as well using the smart string controllers, etc. It's not "bad", but I'd love to get smoother fades on the LED lights at the lower end of the brightness scale, but some larger changes on the higher end of the brightness scale.
  12. Very cool suggestion for the Abyss, and a very safe suggestion. I'd be tempted to go the Abyss route or the "bridge look" by putting up rails on each side of the street, perhaps with a sign or something related to the bridge crossing. I'd be worried about any number of things happening with a temporary item in the road. Cars starting and stopping, turning the steering wheels, and driving too fast are things outside of your control. With relatively little movement from the protective item, you can quickly wear the insulation off of the lights - if metal is used as the bridge crossing, you've got the potential for some really bad outcomes. I am a huge supporter of pushing the envelope with display effects, etc., however, there are times when the decisions of others should be considered. Perhaps others chose not to forge ahead because it was too risky. not because they've never throught of it. I'd personally err on the side of pushing the envelope in a more controlled setting, like your yard. Certainly you can't keep a child from running across your display and getting hurt, however, reasonable efforts are made from a safety standpoint to minimize if not eliminate the danger posed from the freak occurence. you KNOW cars will drive across the street (and across the protective device), and unless you're using materials specifically engineered for such abuse, you're not taking the same precautions you are in your own yard. I think it's a really risky endeavor you're taking on. Not just from a monetary standpoint, but seriously - how awful would it be to have something like that happen. Read the posts about fender benders happening in the street outside of some of these displays. The owners of the displays feel bad when that happens, and they are pretty far removed from monetary liability in those scenarios. (I had an accident outside my house a couple of nights ago - no injuries - driver just wasn't paying attention and backed into a limo. I hate it happened, but I know I've not altered the road, traffic signals, lighting, etc. in place in the neighborhood.) Eh - my advice is worth what you paid for it! Merry Christmas whichever choice you make!
  13. I've got a similarly sized show to dave in terms of pixels, but I'm using 2,250 - 2,800 timing marks per song. LSP died when trying to export those files to LOR. Ultimately I chopped my show up into 30 second clips, exported to LOR (which created 200 MB files of 30 seconds of sequence), did some script processing on them, converted to xlights format, and combined everything back together. It's painful, but it's doable. I will be posting a complete workflow for how I did it this year. Unless the software improves dramatically in 2012, I'll be using the same workflow for next year!
  14. I have around 5,000 channels running this year, and like Aussiephil, I had a real challenge getting the show to do what I wanted. While I had 5,000 channels, I also had anywhere from 2,250 to 2,800 timing marks at 5,000 channels per song. Ultimately I had to break my show up into 30 second chunks, process the heck out of it with external scripts, and play it back with xlights. My 30 second LOR files were 200 MB in size each and my entire show in LOR format was 9.4 GB, not counting wav files. That was only 32 minutes of show when subtracting repeated songs. The end result has been amazing, but it was a STEEP learning curve. Now that I have some work arounds in place, the question will be 1.) what size pieces will I need to use for next year and 2.) what improvements will be done on the software side to facilitate the use of higher and higher channel counts. The hardware is just so far ahead of conventional sequencing software that there are some serious challenges when going beyond a couple of thousand channels / timing marks. Luckily there are some amazing members of the lighting community who have been extremely helpful in overcoming these challenges.
  15. I had a pretty funny experience last night - it's not the first time it's happened, but it's the first time I really got a good laugh out of it. I was handing out candy canes - it was relatively calm at the time, perhaps 8:45 at night. I was going from vehicle to vehicle talking with the guests and answering any questions they might have. I've got myself into a habit now of looking to see how many candy canes I have left in my basket as I approach the next car. I had run out a couple of days ealier and one poor kid didn't get a candy cane! Ah! (Luckily I had a backup supply of peppermints - not a candy cane, but the sadness went away!) I had made it to all of the cars in the turnaround, cleaned out the donation box as it was getting full, and made one last loop to pick up a couple of cars I didn't remember seeing when I first made the rounds. I got to the last car and I just couldn't make out where the driver was... nor the passenger... I knew the car couldn't have been there for very long, plus the engine was still running... I could just barely make out through the tinted windows some extra curricular activities going on! I can't let something like that go, so I had to blog about it. I did change the posting time and day as I don't know the background of my visitors, nor do I wish to cause undue stress or strain for someone caught up in the moment. At the same time... come on! At any moment 20 cars could pull in! Here's my write-up about it on the blog for anyone who's interested... (It's the second post as of today - click read comments to see the entire post, complete with intentionally fuzzy / poor quality security camera shot...) At the very least, I was entertained! http://liptonlights.com/Blog.aspx (BTW, FINALLY got the node control working on the show. I do not have new videos posted yet, but I'm now officially running 5,000 channels of control and I couldn't be happier with the results!)
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