Less Than 3 Weeks To Go

Time is ticking! There are now under 3 weeks left until I need to begin setting up the lights, cables, computer, etc.

In terms of those ‘leaping features’, I do not think they will be in this year’s display. I haven’t settled enough on how many arches I need and how big they should be, so I’d rather put it off and get it right.

I am nearly done with sequencing the lights to this year’s soundtrack. The opening night track is all done, as well as three regular songs. The fourth song is about a 30% complete.

New Lights Are Here, DMX Tests Underway

The new green LED lights arrived sooner than expected just last week. I was not expecting to get the lights until mid September, however they have now been labelled and put away for a few months. I did take a few photographs of them though!

Initial tests of running the ‘Light-O-Rama’ branded controllers with DMX seem to work reasonably well, though I did experience some technical difficulties with ‘access’ errors a couple of times. What I concluded was that the software must be trying to control the lights more than once (think of it like two or more people trying to drive the same car).

Regarding the webcam, I’m expecting that it should be functioning again around early to mid October. By then the ‘show’ computer that drives the lights and music will be in place in a new spot that should hopefully make managing the webcam possible as well as running the show.

Mid-Year Update

2009 marks the tenth year of decorating, and this year’s display is well into the planning stages with two songs completely sequenced and a third one to follow shortly. All up, there will be four songs in total (not including intermission, opening or closing tracks).

I am pleased to say that the talented Carrie Lyn Infusion single titled Suite Christmas Rush will again be in the playlist this year. The song can be purchased for personal use on the CDBaby website for just US$1.

To keep the suspense I will not be naming the other songs just yet – you will have to check back closer to showtime.

At this stage I am thinking this year (2009) will be the last year that I try to do things ‘bigger and better’ for some time. I would like to continue doing a display each year, but just not on such a massive scale due to the amount of time it takes to get things right.

Also, the webcam is currently down and has been for quite a while. The situation is that the Windows XP driver for my capture card (WinFast TV2000 XP Expert) is incompatible with a new computer causing blue screen of death errors every couple of days. So until a fix can be found or a new capture card can be installed, I’ll have to keep the webcam offline – sorry.

New Lights Order Submitted

This is just an update to say that I have submitted my order for new lights this year. Most of them will be green LEDs, although I also will be adding a small amount of additional blue and white LEDs as well. Cost of new lights will be around $850 AU.

I expect expenditure for the year will be in the low to mid $1000’s with the possible addition of a DMX controller and necessary extension cords.

Videos Online & Recent Rain

Two videos have now been uploaded of this year’s Christmas display. They can be found in the 2008 videos section of the website. A third video will follow later in the month.

Also, over the last two days the display has not been running to its full potential due to bad weather. The same bad weather is expected to hang around again tonight.

Tomorrow is forecast to have a clearing shower, so let us hope the display can run to its full potential from tomorrow night.

Gremlins Sorted .. I Think

Until recently, the display was not running correctly due to various problems such as power loads and miscellaneous computer issues. I was starting to become disappointed with this year’s display.

However, the display has now been operating for two days without the gremlins from earlier in the month, so I believe the issues are sorted at last.

I hope to get video footage captured and uploaded within the next couple of days. Pictures have been uploaded and more will follow soon.

Season Greetings to all.

Opening Night Just Days Away

The 1st of December is so close now.

Today the computerised lights in the garden and on the roof were finally able to be tested. The result was surprisingly successful. I was expecting there to be some problems taking some time to fix.

So now the base and pole of the mega tree have been put up ready to have lights strung from it tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday, leaving the Sunday following as the final testing day.

The streaming webcam should be in operation during the count down and light up ceremony on December 1st allowing you to view the display if you can’t make it in person (though I must say it is much better in person!). Music will begin playing at about 8:15 pm with the lights turning on right on 8:30 pm ACDT (UTC+10:30).

Starting To Feel The Pinch

On this day next week is the planned light up on the 1st of December.

Only yesterday were the roof lights completed. The mega tree is not up yet, nor are any computerised lights in the left/right gardens.

I had to delay many of the lights going out until necessary electrical work was done by a qualified A-grade electrician.

Let’s just hope I get it all done in time for the advertised launch.

Up They Go

Outside decorations are beginning to go up.

Last week the magic cave had white tinsel and foam attached to it. LED Blue and clear icicles are now up. Decorations in the main lounge window out front and window around the side have also been put in their place for the season.

A dead end area to the side of the house (which has been a junk yard longer than I’ve been on this earth) has been cleaned out to make way for four of the new ‘Light-O-Rama CTB16PC’ computerised Christmas light controllers.

Today the plan is for some of the rope light path borders to be put out. Right now they are laying in the sun so that they will be easier to bend into the correct shape.