Going all out for 2013

MarcD

Full Time elf
Joined
Sep 7, 2012
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338
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Heathwood Qld
2012 was our first attempt at controlled lighting and it was very popular with the visitors to our house over the Xmas period. We had kids dancing to the music in our front yard every night, some even knew the order of the songs by heart. The video of Santa arriving doing Gangnam Style will never make it to air though. One of the features of our 2012 display was the retracting curtain light across the garage door. It took only seconds each night to pull it across and it brightened up an otherwise dull space.

So now we have to start thinking about 2013 and we have decided we want to go all out and do something bigger and better than last year. In 2012, we used 300+ metres of Big W multi-colour LED strings, but this year we want to incorporate feature areas using both dumb and smart LED's. I figure there's plenty of time, so I'm going to ask advice from everyone here as to what you would do if it were your house. I know that sounds a bit generic, but I'm open to suggestions.

I'm prepared to spend money on this as I can spread it over over the year. I just need to come up with a plan. I've attached a photo of the house as well as one of the roof. Consider it a blank canvas and give it your best shot.
 

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MarcD

Full Time elf
Joined
Sep 7, 2012
Messages
338
Location
Heathwood Qld
As mentioned, one of the main features of our 2012 display was the garage door (pictured below). This year, I'd like to improve on it by replacing the K-Mart string with pixels and increasing the number of strings. We used 15 two metre strings daisy-chained together and I'm thinking about doubling that so they are really close together. I'll replace the cord strung between two hooks with a proper curtain track for strength and stability and split it into two sections so each half can be pulled to both sides.

We don't have room in the yard for a megatree and it would be too far from power. Instead, the plan is to create a colour wall. I've read through the 101 manual and need advice on the best type of lights to use for this. We could just use strings like last year, but they tend to blow around a lot which could ruin the effect. I'm not sure whether strips would work either.

Any suggestions?

EDIT: I forgot the attachment.
 

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BradsXmasLights

WiFi Interactive
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Dec 23, 2010
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573
Location
Brisbane, Australia
Looks like there's enough room there for a mega tree? :D
Perhaps use your existing fairy lights for this and go LED strip on the house? Powering it out there shouldn't be too hard. If you want your PSU's inside (my choice), then a long run of 30VDC will be more tollerant to voltage drop.

I would then Pixel strip the gutters, then if cost permitting the roofline. That roofline & gutter in pixels is probably going to blow the $1000 budget I'd say. Dumb RGB strip will be a lot cheaper.

Then your big front entry, a row of ~4 x RGB spotlights pointing towards wall. Or even just lengths of dumb RGB strips groupped together would probably be bright enough for a wall wash effect

Then a really long dot-matrix newticker wrapped around that fancy eve work on your entry :)

Have you got measurements of your gutters & roofline?
 

MarcD

Full Time elf
Joined
Sep 7, 2012
Messages
338
Location
Heathwood Qld
Thanks for the reply Driver.

I know the front yard looks big enough for a megatree, but there are two things preventing it. A: The photo is deceptive because it's taken from Google Maps using a wide angle lens and B: The front yard is reserved as a kids play area (dancing, making snow angels etc.). My wife would never let me give up that space.

I do like the idea of pixels along the guttering. I'm also looking at pixels or dumb RGB strips along the roof capping. That will free up the existing Big W strings for more fill on the roof. We also have a 3.6m tree on one side and I could add more lights to it.

I also think the idea of pixels on the three timber strips above the entrance would look great. I just won't put them all the way around, just on the front facing stuff.

I don't think I can use spotlights as they would have to be in the front yard and could be a tripping hazard.

I don't have a budget at this stage, but if I had to nominate a figure, it would be more like $3,000. I do have measurements for absolutely everything, so that will help in the planning and purchasing.

My main focus will be the garage door. If I replace the 15 x 2m strings of Big W lights with 30 x 2m strings of pixels, I should be able to make that area the main feature with some amazing effects. I'm just not sure what the best option is for these pixels. Strings, Strips or something else? They will need to hang vertically and be able to be pulled aside to get the car in and out.
 

oldmanfathertime1000

Computers, music, audio, video, electronics
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
157
Location
Lake Arthur, Louisiana
MarcD,
You have plenty of room on the right side of the house to set a flat(180 degree)mega tree up against the two plants.
You also have lots of area on the left side of your driveway to put a few great looking hoops. You can also put hoops on the right side by the fence....None of this will get in the way of the kid's play area......
 

MarcD

Full Time elf
Joined
Sep 7, 2012
Messages
338
Location
Heathwood Qld
We do have plenty of room on the right side, but I was worried about getting power to that area from the garage on the left side. I have attached some photos of this years' setup. You'll notice that the fence on the right side would be ideal for some sort of pixel grid which could be made up in advance on a frame, tested, configured and then just slotted into place.

The shooting star LED rope light on the extreme right will be going in the bin this weekend. There is a section not working and the blue stars at the bottom are barely working. So that entire fence is a blank canvas. I'm just worried that it might not have the full effect if people are viewing it from a 90 degree angle. As opposed to the garage door which is clearly visible from everywhere.

We don't want anything interfering with the view of virtual santa in the bedroom window. Our visitors would not be happy if he wasn't back next year.

Another option is to use the four two metre posts I have spare and line them with pixels and stand them across the front where the 'reindeer garden' was last year. My wife said she's moving them in 2013 because they've been in the same place for two years now.
 

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bovonic

New elf
Joined
Dec 28, 2011
Messages
25
Location
Sydney
Candy canes seem a popular idea, you could put them along your driveway (permission permitting ;) ) which leaves the yard free. Strip lighting the drive


You might also want to keep your shooting star and retro fit it with LEDs (there are posts on here about other people doing this on the wire frames board - http://auschristmaslighting.com/forums/index.php/board,41.0.html). You could even list the frame in the for sale section if it's in good nick as someone may want to light it for their display.


What about a small pixel tree on the letterbox?
 
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