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Computer magic ‘plays’ lights, music


first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake Colored floodlights change with the intensity of the music – blue for a gentle violin passage, white for a strong passage. Three thousand feet of extension cords connect them all to a circuit board in the garage. Speakers in the front yard play Christmas tunes. A low-power digital FM transmitter about the size of a computer mouse broadcasts the tunes to visitors’ car stereos. “I work with three-second grabs of the songs, go through and sequence it,” Williams said. “You can have a lamp ramp up, ramp down, flicker, shimmer, go on, go off.” Operated from a laptop computer on a program called Light O Rama, the light show accompanies an hour and 17 minutes of music in MP3 files. Interspersed among the songs are bits of conversation from the Griswold characters in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” which is a Williams family Christmas tradition. Since the light show started Dec. 3, Williams has been adding more lights and adjusting how they respond to the music. “I’m still working on it,” he said. This is the first Christmas for the synchronized holiday music. Last year, his display had more lights – about 20,000 – which resulted in a December electric bill of about $600. This year, he expects the bill to be about $300. “Before, it was a matter of quantity. Now it’s gone to a matter of quality,” Williams said. But he expects to expand again next year, replacing the flood lamps with theatrical lights and adding a Christmas tree with 38,000 lights. “This year, I started the day after Thanksgiving. Next year it will be the day after Halloween. It will be twice this size,” Williams said. The display can be viewed nightly through New Year’s Day at 41465 Manzanita Drive, south of Avenue M-8 and west of 60th Street West. Hours are 5:30-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5:30-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PALMDALE – At Rick Williams’ house, 8,000 computer-controlled Christmas lights shimmer, flicker, blink and change colors, synchronized with holiday tunes ranging from “Feliz Navidad” to “Christmastime is Here.” Grown from a few illuminated front-yard holiday figures, Williams’ display has turned into a year-round hobby of planning, building and programming: Sequencing the lights to the music took 60 hours at a computer; installing and connecting them, three solid weekends of work. “This is something I always wanted to do,” said Williams, a regional computer technician for a national distributor. Red, green, blue, white and orange lights cover trees and shrubbery, hang from the eaves and line the roof and windows of the two-story house. Lighted candy canes stand alone on one side, and a Christmas tree and illuminated toys occupy the center of the yard.last_img read more




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