The Wizards of Winter/ Christmas Lights

The video has been on You Tube for several years now in several variations.

Here is one of the later ones.

I was wondering how it is done- I thought you would need to be n electrical engineer or computer expert to set it up. However the number of people now copying it makes it seem as though it is perhaps easier than I thought. Or perhaps they have been professionally set up.

Anyone know how it is done and what equipment is required?

You need a microcontroller and some relays; the most popular is an Arduino setup. Actually getting the Arduino to control the lights is pretty trivial, as far as Arduino stuff goes. The annoying part, IMO, is writing the code, which looks like this (from the end of that article):

  digitalWrite(tree4, HIGH);
  digitalWrite(tree5, HIGH);
  digitalWrite(tree4, LOW);
  digitalWrite(tree5, LOW);

  digitalWrite(tree1, HIGH);
  digitalWrite(tree8, HIGH);
  digitalWrite(tree1, LOW);
  digitalWrite(tree8, LOW);

There may be software out there that will convert various beats to given outputs, but it’s still going to require time to make it look good.

Thanks Steronz. I was confident someone here would know.

It’s probably just based on time since the song started.

I’m reading about it and it seems that Vixen is free software that will do that.

There are MIDI controllers that can be used to synchronize lights to music, and that’s probably what they are doing.

So far as I know you’re correct, but I remember playing with some winamp plugins back in the day that would convert low and high beats into different visual cues. I thought maybe something similar could at least save some time, but it doesn’t appear that’s the case. The Vixen software Cicero found has “an audio visualizer to help you synchronize exactly with your music,” which makes it seem like you still need to manually program a song based on time delays.

Interesting-- Last year I saw a completely different house with an animated display, using the same song. Is it just because the staccato piano bits are well-suited to animation, or are there maybe stock control programs out there for that song?

Oh, and if anyone’s wondering, they also use a small FM transmitter to broadcast the music, so folks can tune in on their car radios to listen while they watch.

It was no secret how it was done. He was using this system.

At one time this site had detailed instructions on how it was set up, but they have since been removed.