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Lights@721

Why is it always about the number of lights...

34 posts in this topic

I was so excited to be contacted by our local paper yesterday, as they were doing an article on some of the "bigger" displays in our area. This is my third year doing the show and for them to even know about us makes me happy.

When they asked for a short phone interview I knew the first question was going to be "How many lights do you have?" and I was dead on...

This is something that annoys me, I understand that its the easiest way for the huge displays to brag with outrageous numbers and it makes it easy for the non-decorator types to compare the size of displays. For me this has always been an unimportant number. I think we are between 3-5 thousand, which is nothing compared to most people on here or even some of the other displays in our area. For me, I concentrate on the sequencing and making sure that my props are as close to perfect as possible. When people are sitting in their cars listening to the music over the radio they might wonder how many lights there are, but that doesn't affect their experience.

  I answered the man honestly - " I don't know. I stopped counting after I realized our 8ft spiral tree had 900 lights alone, the total number is unimportant to me. But if you are looking for a large number to impress readers, we have just shy of 2,800 ft of extension cords. " He seemed satisfied with the answer and the rest of his questions seemed fairly normal. How long have you been doing this, why do you do it, what makes your display unique, etc... Anyone else get annoyed that the first question is always how many lights? or have an other weird interview experiences?

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Been doing this silly lighting thing for many years now. Question has always bugged me too... but I do kind of get it. I might drive an hour or more to see a 200K light display but I'd be disappointed if I got there and it was only a couple thousand lights like other houses in my neighborhood have. It's true that numbers are far from the only thing, but it does convey scale.

But the other thing I soon realized... nobody's actually going to count your lights. So rather than keep justifying why I didn't count, I pretty much just made up a number. Well not totally, I counted the number of strings I put up in trees, etc. came up with an estimate of how many bulbs are in rope light, etc. etc. But it was very much an "educated guess". And I just did that one year, early in my decorating. After that as I added stuff I just inflated the number a bit. 

Nobody's ever counted and told me I'm wrong lol.

As an aside, as I've converted some elements to pixels, my light count has physically gone down. But I feel the value of the display has actually gone up. So I still use that "old" number when asked. Cheating, maybe. But sue me :)

I would caution anyone to take this to an extreme though. I've seen displays that claim they have 50K lights and there's absolutely no way. Maybe the general public could be fooled, but those of us who are familiar won't be. If you say a number, make sure your display is good enough to back it up.

Edited by tfischer

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3 hours ago, tfischer said:

B

I would caution anyone to take this to an extreme though. I've seen displays that claim they have 50K lights and there's absolutely no way. Maybe the general public could be fooled, but those of us who are familiar won't be. If you say a number, make sure your display is good enough to back it up.

Agree with this 100% but my problem goes the other way as well. If i tell the truth, estimated say 3500 lights tops. People reading the article would be unimpressed compared to the others that are way more leaving them less likely to visit my show. Its somewhat of a metric that is easily used but not a great way to determine a shows quality. Like you said, its simple scale only!

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How many are on here? I don't guage a display of how many lights are in it, only that it's done tastefully:) and from the heart:)

20161124_202937.jpg

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Concentrate on what you do have. And don't worry about the press... if your show is good eventually you're going to worry about too many people coming, not getting them to come. Enjoy your show and if it's decent others will find it.

41 minutes ago, Big J Illinois said:

How many are on here? I don't guage a display of how many lights are in it, only that it's done tastefully:) and from the heart

You have a beautiful display and is tasteful indeed.

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Thank you, we worked hard so others can enjoy it also:) I love doing this stuff , and ALOT of people actually stooped and said thank you:) That is what's it's about, not the amount or how "many" channels, although, my hats off to the men and women who do that:)

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I have to agree will all so far. but to me the number of lights, or the amount of people who come and see it aren't whats important to me.  what is important to me is do i and my family enjoy it and if people like it its icing on the cake. i know i will never please everyone but i do enjoy the compliments when i get them.

 

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It sounds to me that the perfect answer to the question is simple:   "I have the perfect number of lights to enhance the look of my display so that anyone that happens to stop by and enjoy looking at it will be perfectly pleased at what they see."   Merry Christmas

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I totally agree with all the posts.

In my book Ive always said, if you know how many lights you have, you either have not enough, or too many!

 

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Glad other people feel this way as well. I just repeating to them that all that matters to me is people who find us, and stay for at least 30 seconds leave with a smile on their face... nothing better!

Forgot to shout to Big J! nice display! I feel that same way, do I like what I have created, do my props look as clean as I could get them? then I am happy

 

Here is a still shot from one of our videos, sorry for the quality!

15589930_1315014735215612_3141990467539670145_n.jpg

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I agree 721, it's what WE create:):) And when someone stops for 30 seconds SOOOOO worth it, and thank you for the complement:) It does mean ALOT when someone shouts out:) Many, many thanks:)

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I don't mind the question about number of lights because I know the answer.  My display is mostly incandescent so I have to know the number and type of lights to manage power usage and allocation.  On the other hand, the number of "miles" of extension cords seems like a silly question to me and something I don't need to know to manage my display.

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This is an age old question as TFisher said is the absolute norm. Regular viewers don't relate to channel numbers or how many controllers as we in the hobby do. If your display brings you joy and to your viewers then that is all that matters. I have watched many videos and I have been more impressed with 64 channel sequences than dramatic over the top displays that just seem to turn things on because they can.

SPaschall

Sent from my SCH-S968C using Tapatalk

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I am only running 32 channels, I am don't even count my lights and I hear a lot of comments, saying wow that's cool.  I even web streamed mine live this with these stats :Your stream was watched across 22 state regions in 116 cities with an approximate total of 217 viewers.

I was in the local paper a few yrs ago, and they mostly mentioned that I was doing it in dedication to special needs children, which I kept emphasizing to the reporter.  I don't have the skill set to do large displays, I know my limits and I keep to them.   All I know that is my neighbors love them and so do my kids, that's good enough for me.

 

 

 

 

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It's  a common denominator, I believe people ask, it only because they have a limited knowledge of what extreme decorating is. 

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I always get asked the question and I always reply, "I honestly don't know because to me, it's not how many lights you have, it's what you do with them."

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On ‎12‎/‎14‎/‎2016 at 9:27 AM, tfischer said:

as I've converted some elements to pixels, my light count has physically gone down

since each 8 bit pixel can create 256 distinct colors just multiply your pixels by that number

 

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I so agree. We guestimate 25k, but what gets us noticed is the light choreography /sequencing, not the overwhelming number of lights.

I always say we walk the fine line between Christmas and Vegas.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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1 hour ago, qberg said:

since each 8 bit pixel can create 256 distinct colors just multiply your pixels by that number

 

Oh it's better than that... it's 256 for each of the red, green, and blue components so that's 16,777,216 per pixel lol.

In all seriousness I think it's perfectly fair to multiply pixels by 3, since they essentially replaced people layering colored strings (e.g. red, green, and white) and those were certainly counted separately.

Edited by tfischer

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pixels basically render that question useless for the exact reasons mentioned in the few comments above...

we will see what they end up writing in the article, if they even include us at all. I haven't heard anything since the interview and if they were trying to pick houses based on size we will be out. still nice to be considered!

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We have almost as many blow molds as we have lights.   I can tell you I have 53 extension cords, running just the soldiers.   

johnson (3).jpg

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On 12/15/2016 at 0:56 PM, BaldEagleChristmas said:

I don't mind the question about number of lights because I know the answer.  My display is mostly incandescent so I have to know the number and type of lights to manage power usage and allocation.  On the other hand, the number of "miles" of extension cords seems like a silly question to me and something I don't need to know to manage my display.

Same here.  I really don't mind too much.  I have to know b/c of my power usage on each breaker.

The main one I don't like is "How much is your power bill?"  I don't know!!  I don't pay it!  The husband deals with the bills. I do know that it doesn't go up much.

I have no idea how many cords I have - not enough lol!

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Eggbah said:

The main one I don't like is "How much is your power bill?"  I don't know!!  I don't pay it!  The husband deals with the bills. I do know that it doesn't go up much.

We get that all the time too....People are surprised when I tell them Dec with Christmas is still cheaper than Jan!

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Why do people always question the power bill, rather than the cost to buy all the crap? 

And why do they feel it's acceptable to ask?  Drawing a parallel... "whoa, that's a really nice house you have... how much are the taxes on it anyway?"

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I mean, I know I'm at about 30,000 lights, but i only use that number to impress you guys on here,m and people who ask lol. I say that in good fun, not trying to be a jerk. The question bothers me somewhat but i think the look of the display matters more than the light count.

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DSC_034498.jpg

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