RGB (red/green/blue) based lights also known as pixels

  • TV on sale at Walmart

    A Better/Cheaper RGB Pixel Matrix Solution?

    I’ve been thinking about adding some sort of pixel matrix to my Christmas display so I could do more messages, graphics and video.  A P10 RGB panel display or pixel mesh solution was going to run a minimum of $600 plus a lot of labor but I would have a low resolution RGB panel prop to really add pazazz to the layout. Ouch. Then I walked through a local big box store and saw a 50″ TV for $200.  For about $100 I could build a weatherproof enclosure and have a hi-definition screen in my Christmas display.  As an extra…

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  • RGB pixels for newbies.

    Thinking about RGB pixels?

    Back in the old days you would plug in a string of Christmas lights and they would just turn on.  Easy. Technology started getting involved about a decade ago. Think about a special string of Christmas lights where any light could be any color at any time. The concept has evolved quite a bit and is now referred to as RGB pixels.  Some of the challenges with pixels include they tend to be more complicated to implement than the old days, expensive and not as efficient as you might think when when it comes to using electricity… but the possibilities…

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  • Projection mapping on the Belcher home

    Being on national TV

    The Belcher family was a participant in Episode 1 of ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight” for 2014. We were included in the TV show which aired December 8th. We didn’t come out on top but Mr. Weaver deservedly won the coveted light bulb trophy for his wonderful Disney castle and character creations. First, a little about our display Our 2014 Christmas display was an experiment in visual arts in which we “projection mapped” the front and one side of our two story brick and wood home. Projection mapping is a fairly new art form which in its simplest form…

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  • Pixel Tree

    Build a pixel tree

    If you haven’t figured it out yet, all the articles in this issue of PlanetChristmas Magazine have been leading us to building our own pixel based megatree. We’ll readily admit it’s not as easy as it needs to be, but the results are so worth it. Just look at the cover of our magazine and imagine the light patterns in a fluid movement. Our goal is to build a tree that’s two meters tall (a little over six feet), have 12 vertical legs and each leg will use 60 pixels/meter pixel ribbons. With the help of a calculator we figured…

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  • Talking to the pixels

    OMG This has geekfest written all over it. The PlanetChristmas Magazine staff was told to build a pixel tree. As the whiteboard filled up with things to figure out, one item was circled in red and my name was written next to it: How do we control the pixels? I was told to become an expert in pixel communication. That’s when Chuck Smith edged into the room, read the to-do list and said “keep the geekiness to an absolute minimum when writing about it. My mother is going to build one of these things.” Easy for him to say as…

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  • Smart pixel ribbon

    Pixel ribbons

    We were sitting around the conference table when Chuck (as in The Mr. Smith) said we’re building pixel trees for the next edition of the magazine. What’s a pixel tree? Think along the lines of a megatree, but every light is controllable. As Mr. Smith likes to say: any light, any color, any time. These are the trees that have moving patterns on them, can scroll pictures or text and truly wow your audience. Light-O-Rama came out with something called the Cosmic Color Ribbon in 2009. The ribbon had 150 RGB based LEDs evenly spread across a five meter (16.4…

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  • Pixel Power Injection

    5 Volts vs. 12 Volts and Power Injection

    When our esteemed publisher (Chuck Smith) gave us the task of building a pixel tree, I thought it would be easy because I could build a megatree in no time at all. Get 16 sets of 100 bulb mini-light strings, hang them from a pole, plug them in and you’re done. If I wanted that megatree to dance to the music, I’d plug each string into a channel of a light controller and the WOW would happen. Mr. Smith hinted a pixel tree might be a bit more complicated. Every light had to be controllable (I got to hear the…

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  • Simple pixel tree

    Geek my tree

    An interesting thing happened this past Christmas. After retiring my show I got bored and needed to find something to do. I decided to decorate my 12’ Christmas tree with 850 RGB pixels and programed it with several patterns. For the fun of it, I posted it to my Facebook page and the response was huge. People started sharing it, and I started getting lots of questions about how I did it. It was then I realized the challenge of explaining RGB and DMX to people who knew nothing about it. It also became apparent that people wanted to venture…

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  • House in Lakeland Hills that uses RGB pixels

    Revolution Evolution

    We all remember the time when we saw the light display that got us hooked. 35 years ago my parents took their eight year old to a nearby suburb where nearly all the houses were decorated with lights. The display that grabbed my attention had its lights being electronically coordinated and controlled. To the best of my memory it was only about eight channels of lighting control, but back in the late 1970s this was virtually unseen and I was amazed at the patterns that could be created. It burnt a memory in my mind that still stays with me…

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  • Dipping the toe into RGB

    RGB as simple as 1, 2, 3

    There’s a technology heading for the decorative lighting world that has the potential to be a very disruptive force. Just as we try to get our heads around basic LEDs to displace incandescents, now we’re being asked to use something called RGB based lighting, meaning the lights can be told to change to any color of the rainbow. Good gosh. Can someone slow down so the rest of us normal people can catch up? LEDs are here to stay By now you probably already know the advantages of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). They only consume 10-20% of the power of…

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