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Discussion Starter #1
Here's Johnny made a great point to that effect in another thread. But I thought I would ask for suggestions...

The pictures that really got me curious and excited about doing a haunt were howlloween queens on her own site back in August. http://www.howloweenqueen.com/cemetery_2005.htm

Then I saw others that all had the same thing going - hot spots of what looked to be day glow ultrasaturated colors.

My question: How does one achieve this effect?
Many Lights?
What wattage?
Store bought spots with gels? What colors?
LEDS?
Are the lights dimmed at all?

Anyway - I thought I would ask. I did my lighting off the lighting tutorial - and it came out flat as a pancake - so I was doing something wrong.

I think that is it. Thanks for all thoughts!
 

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Well, one thing to keep in mind is that the pictures aren't usually 100% accurate to how it appears in person. The human eye does a better job of "understanding" the scene than cameras do.

A lot can be done with cheap colorful 100W outdoor floods. I used three of those with individual dimmers this year to light my grave plot and scarecrow. But I also used 3 different 25W party bulbs to light my balcony, since it was a more confined space.

I think it's really a matter of experimenting with it and making adjustments until it works for your scene. You won't need a lot of lights if the brightness and positioning is right. However you may prefer the look of lots of colors and angles of lighting in your setup.

Using a small number of lights in controlled angles can of course create very sharp shadows.
 

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In the case of my yard which is an L shaped area roughly 40x20 and 45x20 maybe (this could be off I can measure this weekend), we use (2) par 56 cans with 300 watt bulbs with blue gels and (14) par 38's (120 and 150 watt bulbs) with a mix of amber, purple, blue, red, and yellow gels, 2 dimmer packs and a dmx controller, and (7) 100 watt Home depot colored floods of various colors to wash the house itself. It may sound like a lot, but most of the pars were not running at full wattage because they were dimmed. And also (2) 250 halogen floods running off a I-zombie st-2401 Lightining controller (this thing was rock solid and ran 2 nights in a row for 15 hours total with out a single hiccup I love it)
 

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My haunt this year was a 'wrap around' . Start at my walk, up and down the nieghbor's drive to the side of the house through the backyard and out onto my driveway where my wife was waiting with candy. I had a lot of space to fill with light. I never even thought to bring par cans into the mix. Maybe next year.

I got good results using 12 colored floods ( in yard spike type fixtures), 16 25 watt party bulbs, ( most in clamp light fixtures, some with reflector off- depending on the 'look' I was after), some christmas light type lighting ( some covered in plastic bones, some orange ones, big c9s for the clown bit), purple rope lights in the path ( always on, no trippy trippy) I bought 16 LED spots that run on 120vac. These things are awesome. I will try to get the link back up here. I HIGHLY recommend them. I will be using a bunch more of them next year. I also got good results using battery powered LED pumpkin lights. These have a Red Blue Green mix to them and the batteries would last all night. I used 12 of these for special spot lighting. They cost like 3$ at Wal Mart. Changing batts was a PITA but having no cords to hide made this an even trade. Throw in 4 strobes, 6 blacklights a 'photo bulb' that went with my lightning controller and you have a pretty good idea of my lighting. I controlled a lot of lighting with a christmas holiday lighting controller from target I bought last year. Six channels and no programming. I used on of the random fade effects and it worked for two weeks every night dusk to dawn, with no problems. I think I paid $10 for the thing after christmas last year.

No matter how many lights you use, if they are not pointed right, they are useless. You don't have to use expensive lights if the 25watters are all you need. Placement is everything. I will try to find the link for the ac LED spots, it is listed elsewhere on this board under 'UV spots'. With shipping they are like $25 for four lights. WELL worth the money.

Hope this helps. Sorry it is so wordy.
 

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Just be aware, you will need a lot of power. We had to buy a 12 gauge 100 foot power cord, it was very pricy /cry, at about 9:30 my wife let the dogs out in the back yard, they activated the motion sensor security light that has a 150 watt incandescent bulb in it, just that one single bulb threw the breaker for half of my grave yard. LOL . We were pushing that circuit right up to the edge.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
For myself personally - I think it would be a mix between floods, low wattages w/gels, and several LED spots (I've got a year to make them!)

I just like learning about the mixes people use - because there's gold tucked in every post.
 

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I made about 30 LED spots for this year, and I really like them for accent lighting. I found 5 or 6 ultrabrights give out plenty of light, and the 5mm LED seem to provide a more even light than the 10mm. I used 6 LEDs for my quicky graveyard in the front yard this year. I also had 15 flicker candles in the haunted house, they do real well in lanterns and light enclosures when you just want to make the light look like it is lite up, they are not strong enough to like other objects.
 

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I had two 100w blue floods, two 85w blue floods, (front yard) two 150w clear floods (trees over house) 1 85w red flood (in the house) 12 tiki torches, two 25w party lights (in garage door opener) and a desk lamp (in garage).... along with two 48" black light tubes, (spider web) two 18" black light tubes, (fcg) and a single 18" black light tube... (in garage) and 2 strands of x-mas lights (in the cauldron.) and that really obnoxious million-watt street light on the corner. (edit) Oh yeah, and a 40w bulb, two 7w bulbs and a strobe inside the pumpkin head.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I thought my front yard was way too washed out... using just two 100 colored home depot floods (blue and green)...

I then thought a dimmer might be good. But it was too late.

Do a lot of you use dimmers OR do you practice more "focused" lite as opposed to flooding an area?

I thought "2 floods and a hot spot in back" would do the trick - but now I'm thinking way more along the lines of leds for each tombstones and smaller areas of lite.
 

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I thought my front yard was way too washed out... using just two 100 colored home depot floods (blue and green)...

I then thought a dimmer might be good. But it was too late.

Do a lot of you use dimmers OR do you practice more "focused" lite as opposed to flooding an area?

I thought "2 floods and a hot spot in back" would do the trick - but now I'm thinking way more along the lines of leds for each tombstones and smaller areas of lite.
do you really need to have every prop completely lit? I had my tombstones, and a couple other props just barely lit because I didn't have enough spots, and I actually liked it that way. I ended up using a strand of 140 orange "Christmas" type lights to make a crummy fake fire, that let out just enough light to barely make the tombstones visible and readable.
Check out my photobucket pics. I had only 2 blue spot spikes shining on my mausoleum and reapers, pointing skyward so the hot spot of the light didn't hit it, and one green one behind the mausoleum shining on the house for a background light. that's it, other than the fire, and the small lantern light my witch/gravedigger is holding.
 

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Good thread.
In my situation, I have the display approximately 175 feet from my house. And unless I hack into the nearby electric pole, I have to get my power down to the road using those extremely pricey 12 gauge contractor extension cords. I am therefore limited in the lighting, I cringe every time I plug something in. I use three hundred footers and a 25 footer coming out of one GFCI plug. With various extension cords and outdoor outlets running all over the place.
What I had this year was five 85 watt floods, a set of low voltage lights to accent the creatures in the woods, and various strings of light, a lighted pumpkin, three rope lights and a lantern by the gravedigger creature.
Couldn't get an entire shot (forgive the quality or rather lack thereof) so here are two of them:





Any suggestions for improvement will be greatly accepted.
 

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What you have here Michigal, looks good. But you asked for advice, and people tell me I'm full of it. ( I think they mean 'full of advice' or maybe they mean.....)

You are worried about blowing fuses by hauling ac power that far away. I too do a small display at the end of the street. I live on a dead end street ( My yard is not visible from a main road) and I want people to remember how to get here. So I put up a display, and give directions that include " turn at the skeletons". I power the entire thing with batteries. I have two bluckies that I put light up skulls on. I bought six small LED skulls from dollar tree. Several other battery operated skulls and pumpkins light up the corner. I used four of the LED 'pumpkin lights' from Wal mart ( about $3 a piece HIGHLY recommended by me). Some to spotlight the bluckies and the sign, some inside my pumpkin totem pole ( complete with 'turn here' arrows). Then I bought red LED christmas lights ( 3 strands about $6 a strand) They have 8 chase sequences and they run on 'C' batteries. I left them turned on for over a week and the batteries held up fine.

Switching from incandescent bulbs to LEDs on some of your more power hungry appliances, will help with your ac consumption. The cost has gone down considerably this year, and prices will continue to fall by the next halloween season. This is cost of out of box ready to go lighting, not the solder-it-yourself type that a lot of members favor.

Lighting itself is going to change dramatically this year, with LED technology taking over. In ten years, you won't be able to find an incandescent light anywhere in your house. Everything will be switched over to the more efficient ( and by that time- cost effective) LED.

I'm starting to ramble, point is: LEDs are your friend. Batteries are your friend. Pull some of the load off of the ac grade, and you will have an amazing display. Good luck.
 

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krough in the beginning of the thread you spoke of "gels". pardon my lack of knowledge but what these gels you speak of?
 

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I'm not krough, but I'm feeling wordy, so I'll take a crack at the question.

A Gel is a film that is placed over a white light to produce a color. They are made to withstand tremendous heat and won't melt under the conditions that they are made for. They are usually used in theatrical fixtures, like krough's par cans, but can , in a pinch be taped to some sort of framework and used on any type of bulb.

They can be found at theatrical supply companies, or more frequently, at the local music store. Lots of rock bands use these for their lighting.

Krough, sorry I jumped in and answered your question, again, I'm just feeling wordy.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Good advice to Michigal on the LEDs -

Michigal - I had no idea on how to approach LED's this year. Everyone was patient and talked me through the process of making my own if you don't want to go out and buy LED flashlights.

This year I had LED eyes for my characters with plenty left over to make spots for next year. You can get 6 or 8 to run for hours on a transistor battery. The night before last, my boy comes in and says "Frankenstiens eyes are on Dad" - we could not figure out for how long. He's in the garage by the way until we dissassemble him.

Look for a thread titled something like "Have LEDs, will travel" - that wasthe thread where everyone showed me how to make my own.

Deanna talks about LEDs somewhere on her site too:
http://www.howloweenqueen.com/
 

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Interesting stuff on LEDs. I agree that the incandescent is on its way out. Even in lighthouses (my other passion) the aerobeacon, which has replaced a lot of the Fresnel lenses, is being test replaced with LED arrays in some locations.
So far my circuit breakers have held up, though. The only problem I had was with the motor for the FCG. It didn't want to cooperate on a GFCI circuit. It didn't trip the breakers, since it's low amp, but it would trip the GFCI when I'd turn it on. So I ran that on a different line that wasn't GFCI. Now the Chauvet mirror ball motor had no problem.
And slightly off topic: I had problems running an old turntable to use for the witch stirring a cauldron. When I plugged it in outside, it wouldn't start. Took it in the house, it ran beautifully. Everything was level, not touching the ground or anything, it didn't trip a circuit or blow the GFCI, so I couldn't really figure it out. By that time, I ran out of time so will work on it for next year, along with collecting enough pallet wood to build something like Krough has (although of course not as good).
 
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