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Discussion Starter #1
Okay. I had really big dreams for this year and it sorta flopped. I didn't get everything on my list done and the haunt just didn't turn out as well as I was dreaming it could. We need more tombstones...larger ones for next year, and I'm thinking if I push the cemetery together more so it looks more full, it might look better. I also need lighting suggestions. Should I move what I've got, or get more floods? The hill makes it difficult for the light to travel far.

I'm looking for advice to make it better and know you all will have some good ideas, so let loose! Thanks for any help...(fog wasn't running in this picture, but it worked great! And we had two other FCG's that took too much of a beating from the wind to fly on the 31st) Hill House Haunt 2006 photos

 

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Looks good Ghostie. I think we all have plans for each year that never materialize. I know I do, they just get pushed off until the next year LOL.

As far as the lighting. Did you try aiming the lights up slightly, in the picture it looks like they could be angled up a bit more. The other thing you could do to combat that hill is wash the graveyard with blue from up above in that big tree, simulating moonlight, And then use a lot more smaller wattage lights throughout the graveyard as point lights for the various props you have out there.
You also have a large space you are working with so instead of placeing all those lights at the edge you could place some on the inside as well and hide them behind the gravestones. That would help spread the light around a bit.
 

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I think it looks great! You never get it all done quite as you'd like, but no one else notices. My only advise would be just as you have already said, condense the cemetery if needed to make it look more complete. add more lighting shining up that nice hill - do it days in advance so you can figure it out and get proper positioning. You have a great layout to work with!

Side note... your name 'Hill House Haunt' threw me off for a second. LOL as Hill is my last name!

Thanx for sharing!!
 

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Hi Ghostie, the only place it "flopped" was in your mind. I'm betting that everyone else who saw it, thought it was wonderful. I saw the pics, and I think it was just fine. Having cleared up that usual self-inflicted mistaken thought, I think that any adjustments you might make need to be yours and hubbies alone.
As far as the cemetery being too sparsely inhabited, I've seen real ones just as thinly "planted", lol. I would suggest staggering the stones to give the area a more filled in look.
 

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I agree - don't sweat it - it looks good to me.

But yeah - try making more intimate areas or displays as opposed to trying to fill a large space.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
All very good advice, thank you...the problem with the spots outside of the gate is very true. I had them as high as they could go and still hit the closest stones. I think I do need more spots on key props. All the hard work on the tombstones was near impossible to see in the dark. When the fog rolled, it was bright blue and lit up stuff, but you are right, I could use some more. I LOVE the idea of coming down from the tree. For the first time this year, I had a spot going up into the tree. I loved Skull and Bone's lighting tutorial, but because of the hill, it's hard for me to cast wonderful long shadows on things...

I just don't have enough stuff yet! I spread what I had a little thin and the hill hid half of the stuff so I'll put more of it up front next year...Thanks everyone for the help!
 

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Really looks great Ghostie! By the way I enjoyed your haunt page and like the ideas you had (mausoleum, owl, and bubbling witch caldron set up).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Really looks great Ghostie! By the way I enjoyed your haunt page and like the ideas you had (mausoleum, owl, and bubbling witch caldron set up).
Thank you! The website has been a lot of fun. Just wish the prop money didn't run out before all the ideas were realized...:(
 

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I think it looks great. My yard is constantly evolving every year. Are those the spotlights that have the built-in stake? I had a hard time with the angle of mine too. They might work better if you attached them to a board or a pole (a piece of PVC?) so that you could elevate them off of the ground a little better.
 

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I agree, I think it looks great. I wasnt happy with my display as id idnt get half of what I needed to done. But to ever one else they loved it.
My hardest part was the lighting as well. I think its trial and error when putting them in place.
I like what u have so far.
 

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Ghostie, I agree with krough as far as moving the floodlights up into the tree. I have a tree in the center of my cemetery and I use four blue floodlights on it that are about 12 feet off the ground. Each flood illuminates a corner of the cemetery, and for the lighting "bald spots" I use a spotlight on the ground to light that in a different color (usually purple, but I was unable to get a new purple bulb in time this year).
 

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Okay. I had really big dreams for this year and it sorta flopped.
Ya' Kidding right?

I think the display looks awesome. I really like the FCG in the Trees in the center.

How is it being lit? Tube or Spot?

I didn't get everything on my list done and the haunt just didn't turn out as well as I was dreaming it could.
I'll let you in a on little secret. Nobody does :googly:

That is what makes our displays so cool. We all tend to want to build these great displays.
Unfortunately little things get in the way like Work, families, display Space, Storage space and CASH. Just little things. :D

I would love to see what people of this board could accomplish with unlimited resources & Time.

Until we are all independently wealthy we do what we can do and save that rest until next yr.
 

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Very nice! I really like the Witchiepoo and Death props... what kind of cloth did you use for them?
 

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Same opinion here. If those pictures constitute "sorta flopped" I can't imagine how mind-blowingly awesome "perfect" would have to be. Your house and props look terrific. Like everyone else said, there is always something else to add or tinker with, so it's never "done" so there's no use worrying about that. Besides which, having it evolve year over year keeps the neighborhood interested. Don't be surprised if somebody catches you working in the yard in May or thereabouts, and asks about the haunt.

I think you already have covered the basics on ideas for improvement: more tombstones, bigger tombstones, grouping them more densely for a bigger visual impact, tinkering with the lighting.

One easy way to get light onto individual tombstones is to use C7 or C9 Christmas light strings. Unscrew all bulbs except for the ones in front of the tombstones you want to light. (I can't remember who mentioned that tip first this year here, but I saw the post and gave it a try, and the results weren't half bad.) It helps if you can block the light coming towards the viewer so they don't see the bulb (I just plopped down a spare brick in front of each bulb).

If you mix in some large tombstones, you can either cast shadows onto them with the smaller ones, or you can hide some floods or spots behind them to cast light elsewhere in the yard. Other places to unobtrusively place lights higher-up, you will have to scout for, but some possibilities that occur to me include on the back side of fence pillars or other tall props.

You might experiment with casting shadows on the house walls. I see you are already doing color washes with them, which looks great; but they can be available as big white projection screens for whatever you care to cast on them. I'm just brainstorming here for ways to add detail to the scene.

I really like your mausoleum niches treatment for the garage door. That's a clever way to deal with a difficult feature on the house. That is the first time I've seen that.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Thanks everyone. I'm not trying to be humble, I must just have an inferiority complex or something! I've seen some amazing stuff on this forum. I was almost too embarrassed to post the picture. Thanks all, for the pat on the back. It's really nice to hear. I am learning that there are a lot of lighting tricks to employ. I can't wait to do them next year. I didn't realize how important lighting was. Last year I used an old set of Malibu garden spots in white, so I guess this year was an improvement over that! And I'm realizing every haunt has their challenges, mine being the hill. I will use more shadows on the side of the house, too.

(I cheated and got the witch and death from lillian vernon. I'm not happy with the witch though. Her head seperated from her shoulders and she looks stupid now so I'll have to hack her a bit. The cloth on her was a paper like fabric. I don't know how else to describe it. Cheap and crapey-like. Death had a very loose black almost crocheted/knitted sort of fabric. Kind of like black netting, but soft with very small holes. Worked great in the wind. He was always moving, even in a light breeze. I do recommend him from lillian vernon, though...wish I could take credit for him.

And thanks for the kudos on the Mausoleum. That darn thing sucked up so much of my time. I'm glad its finished. I'm trying to come up with unique stuff to do, but there's so much I want to copy from you guys first. Just not enough time/money at the end of the day!

I really appreciate the tips. Everyone seems to look at things differently and it's very helpful.
 

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I don't think it's cheating to buy something instead of making it from scratch. The important thing is to buy the things that look good, and that integrate with the scene you are trying to create. The thing to avoid is the yard that looks like you just set out a bunch of individual items with no thought to a theme. (That can happen with homemade props too.) Other than that, if it works, it works, and who cares where it came from?
 

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I really like the FCG in the Trees in the center.

Any Day time photos?

How is it being lit? Tube or Spot?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Oops. Sorry, forgot to respond to that one...just an 18 inch black light from the undercabinet lighting section at the Depot...We really don't have any good daylight shots. Just this one of the rig we used and instead of the poles, we simply hung it from the tree...and another of the ghost. I was really excited about the three fcg's we planned to run. We used them so much, they gave out by the time Halloween rolled around. The winds broke the SpiderWire and it was too stinging cold to fix them repeatedly...:xbones: :xbones: :xbones:

 

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That's a terrific haunt, don't see "flopped" at all!

One thought on the spots might be using smaller more focused light at close range? I built a bunch of LED spots, some on 9V's, some on wall warts, and was very pleased with the result. The colors blue, green and red are very intense and saturated, I could light one zombie with blue and a gravestone next to him with red. My yard's much smaller so these worked well for me.

Note: The UV LED's were a disapointment, nothing beats a 48" UV fluorescent!
 
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