Holiday Lighting

The Deater Family Christmas and Holiday Family Light Show
Information about the show, the setup, and how it all works
5:00pm - 11:00pm daily from Thanksgiving weekend trough Christmas
Tune to FM 93.1 in your car to hear the lights!
Shows start at the top of the hour and run around 45 minutes.

Follow us on Facebook!! Deater Family Light Show

Our Show

What started off as an experiment 2018 with our inside Christmas tree, combined with free time in 2020 due to our global pandemic, has expanded into a large outdoor lighting show!

I was initially inspired by the Johnson Family Light Show and their great behind the scenes videos on how it all works.

Combining my technical skills, work in the entertainment industry and computer industry, as well as a lot of support from my loving wife and kids putting up with my endless wiring, soldering, and mumblings about DMX addresses and RGB codes has resulted in a yard full of dynamic colors and looks.

Follow my YouTube Channel for videos of our lights this year, and other fun projects.

Over 6000 lights

Each light (called a pixel) can be controlled independently and set to any desired color. They are WS2811 RGB bullet pixels, meaning each LED light can be set to any desired color individually. These lights were originally designed to be used in digital signs. Pixel light shows have now turned into it's own industry!

Lights run on 12V DC

There are multiple 12VDC power supplies running all of the outdoor lights. This entire display only uses 3 extension cords, one to the trees, one for the inflatable decorations, and one to the pole!

FM Radio Transmitter

Tune to FM 93.1 on your car stereo to hear the lights! There is a low powered FM transmitter connected to the Raspberry Pi computer that runs the show.

Show runs on a Raspberry Pi computer

A Raspberry Pi Linux computer runs the light snow. It is completely scheduled and automated.

Multiple Controllers

Pixel controllers take the data from my network and translate it to the language that the lights speak. We have multiple pixel and RGB controllers from a few different manufacturers that take the network data from the Raspberry Pi computer and translate it into the language that each bulb uses.

xLights Software

xLights software is used to sequence the lights and sync them with music. We have a complete 3D model of our light show setup in the software so we can work on programming and design all year. Each song can take from 4 to 8+ hours to design the lights for.

Creating the Props

It takes a lot of work to create some of the display elements or props. Some of our props are converted regular light props, some are specially designed props made out of a plastic cardboard called 'Coro' and pre-drilled to fit our pixels.

Lighting Controller

This is one of the lighting controller setups. We have multiple lighting controllers in our show. This is where we power the lights (with the power supply on the left) and generate the PWM data signal that the chip in each light responds to. (Controller on the right) The controllers talk to the computer and show player trough my home data network.

Controller Kit

This is how some of the lighting controllers come, as a kit you have to assemble. Fully built and tested controllers are also available from SanDevices, but where is the fun in that? This is one of the controllers that we use in our show. This controller has 16 ports for lights vs the 4 ports of the smaller ones.

The Lights aka Pixels

The lights themselves are refereed to as "Pixels" because they were originally designed to use in digital signs. Each light would be an individual pixel in the sign itself. The pixel consists of a RGB (red, green, blue) LED (light emitting diode) connected to a WS2811 driver chip that is fed power and data from the main controller. The first pixel receives a stream of data containing all of the RGB values for the entire string, it takes it's 3 values, deletes them from the data stream, then re-transmits the rest of the data stream to the next pixel. The next one does the same thing until you run out of pixels or data, which should occur at the same time. This means I have to exactly count how many individual pixels there are on each string of lights, most of which are custom lengths. Various combinations of RGB in different intensities can re-create almost every color in the rainbow.