Frequently Asked Questions:
How many Lights are there in the show? Previous shows have included anywhere from 85,000 - 103,000 lights. With the new technology advancements, LEDs are programmable so we can actually achieve more than 32,000 different colors in one light bulb today! The magic is in how you arrange and program the lights! The display this year contains more than 50,000 lights.
How much power is required to run the lights, and what is the cost? Historically, before LED technology was introduced into the show, the total power was about 53,000 watts and would cost ~$200 extra to run the light show for the month. The cost was much higher if we kept all the lights on versus sequencing them on & off. With the decision to grow the display and bring in new technologies; the cost and power is much lower today.
How do you synchronize the lights to the music? Software & hardware from Light-O-Rama is used in the programming of the show. Most of the controllers were bought in kit form, where assembly of each kit takes around 3-4 hours. It takes several controllers to run the show.
How long does it take to program a song? It depends on the complexity of each song - specifically - "How do I envision the song to looking when the music is playing?" Initially, it would take a minimum of 5 to 6 hours per minute of song. Today, with the new program updates and options available; I spend much longer than in the early years; probably closer to 8-10 hours per minute of song.
How do you have your own radio station? A low powered FM transmitter is connected to a computer in order to allow the musical portion in your vehicle . The computer controls the lights and plays the music. My transmitter was purchased from Ramsey Electronics.
How long does it take to plan & set up the display? Planning of the next year's display starts shortly after the current year is up & running! This allows me to purchase the lights at discount after Christmas. For planning the true "lay-out" of the display, I start a couple months before the show. In the beginning years, with only a few helping hands, it would take approximately a month to set up the entire display. Over the years, I have been blessed with many volunteers, and the actual setting up of the physical display can be accomplished in a day. This is only the display portion of the program. It takes an additional week to run the necessary cables & electricity to each unit, and to map all the drives.
Do you reimburse yourself for the cost of the electricity or essentials to run the display? No, 100% of all the money donated by the visitors goes to the CAN Council (Arenac-Bay-Huron-Saginaw) & Habitat for Humanity (Saginaw-Shiawassee). This light show is really about giving back to the community and those less fortunate. Freeland Lights is our family's gift to the community.