Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wii-tacular Christmas Light Display - Guitar Hero Style

At last, a Christmas light display that is likely to bring the Clark Griswold out in all but the grinchiest of "bah humbuggers.   A Burbank area resident, Ric Turner,  has turned his Christmas light display into an interactive guitar hero  game and the results are pretty amazing.  The following clip shows a perfect performance of the song "Cliffs of Dover" by Eric Johnson played on Turner's garage and entire front yard display:    

The "Christian Science Monitor" notes Turner is a contractor with Disney Imagineering with "expertise in,  "non-screen projection, complex distortion correction, moving eye point, spatial illusions and scenic projection," according to his LinkedIn page.  Fortunately for those without his background, Turner explains how the display was developed in some detail on the blog Make.  Seven controllers from Light-O-Rama were built to control the 21,268 lights.  To keep noise complaints to a minimum the audio is put out over a low power radio station.  The audio is controlled by the Wii so your mistakes a get a full hearing as well:
When you play, you watch only the Christmas lights, but the audio you hear is from the Wii, so your flubs are broadcast for all to hear (people in cars can tune 99.1 and crank it up as loud as they want.) When we are not playing, a separate version of the program that has the audio from the recorded game plays with the lights as a loop.
For those interested in creating a similar project there is a tutorial on youtube using the program  LightShow Pro.  The light show is controlled with a Wiimote guitar such as the Wii Shred Ax Guitar - MahoganyWii Frontman Wireless Guitar - White or the Shred Axe Guitar Controller - White.   LightShow Pro's webpage states that the program can also be controlled with the Wii drum set.

Turner's YouTube Channel shows a similar display completed with a Halloween theme as well as another Christmas display.    Neither are interactive, however, which probably explains why the guitar hero video has gotten well over a million hits in just six days.

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