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Photo floods and a color organ for lightning and amplified speakers and an MP3 player with downloaded thunder tracks.
 

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Yep... what he said! LOL!

Last year I added lightning and thunder to my cemetery and it was a huge success! I utilized a track where it comes and goes every few minutes. This gave time for new people & ToTs to show up and be startled by it!

This year I'm going to experiment with strobes instead of flood lights... although they will still be on hand should it not turn out the way I'm hoping. Anyone here got video of strobes hooked up to a thunder/lightning machine?
 

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SuperBeast
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I was also thinking of using short bursts of strobe. I was also thinking of having simulated rainfall (just a little) via small water hose line running up a couple of large tree branches that cover the driveway. The air hose would have small holes every 4" or so, and can be timed with the lightning using a relay and washing machine valve. They could be painted to match the branches, and the TOTers would only feel a few drops as they walk up the drive, just to add to the "sudden storm" effect. I haven't worked on any of the details, though.
 

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Rookie, sounds fantastic! Let us know how it turns out!
 

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Color organs are cheap to build , and to buy . But , if you REALLY want to get the BEST "bang" for your buck , and for a truly GREAT effect , this is a case where speakers play the most important role . You need to have speakers that have good bass to them , and not some cheap tinny sounding el cheapo speakers that you picked up at a flea market , or yard sale . And , they need to be able to crank out some power . The more "rumbly" they are ( without distortion ) , the better they will do .
Myself , I bought some ADVENT 5:1 speaker set with a sub that I use JUST for my thunder storm soundtrack ( yes , they are hidden/protected from the elements ). I use two , floods , one in the front , and one on the side . Both are NOT directly visible from a direct line of sight , which also makes them more realistic .
There is a website that a fellow goes into , in great detail explaining how important of a role , lighting has ( lighting , not lightening ) .
I'll see if I can dig it up . has some EXCELLENT ideas , and believe me .. there IS a major difference in appearance/scare factor , when your lighting is setup properly . And this goes for the fake lightening as well . If they can't see the floods , then the realism is even greater.
Again , cheap speakers for this will not do . The better the speakers , the more realistic the effect will be .
 

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You need to make sure your color organ will work with strobes.

I made one years back that would not.

Photofloods, are very thin glass envelopses and will burst if rained on while lighting up, so use care.

I was using regular 100 watt incandescent floods and then I got into the LEED making business - as you may already know.

One thing I love is the LightningFX machine goes for 10-30 bucks, if you can find it.
There is a replacement for it the xmas lightFX machine which is available for the same pricing, just google it.

It handles up to 500 watts per machine and very easy to hook up.

I have since switched to using my LED bulbs with it, last year about 20 scattered over 1/2 acre pointing up into the trees to cast cool shadows.

The nice thing about the LEDs is you can use so many on one machine!
Also, the white I have been offering is a cool white, perfect for lightning!

I cannot wait to try it with our new 120 LED bulbs this season.

ok, thats my take on how to do it.

Now if you really want to go crazy, check out the firefly lightning machine.

I also use some serious sound, my peavey 200 watt head and speakers, also piped out to my base monitor,.
The whole rig can easily be set up to be too loud.

Lookon your local craigslist or freecycle group for amps, you can find a good deal or score a freebie now and again.
 

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You need to make sure your color organ will work with strobes.
Why would you want this ? Not sure I can even picture using a strobe with a color organ for a lightening effect . Don't seem that the light and sound would sync out very well if using a strobe ?
Please explain the purpose of making that statement about making sure to use a strobe ....

And before busting out the big bucks for LED floods , make sure they're what you want . The thing with LED's , is that they ALL do not dim , which would also not make the best lightening effect . And they are VERY pricey for what they are ( IMO )
 

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Some others earlier in the thread suggested they wanted to try it (strobes & color organs) I just provided past experience information.

I do not recommend it.

I guess you arent familiar with my LED bulbs.
They are manufacturered to my specs, the first series over the past 3 years was 18 & 36 led spots, now entering the 4th year of production, I have added 12, 50, 72 and 120 LED spots this year, in fact, pre-ordering is occuring right now for another week.

They are specifically designed to dim, twinkle, fade, strobe etc, with the various controllers on the market.
We are working with another company to develop a controller board that works with them explicitly.
You are probably very familiar with them as they are very entrenched in the halloween market for DIY prop builders.

I have been using them (bulbs) for 3 years now with the lightning machine I mentioned in the thread earlier.

The thing is they are very cost effective, especially while the pre-order period is in effect. I am currently updating the specs sheet with bulb info as time allows, you may want to take a gander.

gotta do more work....
 

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I have been having great success with the color organs and two 150 watt CLEAR lamps. These fade a come on GREAT with the signals. I haven't used LEDs so I cannot compare. I'll have to try them.
 
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