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Discussion Starter #1
Well, after much debate in the household I finally decided that we are going with the Tiki Bird addition to the show this year. I was struggling with how to incorporate it into our show as lets face it Tiki birds are not really "spooky". However, as I had a bird I could program I really wanted to do this. The pirate barker bird was leading the charge as it would have fit the pirates, until I decided to ditch a non-mouse ear part of our show. Now the birds fit as all 3 parts of our show Tiki, Pirates and HM are related. By heavy editing to the soundtrack, I was able to make a darker overall piece. The tribal beats in low light, lightning crashes and 2 volcano blasts via the new pair of 1500 vertical foggers/led lights to simulate fire, this should be just spooky enough to be haunt worthy. The show will then go to last years pirates montage and then the HM show for a total of 9:15 seconds of light/laser/music and video display.

I'm debating about carving an obelisk style stone that could be put on a motorized lazy Susan and turned around on que to reveal a tiki god on the other side. A couple of silk flame pots I didn't use last year would work in the head of the tiki.

The main challenge left for this year will be on how to reveal the birds on demand from a graveyard scene. The first thought is to have the birds rise behind stones and the Jack Sparrow crypt. Pneumatics would work as I already have a compressor and have metal tools/welder to build the rig, but I just got into DMX this year, going to pneumatics as well may be more than I can tackle. Considering we are going to Disneyworld in Dec. I really don't want to drop a grand on the risers. If anyone has a good idea for this I would be all ears.

I originally had envisioned 4 separate risers spaced throughout the yard, however after looking at the test today when they are all together I am wondering if that might not work OK. Any thoughts about that would also be appreciated.

The attached video is today's test of just the birds. You will notice that Fritz is not dancing-I have to round up another power supply for him but that is easy, just crimp on the wire and go.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXRgxG8LTcU
 

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Can't watch video (I'm mobile) but the first thing that comes to mind is spotlighting the birds. Simply bring the spot(s) up and down on birds to present or "hide" them. Disney does this sort of thing, and I don't think it will diminish a storyline if the people can still see the birds in the dark. They will "get it" subconsciously and stay engaged with your narrative. Spots are cheaper and are in line with your DMX driven hardware setup. Mi dos centavos.
 

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That is really great! I would also like very much to know more about how you were able to hack the birds! I've always been tempted to open him up, but like him quite a bit, and want to know a bit before moving forward.

I do think that your notion of carving the obelisk, and rotating it, is really interesting and would make for a great showpiece reveal. :)

With respect to the 'on demand' appearance of the appropriate birds, I would echo dpeterson's comment regarding lighting. It is simple, and effective. Having watched the audience in the Tiki room on any number of occasions, I can say that the heads all follow the spotlight.....
 

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I vote for the hack of the bird as mine has been relegated to the back of the walk in closet until further notice. I have to say I was more fascinated with the terrier being interested in the birds' activity. My Jack Russell loves Halloween and it is hard to keep him in the house. Maybe one year I will make him glow in the dark and send him through the haunt.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hmm, not sure what was up with the video but I just checked the link and it played. Maybe phones have issues?

The birds will be spot lit, the key is that I don't want them visible at all in the graveyard before their time. Our display is a yard haunt graveyard that has a 9 min light/music/video/laser show top and bottom of the hour. I want the graveyard to be "normal" until it's time for the various parts of the show. It really catches the audience off guard. My pirates for example were completely hidden until the POC part of the show when a crypt door falls and pier is revealed to show the canon and skeles.

I was planning on having 4 separate bird stations but after playing with them in my office grouped together I kind of like how they are as a group, focuses the attention and would only require one lift mechanic.

Re: the hack, it is really easy. I am using Light O Rama for my control of my lights the system is how I was able to program all the movements. The birds dancing movements are all on one circuit, at the base of the tail there is a yellow motor with two wires I believe they are grey and yellow coming off of it. Snip and splice the power into those leads. When there is power the bird will dance, random on/off will give him the movement. The beak is running in a channel on the left hand side of the bird, wires are blue and purple. Again, cut and splice in the power supply, power on = mouth open. If you wire the beak wrong it will make his eyes blink. You don't even have to remove the birds fur beyond just getting it over the tail hump, release the clips on his back and slide over his butt and you have access. It takes approx 15 min. max. This is also reversible.
 

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Interesting....keep them completely hidden, and go for a pure reveal moment. I don't suppose that there is a tree available that might serve as both a natural setting for them, but also obscure them until the lights go on?

If you do go for the 'lift' option, I hope you'll update the thread. I'd be very interested to see how that turns out. :)

For what it is worth, and based on the video, I also agree that the birds as a group pack a punch that might not work quite as well if separated.

Thanks very much for the background on the hack...If I don't have to entirely strip him down, I'm far more likely to undertake it. I've got some old phone chargers laying around that I can probably press into service for an attempt at this. Running it off of my LOR is certainly an option, as is a more self-contained approach with a PicoBoo....

Thanks again!
 
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theedwin
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