What is Lights On Jupiter?
Lights On Jupiter is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to Lighten, Brighten, and Heighten the spirits in our community! Each year we bring joy to the community with a musical display of Lights in Mabelvale, Arkansas consisting of 3 neighboring houses with over 25,000 flashing lights to your favorite Christmas songs, 80s mixes, Christmas remixes and more! Lights On Jupiter was founded in 2014 (with our nonprofit status granted in April 2018) by Shane Johnson at the age of 14. We started the show as a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Mid South. We are so grateful to have raised and donated over $4,500 from 2015-2017. While I am so proud of the difference we have made, I wanted to expand and be able to do more. The creation of my non-profit will allow just this! Each year we will be partnering with an organization that we feel best supports our mission. In 2018 we will be using 100% of all funds raises at our show to benefit the seniors at Briarwood Nursing and Rehabilitation center to ensure that all seniors have a gift, and that no senior if left out this holiday season!
About the show
Lights on Jupiter is a musical Christmas display of lights in Central Arkansas founded by 16 year old Shane Johnson, consisting of 3 houses with of over 20,000 flashing lights! Each night is a different theme of music, ranging from classical Christmas favorites and remixes, to TSO songs, and 80’s music. There will certainly be something for everyone to enjoy!
Guests can also exit their vehicle and use the “Lights On Jupiter Control Station” to select special songs and effects for the lights. See “Themed Nights” below for more info.
How Lights On Jupiter got started
My first light show was in the Christmas of 2014. I had only 1 Light-O-Rama control box that controlled only 16 channels (meaning 16 plugs.) Our main element was 8 trees in the middle of the yard made of tomato cages that “chased” each other during the songs. The 2014 light show was a pretty big challenge. At 14 years old, I started this project, in august of 2014 when I was first introduced to light-o-rama when I did my Halloween light show, but sadly that video is no where to be found. Then I started programming (or sequencing as they call it in the lighting world) right after Halloween sometime in November. At this time I knew I wanted to have a Christmas light show, but I had no songs picked out. I first saw the Holdman Light show (Amazing grace to be specific) and knew I wanted to have that! I programmed that song all my self (although it was just one action that repeated over and over again I was extremely proud) I then started sequencing my favorite Christmas song ever, “Carol of the Bells” by David Foster. I started programming this my self and then learned that pre-programmed Light-O-Rama sequences we all over the internet. All I needed to then was to adapt a pre-programmed song to fit my existing setup.
How the show works
Basically the show runs off of 3 basic elements.
- A controller
- A computer
- And a programmer (similar looking to a spreadsheet)
The controller is quite simple. It comes in a little gray box to keep it safe from the rain, and it has 16 extension cords coming out of it. Each one of these extension cords are referred to as a “channel.” Every single slight strand must be plugged into a different extension cord. So, for example, If you have 8 trees with lights on them, you have to run 8 SEPARATE extension cords back to the controller.
The computer is what tells the controller what to do. It has a wire running from the inside of my house, all the way to yard and to the controller.
The programmer is perhaps the most important thing about my show. Each strand of lights don’t know when to turn off and on and flash by themselves. You must use a computer program to tell it when and when not to flash. Sounds easy? Well not so much. If you have a four minute song and 16 channels, it can take about 2 HOURS per MINUTE of song! The more channels you add and the more time you add to the song, the longer it takes to program. My 2016 display took between 6-10 hours per minute of song, and had 571 channels to program!
Below is an image of what the programming software looks like with ONLY 8 channels! Just image what 571 looks like!