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Christmas, Events

Epic animated Christmas light show takes over North Vancouver home (VIDEO)

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Jenni Sheppard Dec 07, 2016 11:11 pm 5,178

A home in North Vancouver is hosting an epic Christmas light animation show featuring 15,000 LED lights set to music, to support the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

The show on Beachview Drive has taken over the driveway of the Laberge home, and lasts 45 minutes, with two 22-minute segments and a short interval.

Homeowner Paul Laberge has sequenced the lights – in the form of jumping salmon, a Christmas tree, and more – to songs including Frozen’s Let It Go, and the Star Wars theme.

Laberge told Daily Hive this year’s display is bigger than ever, with 50 homemade elements, including seven arches over the driveway forming a tunnel of lights for visitors to enjoy.

“The idea of being inside the light display, it’s quite a powerful effect,” said Laberge. “If you’re inside and the colours start moving back and forth, you actually feel like you’re moving.”

‘You have to be slightly crazy to do this’

The Laberge Christmas Lights in 2015 (Paul Laberge)

The Laberge Christmas Lights in 2015 (Paul Laberge)

More than 14,000 of Laberge’s lights are individually controlled pixels, with red, green and blue LEDs that can each be controlled to produce over 16 million different colours.

“I also transmit to a low power FM station so you can pick up the music on an FM radio,” said Laberge.

“But I do have speakers, and the neighbours are fairly far away, so I can play the music at a reasonable volume too.”

It takes Laberge about 10 hours per minute of music to synchronize the lights and songs, so each of the show’s sequences have taken him about 25 hours to set up.

“You have to be slightly crazy to do this,” said Laberge, who is a member of a small group of light animation enthusiasts online. “I’m in the middle of a crazy bunch, and I’m certainly the craziest.”

Laberge invites everyone to come along to see the lights and wander among them if the weather is clear – and donate to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

“I’m a big foodie,” said Laberge. “I feel that the holidays are all about food and family, and I thought it would be good if a few more people can share in that.”

Light passion spawned by salmon

Laberge said he’d always loved doing the Christmas lights for his home ever since he was 10 years old, but he got into light animation five years ago.

That’s when he and his daughter Madeleine saw an art display of spawning sockeye salmon, and thought it would make a cool Christmas light display.

“Madeleine drew some pictures of spawning salmon, I welded up some frames and put some lights on them, and we built a 60-foot river of blue lights beside our driveway.”

The following year, Laberge decided to animate the salmon and found a do-it-yourself community of makers.

“I got some do-it-yourself hardware and some electronics, set up the different sequencing on the computer and sure enough, that first year, we had our first Sugar Plum salmon!”

From there, it just went crazy, said Laberge. The year after, he started to incorporate LED Pixel lights, a Mega Tree – and he’s been adding more attractions every year.

“After four full years of working on it, it finally feels like I have a complete display.”

The Laberge Christmas Lights will be showing every day until January 3, from 4:30 to 9:30 pm between Sunday and Thursday, and from 4:30 to 10:30 pm, on Fridays and Saturdays.

Playlists, timings and more videos are available at laberge.christmas.

See also

Laberge Christmas Lights

Where: 753 Beachview Drive, North Vancouver

When: From December 3 to January 3; from Sunday to Thursday, from 4:30 to 9:30 pm, Fri day and Saturday from 4:30 to 10:30 pm, and until 11:30 pm on Christmas Eve.

Admission: By donation to Greater Vancouver Food Bank, more info at laberge.christmas


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Jenni Sheppard
Jenni is a former Senior Staff Writer at Daily Hive. Happy Vancouverite. Traveller, snowboarder, foodie, film fan, feminist, geek, cheesemaker, curler.

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