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Christmas, Events

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

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Jenni Sheppard Dec 15, 2017 4:12 pm 4,772

A home in North Vancouver is once again hosting an epic Christmas light animation show, this year featuring 18,000 LED lights set to music, all for charity.

The show on Beachview Drive takes over the driveway of the Laberge home every year, and now lasts 60 minutes, with three 20-minute segments and two short intervals.

Homeowner Paul Laberge has sequenced the lights – in the form of jumping salmon, a Christmas tree, and more – to songs including Moana’s How Far I’ll Go and the Star Wars theme.

Laberge told Daily Hive this year’s display is bigger than ever, with 60 homemade elements. He’s added an extra 3,000 LED lights, with new panels, poles, and grass illumination.

“All in all it’s probably 10 days of work, to set up, test, and debug, and then the sequencing of course takes a bunch of time too,” said Laberge.

“I’m getting lots of rave reviews. One fellow I know with his two kids, he’s been there eight nights in a row so far!”

Speaking to Daily Hive previously, Laberge explained there are light arches over the driveway too, 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 (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 20 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 Harvest Project.

“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 six 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.

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

The Christmas theme will run until Thursday, December 28, after which Laberge will be running a New Year’s-themed light show until early January.

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

See also

Laberge Christmas Lights

When: Christmas-themed lights will run until December 28, then New Year’s Eve-themed lights until early January.

Time: Sundays through Thursdays, 4:30 pm to 9 pm, Fridays and Saturday 4:30 pm to 10 pm, Christmas Eve 4:30 pm to midnight.

Where: 753 Beachview Drive, North Vancouver

Admission: By donation to the Harvest Project, 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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