As the holiday season approaches, there’s a special kind of magic in the air. It’s the time of year when homes and streets come alive with twinkling lights, festive decorations, and the unmistakable spirit of Christmas. At Pund-IT, we embrace this time with open arms, and one of our own, Wayne LeDrew, takes it to a whole new level.
For the past decade, Wayne has been captivating the KW community with a light show that’s nothing short of spectacular. Picture this: a house filled with thousands of colourful lights, all dancing in perfect harmony with the rhythm of holiday melodies. Wayne’s home transforms into a magical wonderland every December.
Wayne’s journey into the world of synchronized light shows began with a family love for Christmas. As he says, “Christmas in the LeDrew household was always special for me. We used to drive around looking for Christmas lights with my Dad. Later, when my dad got sick, I decided to bring that all to one place if it was possible. I have been doing this for 10 years now, and it has become a family tradition of mine.”
Wayne’s show is more than a personal endeavour; it’s a gift to the community. The sheer dedication and passion he pours into this annual display brings neighbours and onlookers together, forging connections and memories that last a lifetime. Wayne explains, “I love the smiling faces watching the show. There are some very dedicated visitors I see over and over again. Through COVID, it became very popular for various reasons. When I start setting up in August, I love that people walk by and tell me that they cannot wait for the show. Pund-IT has always supported this hobby of mine in every way they could. The current FM transmitter we run was actually donated by Pund-IT.”
Wayne’s magical light show isn’t just about the aesthetics; it’s a carefully orchestrated dance of technology and creativity. The enchanting display is brought to life through a sophisticated setup that combines precision with a passion for the holiday season.
At the heart of the light show are WS2811 pixels. These specialized lights are not your ordinary Christmas bulbs; they’re designed to receive E1.31 data packets (tech jargon for how lights talk). Some of this data is retained while the rest is transmitted down the wire to communicate with the other pixels in the display. It’s this intricate data exchange that allows the lights to choreograph their performances.
The lights are connected to and driven by pixel controllers. Wayne relies on Kulp-based Beaglebone-powered Falcon-derived controllers to manage this complex orchestra of lights. Additionally, a Falcon player, powered by a Raspberry Pi, is employed to play the crafted sequences that sync the lights to the music.
In total, Wayne’s light show comprises seven controllers, collectively managing an astonishing three million channels! It’s this impressive scale and the technology that drives it that makes the show a true marvel.
Creating a light show of this magnitude requires more than just hardware, it demands sophisticated software to choreograph the intricate sequences. Wayne recommends and uses Xlights, an open-source program that’s a favourite among hobbyists.
It pushes the software to extremes – the files to build the show exceed 100 Gb; this year the server used to render the final show files was upgraded to dual AMD EPYC 7313 (32 cores @ 3.0 GHz) with 512 GB RAM, 2x Nvidia RTX 6000 GPUs – and it still takes about 9 minutes to compute. The final show files are about 8 Gb, plus music and video files. (Last year, on lesser hardware, it was more like 35 minutes to compute.)
At Pund-IT, we’re incredibly proud to have team members like Wayne, who go above and beyond to spread joy and happiness not only within our company but also throughout the Kitchener community. Wayne’s passion and dedication mirror the values we hold dear: commitment to excellence, creating memorable experiences, and fostering a sense of togetherness.
As Wayne gears up for another unforgettable light show this December, we invite you to join us in celebrating the holiday season. Wayne’s light show will run from December 1st to 31st, dazzling spectators from dusk (5:30 pm) to 11 pm. It’s a tradition that promises to make your heart glow with the warmth of the holidays.
So, mark your calendars and experience the magic at 100 Fairfield Ave, Kitchener, ON. Be sure to check out Wayne’s YouTube channel, “Listen to our Lights KW” where the lights come alive in perfect harmony with the music. It’s an alluring preview of the holiday spectacle you won’t want to miss.
At Pund-IT, we’re not just a tech company; we’re a family that believes in the power of spreading joy and creating unforgettable memories. This holiday season, let’s celebrate together, embrace the magic, and shine a little brighter, and if we can’t, let’s just listen to our lights!
Join us in counting down the days to December 1st, and let the holiday festivities begin!
Looking forward to more years of serving you well,
- The Pund-IT Team