Color Kinetics Inc. has announced its LED lighting technology plays a key “role” in Regency Enterprises’ family holiday comedy Deck the Halls, which Twentieth Century Fox releases nationwide on November 22.

The comedy, starring Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick as dueling neighbors, thrusts intelligent LED lighting into the national spotlight as DeVito’s character attempts to turn his house into the world’s biggest and most brilliant holiday display. His ambitions are realized when the entire house is transformed into a traffic-halting multimedia light show made possible by Color Kinetics’ LED technology.

“This is a film that literally hinges on the lighting—where the lights are a central character. Anything less than spectacular would have failed the story,” says Jason McKinnon of Electric Aura Lighting Design, who conceptualized the lighting sequences along with Rob Sondergaard. “Based on their highly programmable and durable nature, we knew that LEDs were the only feasible choice to make our concept a reality. Color Kinetics’ technology exceeded our expectations, allowing us to turn the house into a three-dimensional video display that is the movie’s climatic centerpiece.”

The project was achieved using Color Kinetics® iColor® Flex SL, which resembles a traditional holiday string light, but allows precise digital control of every node on the strand. Each thimble-sized node houses a tri-color LED that’s capable of producing 64 billion colors through additive color-mixing of red, green and blue light—much like a pixel in a video screen. Strands of iColor Flex SL lined the home’s exterior from top to bottom—comprising 14,300 nodes in all and essentially wrapping the home in a digital skin. Based on the vision of Deck the Halls director John Whitesell and production designer Bill Brzeski, holiday-themed light animations were designed and streamed via a media server to the LED nodes, which projected the content back.

“This is a milestone project for Color Kinetics, demonstrating both the power of our technology and the sophisticated level of programming that can be achieved with LED sources. Even by today’s elaborate standards, this is a holiday lighting display that breaks new ground in its ambitious scale and design—far surpassing the capabilities of conventional light sources,” says Bill Sims, president and CEO, Color Kinetics. “We’re very proud of our technology’s role in the film, and believe it will expose entirely new audiences to the near-infinite creative potential of intelligent LED lighting.”

With over 12,000 Color Kinetics installations in action worldwide, the technical feats achieved for Deck the Halls are just the latest example of the company’s world-leading expertise in intelligent LED lighting technology. Stakes were especially high for this project, however, as the entire lighting scheme had to be defined, installed and programmed in just five weeks.

Additional facts about Deck the Halls’ LED lighting installation

· At full intensity, the 14,300 LED nodes drew just 7,150 watts of energy—the equivalent of four average hairdryers.
· By comparison, wrapping the house in the same fashion with conventional exterior string lights* would have drawn approximately 100,100 watts—14 times more than the LED installation—yet without the capability for programmable effects.
· The electrical current draw of the entire LED installation was 126 amps— which is the approximate draw of 1.3 average households.
· By comparison, the same configuration using conventional exterior string lights* would have drawn 812 amps—approximately six-and-a-half times more than the LED installation, or the equivalent of eight houses’ worth of power.
· Each tri-color node of iColor Flex SL incorporates a microchip that was custom-designed by Color Kinetics, making it an individually programmable “pixel.”
· Filming was interrupted numerous times by small aircraft that were attracted to the set by the lights.

*Calculations based on conventional 7-watt C9 lamps.

November 2006 Issue