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October 10, 2013

Halloween Tech

Filed under: General — borth @ 11:30 am

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays of the year. It’s one that I wish would be more than just one night, but with the right decorations, you can make it last the whole month. The preparation of your decorations is a great bonding experience for your family and teaches your kids creativity and little bit of science and technology. I am going to share with you some techniques I’ve used over the years that fascinate Halloween goers and make your house the highlight of the neighborhood.

Window Projections

Difficulty: easy to medium depending on your setup

Last year, I tried digital window projections that had kids coming by saying ‘we had to come by the eyeball house’ and parents asking how it was done. This can be accomplished with a projector, white sheet, laptop, and a scary video. I downloaded an eyeball video and a lightning video from Hallowindow and projected it onto a sheet in the second story of our house. To get two eyeballs in different windows, I transmitted my video wirelessly using the Wireless 5×2 Matrix. This allowed me to have the same video so the eyeballs look at the same place at the same time making it look real. You can also use the Wireless HD Digital Kit for this effect which also costs less.


Setup

  • Purchase your video. Download here: Hallowindow
  • Hang a white sheet around the interior side of the window you want to project onto.
  • Setup your Wireless 5×2 Matrix or Wireless HD Digital Kit and start playing the video. Place the receiver in the secondary room.
  • Setup your projector in each room and project onto the backside of the white sheet hanging in front of the window.
  • Enjoy

Note: For an effective projection, you projector should have around 2000+ lumens.

Use promotional code HALLOWEEN2013 for a 15% discount at ShopIOGEAR.com for the IOGEAR products listed in this blog. This promotional code is valid only at ShopIOGEAR.com until Oct 31st, 2013 11:59PM PT. Hurry now as supplies may not last.

The video below is a Zombie invasion using the same techniques and a video from AtmosFEARfx. Setup is easy, but it may take some fine tuning to get it look just right. AtmosFearFX has many different videos which you can transmit to different projectors giving a variety of options. These are the videos I plan on using this year.

Singing Halloween Pumpkins

Difficulty: easy to medium depending on your setup

This is another great projection effect that is a bit more kid friendly and requires less money to execute. It is a similar technique used in the cemetery scene of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland with the singing statues. In the video below, Erie Acres Cemetery shows how simple the setup can be.

Note: in the video above, there may be issues with the battery life of your iPhone. See the IOGEAR products below to keep you iPhone running through the night.

There are several options you can use to get this setup. The first option you need to consider is the projector. You can purchase a pico projector (pocket projector) or a full size projector. It may be slightly cheaper to purchase a pico projector, but purchase a larger projector if you intend to use it for other purposes. In the video above, a 3M pico projector is being used and it seems to be the 32 lumens unit. Based on the results in the video, this may be sufficient for this effect. However, we have not tested it and cannot confirm the results. Update: AtmosFEARFX suggested that a 2000 lumen projector should be used due to potential light pollution. The greater the light pollution, the greater the lumens needed.

The second option to consider is the video player. You can use a DVD player, iPhone/iPad/iPod or other smartphone/tablet with video output, and a pc or laptop. The AtmosFEARfx videos are not formatted to play on Blu-ray players. Just note that if you use an iPhone, you may have to purchase the digital download. The digital download version is in mp4 format, while the DVD version is in a VBO format. If you end up buying the DVD, you may have to purchase video format conversion software to use it on other devices other than a DVD. If you decide to use an iPhone to output your video to the projector, IOGEAR offers a few products to help you in your setup.

IOGEAR products for an iPhone/iPad/iPod setup (iPhone 3GS w/ iOS4, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPad iOS 4&5, iPad 2 iOS 4&5, and iPod Touch Gen 4 or later. Does not work with iOS 7), you can use the Composite AV Cable with Charge and Sync for iPhone / iPod to output audio & video from you Apple device while charging it at the same time to keep it running during the evening. Just make sure that the projector can accept standard composite (yellow, white, red) inputs or has an adapter to do so. To keep your phone or tablet charged while running the battery draining video, you can use an IOGEAR GearPower Battery Pack. The GMP10K Portable Battery Pack is one of the most powerful in the mobile industry and will provide plenty of extended play time for your mobile device. If your mobile device does not have enough memory storage space, you can pick up the IOGEAR MediaShair which can transmit the video via USB flash drive, hard drive, or SD card to your mobile device.

To setup the audio, you can use speakers you have around the house that will accept the audio output of your device. I would suggest a bluetooth speaker that can connect to your phone or other device so you can place the speakers where you want.

You can purchase the singing pumpkin DVD from AtmosFEARfx or purchase a digital download at pond5.com. The digital downloads are pricier. You can get a full DVD for less than the price of one download at pond5. The digital downloads were formatted for more professional haunts, and thus, the price reflects that.

Use promotional code HALLOWEEN2013 for a 15% discount at ShopIOGEAR.com for the IOGEAR products listed in this blog. This promotional code is valid only at ShopIOGEAR.com until Oct 31st, 2013 11:59PM PT. Hurry now as supplies may not last.

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borth Halloween Tech borth (6 Posts)

Brandon is a web developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, Javascript, and jQuery and has been developing since 2005. Brandon has been with IOGEAR since 2010. He is recently married with one kid, a Chihuahua, name Cisco (he was adopted with that name). Brandon enjoys playing golf, baseball, programming, science, technology, movies, music, and much more. Always make a side dish without onions and cilantro; he's allergic. Isn't that weird?

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  • edpeters101

    Hww ’bout that, they give you one HDMI cable to hook up your two TVs! Gotta love the no common sense people in the marketing department.. YMMV

    Reply

    admin Reply:

    Hi Ed,

    Thank you for the feedback. I’m assuming you are referring to the Wireless HDMI products. We created those products due to the demand for wireless HDMI. HDMI can travel only a limited distance requiring a booster to extend the signal. The wireless HDMI products allow you to send the HDMI wirelessly without having to cut holes in the walls allowing for an easy setup. If you are going a short distance, we do have products that will help you split the HDMI signals using two HDMI cables. For some, this may be the optimal solution.

    Reply

    Orth Brandon Reply:

    Hi Ed,

    Thank you for the feedback. I’m assuming you are referring to the
    Wireless HDMI products. We created those products due to the demand for
    wireless HDMI. HDMI can travel only a limited distance requiring a
    booster to extend the signal. The wireless HDMI products allow you to
    send the HDMI wirelessly without having to cut holes in the walls
    allowing for an easy setup. If you are going a short distance, we do
    have products that will help you split the HDMI signals using two HDMI
    cables. For some, this may be the optimal solution.

    Reply

    edpeters101 Reply:

    Your (I assume normal hook up) image shows the Transmitter goiing to HDTV1 with a cable (HDMI?) and the Receiver going to HDTV2 (HDMI?)? So I would kinda think there would be 2 HDMI cables, but what would I know..

    Reply

    Orth Brandon Reply:

    Hi Ed,
    In both products referenced, a HDMI cable comes out of the transmitter to HDTV1. It then transmits the A/V signal to receiver. From the receiver, a second HDMI is needed to go to HDTV2. In essence you are right, it does need 2 HDMI cables, but the need to run the HDMI from room to room is eliminated. You are right in that each kit comes with only 1 HDMI cable.