Holiday Lights, ‘Gangnam Style’

“Gangnam Style,” the dance hit  by Korean pop star PSY, has become perfect fodder for video reenactments worldwide, from dancing Thai prisoners to Ellen Degeneres’ JCPenney takeover to dancing lights.

Yes, dancing lights.

Texan John Storms “choreographed” his holiday light display to the record breaking hit. In a clip posted on YouTube (which has over 700,000 views), twinkly Christmas trees, snowflakes, wreaths and icicle lights blink on and off in sync with the music.

After watching the video I couldn’t stop wondering how, and why, Storms did it. So, I caught up with him to get some answers.

For the past few years, he’s been decking out his family home in a spectacular menagerie of holiday lights and setting the entire display to music. He chooses tunes based on what his family likes and what’s popular. This year’s show has about a dozen songs.

Storms started the extravagant displays as a way to continue the “aww factor” of his childhood and share it with others–and, it’s working. Storms said kids dance in the street and families tell him his “dancing house” has become part of their holiday tradition. “We do it to bring a moment of joy to the kids,” he said.

Storms lights up for the first time on Thanksgiving Eve and keeps it going until New Years Eve. Each year, he stocks up on cheap decorations during holiday sales, starts song selection and sequencing in September, then dresses up the house and tests the lights in November.

As a software quality assurance engineer, using Light-O-Rama software to sequence the lights and music isn’t too tricky (though, some songs are harder than others), Storms said, and he makes his work available for other hobbyists to use in their own displays. He breaks each song down into foreground, background, vocals, etc. and then programs the lights accordingly. Each piece of the display, be it a tree or a light strand, is on its own “channel” that Storms can turn up, down, fade up or fade out.

For a technical “how-to” of the show, check out Storms’ site. To see more light shows, visit his YouTube page.

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