With just a few weeks to go before The Big Night, we know everyone is in full swing preparing for their Halloween celebration. And while the joys of this night is something we all have in common, how we celebrate it depends on a lot of local issues – weather, type of neighborhood, age of audience – so many things.
Which is why we are drawn to Marc Orfitelli’s great-looking Halloween setup at his Southington, Conn., home. Sure, his digital decoration displays are sharp and vibrant. But what makes it really special are all the subtle things he does to make sure his display is flexible and nimble enough to perform great no matter what happens.
Marc says that Halloween has been in his blood since childhood and even when he was a kid his family was known for setting up haunted houses. (Marc says that his father, now 81 years old, still “haunts” his house on Halloween wearing an old-school Frankenstein mask!) But it was six years ago that Marc discovered digital decorating, and that has radically changed how he decorates for the night.
“My goal is to minimize time spent setting up each year, and because weather in New England is unpredictable, I try to keep outdoor projections to a minimum and portable,” Marc tells us. “I focus on lighting and projections rather than props or animatronics.”
Marc says he has anywhere from 4 to 6 projectors going at one time – his more expensive projectors safely inside and his less expensive projectors out. You can see several great window and doorway projections, but the rear-projection in his garage is particularly stunning. Marc is using opaque plastic sheeting he found at the hardware store to cover the large opening; it does an amazing job capturing and holding the light from the projector. His display of the Halloween Monster Bash Digital Decoration Collection looks especially good.
We also love his homage to the singing busts a la Haunted Mansion (at the 4:37 video mark) that Marc created using coroplast sheets, which allow the image to display on both sides. Marc says he’s exploring opportunities to use AtmosFX Digital Decorations in the same fashion.
Needless to say, Marc’s house is well-known in the neighborhood; it is just down the street from an elementary school, and the schoolchildren are always eager to see what Marc is creating. For this reason, Marc creates two different digital decoration presentations. Before 8:30 p.m. he displays “Mischief on Maplewood,” a more kid-friendly presentation. After that, it’s “Mayhem on Maplewood,” which is a little more scary.
Marc has a few strategies to make it easy to change the theme of his digital decoration displays. “I start thinking of next year’s show the day after Halloween,” Marc tells us. “Planning, initial set up and digital editing usually starts September 1.” That digital editing means he’s able to string together multiple digital decorations into longer, thematically consistent presentations that are perfect for whatever audience is outside his house.
And that brings us to one more clever trick that Marc uses to make sure all the projectors in his digital decoration display are synced and the digital decorations can be easily changed.
“I can achieve the quick mood change from ‘Mischief on Maplewood’ to ‘Mayhem on Maplewood’ across all my projectors at the same time remotely by using Google Chromecast devices,” Marc tells us. “By doing this I can monitor each projector/screen on my computer in my house and quickly change the video playing by just dragging and dropping a new video into that stream. It works great and allows quick changes if needed on the fly.”
We love your innovation, Marc – it takes an already great Halloween display and makes it even better! We cannot wait to see what other tricks you have up your sleeve!
How has your Halloween digital decoration display changed over the years? What new details are you creating for this year? No matter what you are thinking of, we want to see it! Send your photos and videos to us using this easy submission form – you might just be the next AtmosFAN of the Week and earn a free digital decoration collection!