Simon Horn takes train on magical holiday ride for Steam Illumination with ChamSys

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Seen from a distance, the Steam Illumination Christmas Train appears like a rolling band of moving light cutting through the dark night as it rolls past the farms and fields of the Hampshire countryside. To those inside, the experience is even more magical, as they find themselves immersed in a rotating tunnel of brilliant colors and patterns. Covered entirely by LED lights, this special 120-metrelong train seems like something out of a fantastical Hollywood Christmas movie suddenly come to life in South East England. The owner of Purple Lighting in West Sussex, Simon Horn was responsible for designing and programming the 78-universe Steam Illuminations lightshow with the help of his ChamSys MagicQ MQ500M console and MagicVis software. Horn spent two weeks programming and four months on background research for his show, which involved two Steam Illumination trains, each adorned with 14,000 individual fixtures. (Some fixtures are banked, so the console sees just shy of 10,000 heads and pixels). He programmed roughly 1000 cues for his show, breaking them down into an internally timecoded cue stack for each section, which cover the intervals between the two stations on the 20-mile roundtrip route as well as the time spent at each station. “I programmed everything on my MQ500M,” said Horn. “Although the design was originally built on another software, I ended up using the MagicVis Visuliser to preprogram this show, as it was far more stable and smoother with visualizing such a big array of
pixels.”

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