Behind the scenes tour of the Johnson Christmas light show

5 months ago

I created this video in response to numerous questions I have received regarding our Christmas Light Show, which you can see at I start off with a basic yard tour of some of the elements, and then get into the details about how it is all put together. Towards the end, I go through all the technical details including the hardware, controllers, software, and networking. I have created the following index of video timestamps for specific topics within the video if you want to skip directly to what you are interested in rather than watch the whole video. I hope you enjoy it.

If you are interested in buying these and other light show products already built, please visit my new store Living Light Shows: You can also see some demonstration videos here of the products:

00:00 – Introduction to Behind the Scenes Tour
01:16 – Explanation on rails system used on hedges, brick, and roofline fascia board.
01:52 – Leaping light arches (If you are interested in how to build them, watch my how to video here:
02:21 – Pixel Trees: (If you are interested in how to build them, watch my how to video here:
02:53 – Pixel Matrix, Shutters, Brows, and Outlines (If you are interested in how to build a pixel matrix, watch my how to video here:
03:42 – Roofline rail system
04:28 – Outlines and vertical rails mounted on Brick
04:50 – FM Transmitter, Audio Mixer, Non-LED Light Controller (EDM Design w/RDS)
06:10 – Overview of Smart RGB Pixel lights and the different types used in my show (all are 12v WS2811 based pixels)
07:13 – Overview of Controllers (San Devices e682 pixel controllers)
09:02 – Tour of controller installation, Power supplies, and connections to pixels
09:56 – Overview of Show Player (Raspberry Pi running Falcon Pi Player FPP)
10:40 – Summary of Electronics, Software (Vixen 3), Storage, etc. and how it all interconnects
11:57 – Conclusion

I hope this answers many of the questions that you have and demystifies the whole process of setting up a Christmas light show. I have included part numbers and vendors where I purchased the items throughout the video in overlays.

If you are interested in building any of the elements you see in my lights show including the Pixel Arches, Pixel Trees, Matrix, Pixel Wreath, or Snowflakes, take a look at my How-To series here:

I would have loved to see a video like this when I first started in 2013, it would have saved hours of frustration, confusion, researching as well as money spent on items that were unnecessary or obsolete. I will update this video description, the FAQ on my website, and the comments below to answer anything I may have missed.

Other Helpful Resources and Vendors:

1. Do It Yourself Christmas (DIYC) forum (
2. Falcon Christmas (
3. Planet Christmas (
4. Australian Christmas Lighting & Computer Animation Forum (
5. Ray Wu store (
6. Amazon (
7. Vixen 3 sequencing software (

I would love to hear your feedback, thanks for watching!

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Matt Johnson
2014 Contestant on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”