Newspaper article on HighTechScience.org's
Halloween Sound, Light & Laser Show

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The following article appeared October 22, 2009 in the

 "Halloween show a thriller for the neighborhood".

By Lona O'Connor
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Posted
October 22, 2009

   BOCA RATON — With the economy scarier than anything this Halloween, Rick Newman is hoping to offer a few grins - for free.

   A longtime light-and-sound guy, Newman is producing a show in his front yard for the second year in a row.

   "A lot of people don't have the money to put up decorations," said Newman, 53. "So they can come here and watch a free show. It always puts a smile on people's faces."

   The half-hour show runs from 7 to 11 p.m. nightly. People park nearby to watch the show, which includes classic Halloween songs like Thriller, Monster Mash, Witch Doctor, Time Warp and, of course, scary organ music, howling wolves and rattling chains.

   They need not leave the comfort of their cars if they tune to 107.3 FM radio.

   This year Newman added thunderstorm effects, which he taped from real Florida storms. There are also synchronized red & green laser lights and smoke.

   Newman's dungeon (garage) includes a cackling witch, a headless man, a mad scientist and shrieking ghouls, but nothing too intense for tots, he said.

   It took him about 15 days to program the show, which is automated on a computer chip.

   Newman's day job includes producing science shows for schools and camps as well as a compact disc and DVD copying business.

   He also has what may be the world's largest robot collection; the Guinness Book of World Records is vetting it for that title. He has worked on sound-and-light shows for famous Catskills hotels including Grossinger's and the 20th Woodstock reunion through his company, High Tech Productions.

   Far from objecting to the show, his neighbors are on board: One of them opened up a side yard for parking when the traffic gets thick.

   Here's how he does it: "I set the whole thing up on a regular computer, sequence the lights and other effects to music in one-tenth-of-a-second increments and then save the whole thing to a 2-gigabyte SD card. The card goes into the main Light-o-Rama control box outside my house and every light and effect is plugged into that."

Got that?

   The Halloween show at his home (699 N.W. Ninth Ave.) comes down Nov. 2, so Newman can get his grass mowed before, you guessed it, he sets up the Christmas show.

   "This is nothing," said Newman of his Halloween show. "You should see what I do for Christmas."

   This year he has added a second 30-minute show, one with classic Christmas and Hanukah songs, and the other a disco version. The Christmas show includes 25,000 lights, mostly LED.

   "I barely notice the difference in my electric bill," said Newman.

   To view a short video of the Halloween show, visit HighTechScience.org/halloween.htm


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