I started late this year as usual, and didn't realize till too late that I never backed up all the work I did for 2004. As a result, the skeleton and bad guy in the upstairs window didn't make it back for this year, as I had to start with the 2003 project again.

Hanging out with my friend Robert Wolf, and seeing that some other haunts had signature music convinced me that I needed to write a song in the same vein as "This is Halloween" and my favorite "Grim Grinning Ghosts", so I started to write a poem and the music for my song. It turned out very well (considering it was my first attempt to write a song from scratch). I used Audacity to perform and work out the 4 part harmony for it.

I am always looking for interesting things to do with keying, matting, and other video tricks to avoid doing animation which always sounds too tedious for me (in addition to the fact that I don't have any tools to do it). I ended up coming up with an idea of how to perform a pumpkin face with my face and post process it into something that would project well onto the giant orange garbage bags the are becoming popular. The Saturday before the big night I finally got around to trying it out. With makeup all over my face, a T-Shirt covering my hair and neck, and my teeth all blacked out, I recorded each pumpkin face, making modifications for each pumpkin. My daughter was really freaked out by my looks and kept telling me she didn't like me, but it worked out perfectly!

Me playing the pumpkins. On the bottom you can see me in my wife's sunglasses. It's no wonder my daughter was concerned!

I was tired of not using the full capabilities of my 800x600 projector (and the pumpkins needed all the resolution they could get), so I decided early on that I wanted to use an MP4 movie at 800x600. That meant putting my laptop across the street to run the loop via VGA into the projector. Out of necessity I worked up a way to extend the range of my TuneCast FM transmitter across the street, and it ended out working nice after some last minute power adapter hacking. My video/audio broadcaster from X10.com is just not stable enough. I used my surround soundreceiver this year for the amp so I could put a center channel speaker by the pumpkins so they could actually sing.

This year I also switched to Premiere Pro since I was having frequent crashes on Premiere 6.5 due to the complexity of my project. Needless to say, IT ROCKS! I was able to break the whole thing up into sequences and compile them all back into the main project to maintain my sanity. No more crashes (at least not many) and I could use the cool new spline based animation stuff for my ghosts!