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Besides taking the photographs with lights on, I'd also like to suggest, having a period of time before the show with the lights on the layout itself. Maybe have it get darker as you get closer to the show. And perhaps it already is lighter than the pictures lead us to believe. I just know that for me, part of my enjoyment of seeing a layout is appreciating all of the details, which gets lost when all of the lights are off. I think a good compromise is having a blue light shine down on the layout. This gives you light, but also gives the appearance of daylight, as well as invokes a lot of feelings that the Polar Express movie gave. Or just sporadic spot lights from light poles on the layout itself highlighting various pieces.

Anyway, just suggestions from someone who has never seen it in person. I just see so many Youtube videos of Christmas layouts done in the complete dark and it just all blends together. I can't notice that this building is a library, that figure is chopping wood, oh look at that wagon over there, etc.

Looking forward to the rest of your pictures and videos these next few weeks!
 

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Discussion Starter #43
I just got my January 2020 issue of Classic Toy Trains and what to my wondering eyes should appear but an excellent article and pictures of the Redford Theatre and your Christmas layout! Plus a photograph of the two fellas that spearheaded the building of it, Jacob Malbouef and Mark Baum. Great job by all in building that great looking seasonal train layout for the public. Seems to me there was a similar article on this exhibit a year or two back. Wish I could see all you have done up close but not possible.
Incidentally, I have been to the Greenfield Village and rode one of the trains on the grounds. Another great job of keeping those old trains alive.

Kenny

Thanks Kenny, glad you enjoyed the article about last year's layout. Roger Carp did a great job with it and we're very excited to have it finally published.

We haven't had an article prior to this one, but we were in one of the front pages of an MTH catalog a year or two ago for being one of the runners up in their "Blue Comet Award" which was great as well. Our layout was also featured in a Christmas 2017 Facebook ad that Chevrolet produced. They purchased a number of flatcars and mounted die cast models of their various products and also placed them throughout the layout for filming.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
Jake the trainman is becoming more famous then the Rod Steward layout. :):thumbsup:

Video preview of CCT's January issue. Jake's masterpiece is previewed.

https://ctt.trains.com/videos/issue-previews/2019/11/preview-the-january-2020-issue-of-classic-toy-trains-magazine
I'm not sure about that... but we were very honored to have been contacted by Roger Carp at Classic Toy Trains last year about doing an article on the layout. We sent him the information and photos taken by my dad and he produced a very nice article. We're happy to see it out there.
 

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Discussion Starter #45
Besides taking the photographs with lights on, I'd also like to suggest, having a period of time before the show with the lights on the layout itself. Maybe have it get darker as you get closer to the show. And perhaps it already is lighter than the pictures lead us to believe. I just know that for me, part of my enjoyment of seeing a layout is appreciating all of the details, which gets lost when all of the lights are off. I think a good compromise is having a blue light shine down on the layout. This gives you light, but also gives the appearance of daylight, as well as invokes a lot of feelings that the Polar Express movie gave. Or just sporadic spot lights from light poles on the layout itself highlighting various pieces.

Anyway, just suggestions from someone who has never seen it in person. I just see so many Youtube videos of Christmas layouts done in the complete dark and it just all blends together. I can't notice that this building is a library, that figure is chopping wood, oh look at that wagon over there, etc.

Looking forward to the rest of your pictures and videos these next few weeks!
Thanks for your constructive criticism. I've definitely been considering every point.

As far as the lighting goes, we're pretty well stuck with what we have. The theater is an atmospheric theater, meaning it is designed to make you feel like you're sitting outside under a night sky (twinkling stars and clouds included), so by nature it is a pretty dark room. Any spotlights we put on the layout would have to come from the rail on the front of the balcony or from the stage behind. The trouble with that, is the lighting from behind doesn't evenly illuminate everything causing shadows and then the people viewing the layout would cast shadows as well from the lights shining behind them. Portions of this year's layout are definitely dimmer than I'd hoped for, but most of the detail is visible much better than the pictures show.

I think I got some better photos and a few videos today. I'll assemble them when I have time and post them on YouTube and then share it here.
 

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Excellent Jake. :smilie_daumenpos:

I don't need pictures anymore the video took care of that.
The 5 min video took me over 10 with pausing it to take everything in. :)
Nicely shot, slow like and up close to take it all in. :thumbsup:
You can't see the details from looking at the earlier pictures.

Sorry if you already mentioned this but, are all those buildings and things yours?
 

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Emmy ... Oscar? :smilie_daumenpos:
Mike I meant to add this but forgot.
Thanks for lightening the pictures up, but this is what I was talking about.
Now one can see all the details close up.
Things like the old tires piled up against the building, the harbor boats, the dog and the dog house, the guy working on the car with the toolbox next to him, etc etc.

Even though you lightened the pictures up you can't see all that.
In the video you can pause it and take it all in.:thumbsup:

I wish I was closer I would surly make a visit to Jake's place.:smokin:
 

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Discussion Starter #51
Thanks guys! I'm glad the video helped show off the layout a little better than the photos.

We definitely crammed a lot in and if anything it may be a little too busy... :D but I'm happy with the results overall
 

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Great job! There's never enough lights
 

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... We definitely crammed a lot in and if anything it may be a little too busy... :D but I'm happy with the results overall
Well it looks great to us. A highlight of the season on MTF. And congratulations on the CTT expo.

On a different note, I have a thought that may help in the future.

IIRC, you previously had some 3-dimensional facades on the second level's riser walls. And, IIRC, last year you opted instead for vertical walls to gain some scenery space. And you ran the "snow" down the walls. Looked great.

You could "paint" scenes on those panels; if there's the artistically gifted in your group. Me, I'm not. So I find photos, cut and paste them and then print a "wallpaper" to glue to the panels. You could portray portals around the tunnel openings, ivied brick walls, store fronts, backdrops for the existing scenery, flora, fauna, whatever. Additional scenery w/o additional space. And it doesn't add any more items or effort in the construction (maybe a little more care during transport/storage). Printed, pasted in place, and a coat or two of rattle can clear.

In a way, it kinda' simplifies the assembly by not adding to it.

Just a thought.

Walls.png
 

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Discussion Starter #54
Thanks for the suggestions. I've definitely been planning nice tunnel portals since we went that route last year, but unfortunately I've not had the time to do the work up to now. At some point in the future I still hope to add something a bit nicer. I hadn't thought of the other details though, I'll have to consider that.
 

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Jake, I have not bought any trains magazines in a while. One of my Christmas presents was a years of Classic Toy Trains.

I just got the January 2020 and what do I see first is your table and story.
And more history on the Redford theatre then I knew.

Spell check is flagging theatre to theater? :confused:

Nice article, proud of you Jake and buddy.
You did a good thing. :smilie_daumenpos:
Is your friend a member here?

One thing I noticed is the pictures look like a painting instead of a photo.
Did someone paint some pictures or is that a trick in photography?

Well done Jake. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #56
Jake, I have not bought any trains magazines in a while. One of my Christmas presents was a years of Classic Toy Trains.

I just got the January 2020 and what do I see first is your table and story.
And more history on the Redford theatre then I knew.

Spell check is flagging theatre to theater? :confused:

Nice article, proud of you Jake and buddy.
You did a good thing. :smilie_daumenpos:
Is your friend a member here?

One thing I noticed is the pictures look like a painting instead of a photo.
Did someone paint some pictures or is that a trick in photography?

Well done Jake. :thumbsup:
Glad you enjoyed the article Ed. I believe my buddy is a member on another forum, but isn't terribly active there either.

The photos are just photos, although I believe my dad did some post-processing of them to get the lighting to look OK. He had a tough time working with the LED's under the snow as they caused some weird problems with the camera. In the end they turned out pretty nicely though.
 
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