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Projection Haunting #2 – The Bates Haunt

First Haunt on the Hill took a look at projection haunting with Mark Gervais of Hallowindow.  You can read all about it here!

This week we continue our inside look at outside projecting with Dave Bates of the Bates Haunt.  I came across Bates’ work on YouTube one day and was blown away at just how amazing his display is and to top it all off, he does it all using only ONE projector!  

Check out a video here, but I warn you, the song will get stuck in your head:

As with Mark Gervais, Dave was nice enough to let me interview him.  And here it is:

Haunt on the Hill: As far as I can tell, you sort of started the idea of projection haunting.  I had never seen it before coming across your YouTube vids.  How did you get the idea?

Dave Bates: I think I was the first one to do large scale projections on the outside of a building as far as I know.  I always had wanted to haunt using a projector.  I assume this is because I am a Haunted Mansion fan, and also because I was getting tired of setting up a big prop based haunt every year.

HotH: Where do the ideas for the songs come from?

Bates: Basically I am trying to give each element of the haunt a song.  I want to do a ghost song next.  We’ll see if it happens this year.  I’m a fan of many different types of music, so I’m trying to mix it up a bit without totally messing up the feel (other than the Kiss song).  The first song came from my desire to have a theme for my haunt like Grim Grinning Ghosts.  It is supposed to channel the same feeling as that song and another mostly unknown kids song called “This is Halloween”.

HotH: If you had to give someone some quick advice on how to set up a projector for a Halloween display, what would your top tips be?

 Bates: Hook it up and try it out.  Projections and fog don’t work well together, and use really high contrast images.

HotH: I see a lot of people getting into using projectors in their displays, what is the next step?  Where do you see your projections in the future?

Bates: I did a project combining animatronics and projection, and I would like to do some 4D effects synced to the projection next.  This year I’m going to try to utilize the new High Def projection to add more details to the show.

HotH: Your haunt is not exactly “terrifying”.  It is more of a stop and watch display, which is what I try to go for with mine.  Is that what you were going for?

Bates: I carefully try to walk the line between scary and funny, much the way the Haunted Mansion does.  I don’t really get into the gore… I’d rather it just be cool, fun , and atmospheric.  But I have some plans to step it up a bit.  I’d also like to make it more interactive too as computers get faster and more capable.

HotH: If people wanted to get a copy of your videos for their own haunts, how would they do so?

Bates: I didn’t want to do this for a long time because I like being different, and I didn’t want knock offs of my haunt all over.  But due to popular demand I do offer a resource DVD with many of the elements in my show on my website.  Through the purchases I have been able to purchase a new projector, software and a video camera to help me in my efforts.  Thanks everyone!  I also have the eyeball available for free online as well.  I might be adding to the freebies soon because the DVDs are a pain.

HotH: What’s the best reaction you ever got from a trick-or-treater?  Worst?

Bates: My favorites are the little kids that don’t dare to come up the driveway.  One little girl freaked out when the jaws appeared on the garage right in front of her.  I don’t get a chance to watch much because I’m busy doing the glowing hand that gives the treats ;-). I haven’t really had too many bad apples come to visit, so I don’t know if there has been a worst.

Thanks Dave!  For more info, check out Dave’s website here!  And be sure to check back on the site this Friday for part three of projection haunting, when we look at Scaremation!

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