Get Ready for a Hauntingly Happy Halloween With AtmosFX

Crosspost Gadgets Hacking the Holidays Products Reviews

With Labor Day over, we’re rapidly heading towards Fall and that most delightfully geeky of holidays, Halloween. Much like I discussed in my review of their M1+ Holiday Bundle, AtmosFX provides a lot of great ways to decorate your home for Halloween, without needing to purchase and store large props.

What Is Digital Decorating?

With digital decorating, you download themed short films, which can then be viewed in a number of different ways, depending on how you want to decorate. They can be viewed on a television or computer screen, or projected onto different surfaces for varying effects. Here’s a short video from AtmosFX, which shows you the different ways you can use digital decorations:

 

Everything to Make Your Happy Home a Haunted House

AtmosFX recently sent me an assortment of their projection props, digital decorations, and hardware to cover. You’ll see how you can use them to make your home as spooky, or silly, as you want for Halloween.

Everything you need for a variety of decorations. Image by Paul Benson.

AtmosKIT Halloween

AtmosFX didn’t actually send the whole kit over, as I already had the Window Projection Material from my previous review. However, they did send the projector and decorations. Here’s what comes in the kit:

  • ViewSonic M1 mini Plus Ultra-Portable LED Short-Throw Projector
  • Protected by ViewSonic’s 3-Year Limited Warranty
  • 12 AtmosFX Halloween Decorations
  • AtmosFX Window Projection Material (4 feet by 6 feet)
  • $20 Decorations Voucher / Art Card (4 inch by 6 inch)
  • 4 Gigabyte USB Drive

The AtmosKIT Halloween costs $259 and is available here.

Everything that comes in the M1 mini Plus box. Image by Paul Benson.

The ViewSonic M1 mini Plus Ultra-Portable LED Short-Throw Projector is the little brother of the ViewSonic M1+ Portable LED Short-Throw Projector which I reviewed last year. It has a much smaller form factor, and while it has the same resolution as the M1+, the M1 mini has a much shorter battery life and lower brightness.

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I personally prefer the benefits of the M1+ which comes in the AtmosKIT Plus Halloween package. For an extra $100, you’re getting about a 6 hour battery life, more brightness, and a built-in tripod mount. However, if you can place the M1 mini somewhere that you can plug it in, this tiny projector is still quite capable. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide yourself which projector best suits your needs.

Here are some of the decorations from the AtmosKIT Halloween, which I projected onto the Hollusion Material in my yard (more on that in a bit). Do note that all of these scenes are animated and with sound; you can view videos of them and all of the other decorations directly on the AtmosFX website.

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Here are a few short clips of them in action. First,“Ghost Pirate, The Storm” from Ghostly Apparitions 3.

This one is “Bone Chiller Dance” from Bone Chillers 2.

And finally, “Perchers of the Night” from Halloween Moon.

If you’re looking for more digital decorating year-round, you could instead opt for the AtmosKIT All-Season. This is virtually the same as the Halloween kit, except the included decorations are for other times of the year including birthdays and holidays like Christmas. It does include one Halloween decoration also found in that other kit, and is also priced at $259.

One of the included Christmas decorations in the All-Season kit. Image by Paul Benson.

Hollusion Projection Material

Here’s what you get with the Hollusion Projection Material. Image by Paul Benson.

The Hollusion Projection Material is a thin but durable material, designed to create “hologram-like” images when projecting onto it. It costs $49 and is available here. Here’s what’s included:

  • 5.5 Foot by 9 Foot Hollusion Material
  • 12 Edge Grommets for Easy Hanging
  • 3M Peel-and-Stick Command Hooks

As you can see, you can create some very convincing spectral images. This one is the Grim Reaper from AtmosFX’ latest digital decoration package, Legends of Halloween.

A ghostly apparition appears. Image by Paul Benson.

I found that there was a bit too much light in this part of the yard for the Hollusion material, so I moved it to a darker area. I did discover one unfortunate side effect, however: when projecting onto the front of the material, you have to make sure that there’s nothing too close behind it, otherwise the light can bleed through and create double images, as you can see below:

Seeing double, thanks to my screen placement. Image by Paul Benson.

The screen was placed too close to the shed and fence behind it, so I was getting some distracting double images. An obvious fix for this, and one which I’ll likely take in the future for convincing projections, is to do rear projection of the decorations onto the Hollusion Projection Material instead of front projections.

Here’s what my temporary setup looked like, using a backdrop stand to hold the Hollusion Projection Material:

My test setup. Image by Paul Benson.

While I had a rather obvious screen set up in my yard to try out the decorations, there are much better uses for the Hollusion Projection Material when actually decorating. You can mount it in a doorway or hallway, or I’ve even seen it set up on a rooftop. Because the fabric is sheer, it will become practically invisible in the dark.

3DFX FORM

Contents of the 3DFX Form package. Images by Paul Benson.

The 3DFX Form is a “projection prop.” Some of AtmosFX’ digital decorations are designed specifically for use with this prop. With it, you’ll get three-dimensional, life-sized characters brought to life. The effect is very similar to the singing busts at The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland.

The core of the form is an inflatable, man-sized shape. The bottom chamber can be either inflated, or filled with sand or water for stability.

The inflatable core of the 3DFX Form. Image by Paul Benson.

You then drape the included projection material over the form, clipping it from behind to hold it in place. AtmosFX recommends that you use a fabric steamer to remove any creases or wrinkles in the material. I didn’t have one on hand, and you can definitely see that I would have benefited from using one.

One of the Boo Crew. Image by Paul Benson.

Because of the nature of shooting onto the form, a very careful placement of the projector is vitally important. That being said, the 3DFX Form can provide a very convincing 3D image, much more apparent in person than what you can see in photos and video.

The 3DFX Form can be a very fun addition to your holiday display. They cost $69, or you can get a $20 discount on the purchase of three forms. You can find them here.

AtmoSonic Bluetooth Speaker

One of my regrets in using the Window Projection Material in my review last year was that I didn’t have any speakers to place outdoors to provide sound for the decorations. Thankfully, that problem has now been solved with the Philips AtmoSonic Bluetooth Speaker.

Speaker, strap, and charging cable. Image by Paul Benson.

The speaker is $79 and available here. These are the key features:

  • Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
  • Waterproof for Outdoor Use (IP67 Rating)
  • Rechargeable Battery with 12-Hour Play Time
  • Link Two Speakers for Stereo Pairing
  • FREE AtmosFX Halloween Hits Album Download

I found it effortless to pair the AtmoSonic Bluetooth Speaker with the Atmos M1 mini projector. The 20w speaker can get quite loud, though you’ll start to get a bit of distortion at the highest volume. It’s also very compact, so can be readily concealed along with your decorations. For example, when using the 3DFX Form, you’d probably want to place the speaker behind the prop so that the voice seemed to be coming from it, instead of from the speaker on the projector placed several feet away.

Legends of Halloween

As I’d mentioned earlier, AtmosFX also sent along their most recent digital decoration collection, Legends of Halloween. The collection has several scenes featuring three iconic figures: The Grim Reaper, The Headless Horseman, and The Pumpkin King.

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There are multiple display modes, including Hollusion, wall, window, and even using your television if you don’t have a projector. The entire collection is $59, or you can purchase scene collections of the individual characters for $29 each here.

Final Thoughts

When I reviewed the AtmosFX M1+ Holiday Bundle last year, I got to see for myself the power of digital decorating. But little did I know that I was just seeing the tip of the iceberg. Or rather, I was just seeing digital decorating through my window.

The 3DFX Form and Hollusion Projection Material open up all new possibilities for decorating for the holidays. With Boo Crew, you can have a ghost tell stories, jokes, and sing to your guests. You can even have three ghosts, if you have two extra 3DFX Forms. Or, if you want something a little spookier, you can have various members of a ghostly family visiting you with Macabre Manor.

The digital decoration packs available at AmosFX provide different movie files optimized for various ways to project them. That way, you’ll have your best, most convincing effects, no matter whether you’re using the Hollusion Material, the Window Projection Material, or even just a blank wall or garage door.

The Jack O’ Lantern Jamboree series even has a mode that allows you to project just the animated features directly onto pumpkins, so that it looks like your Jack O’ Lanterns have come to life! I’m looking forward to trying that out myself this Halloween. I’ll hide the AtmoSonic speaker behind the pumpkins, so it will give the illusion that the pumpkins are actually speaking and singing.

AtmosFX provides a wide variety of props and digital decorations that allow you to decorate year-round. If you have a 3DFX Form, you can even have Santa appearing lifesize with The Night Before Christmas 3DFX Bundle. But with October on the horizon, we’re discussing Halloween. And that’s certainly where AtmosFX has you covered.

There’s a huge variety of Halloween-themed digital decorations available from AtmosFX. Ghosts? Check. Zombies? Got it. Kid friendly? You bet. Scare the @#$! out of you? Oh yeah. There’s even a digital decoration bundle from the horror movie Trick ‘r Treat.

If you’re ready to make the plunge into digital decorating for the holidays, or want to expand your current collection of digital decorations, then head over to the AtmosFX website and see everything they have to bring the haunt to your house. But be aware that their projections materials and props often sell out before Halloween, so if you want to pick up any of them, be sure to grab them early.

And if you’re really lucky, you might also be able to win some digital decorations, a gift card, or even an M1 Mini Portable Projector directly from AtmosFX! The contest runs until 12pm PDT on September 21st. You can enter here.

Note: AtmosFX sent over items for evaluation, but had no input into this review.

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