Summer Light Phantom

From The Agency, comes this great looking project- shot at night in the forest of Fontainebleau. Romain tells me they first shot the band members in their photo studio. Then, during the night in the forest of Fontainebleau, they projected their portraits on the rocks and trees and then took about 600 pictures (like a stop-motion). Finally, they assembled the pictures and added a camera traveling (parallax) and transitions between pictures (morphing) with Apple’s Motion software. Love that they did it on the fly, with a car battery and an inverter!

- video projector Optoma 3000 lumens
- electrical converter
- power supply car battery
- laptop
- midi keyboard
- camera Nikon D800

- Apple Motion
- Apple Final Cut

Summer Light Phantom from Le3 on Vimeo.

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Obscura Permanent Projectionmapping at the Hive

Projectionmapping artists Obscura recently installed a HUGE permanent projectionmapping rig for The Hive, a night club in Copenhagen. The decorations for the walls were modelled in SketchUp and transformed into flat shapes using the Pepakura Software. The different fragments were then laser cut in thick cardboard. Assembling the pieces wasn’t easy, but with patience and small nails, acrylic foam and other remedies they were put onto the wall and fastened.
They used six 4000 lumen Acer projectors for covering the two walls. They were mounted below the ceiling to cover 11 by 3 meters on each wall. The connections were made using HDMI cables. The longest stretch was approximately 15 meters – about the furthest you can go without amplification.
A Mac Pro with an ATI Radeon 5870 graphics card was connected to two TrippleHead2Go devices. On the machine, Madmapper handled the precise mapping of pre rendered graphics to the physical shapes. But apart from that we created a box with buttons that allows the employees to switch between the different prerecorded video loops. The box was created using an Arduino board that communicates with Max/MSP on the computer. Max/MSP handles the timing, fading and switching between modes and forwards a midi signal to MadMapper which then reacts by switching between between presets. Also it was a requirement that a VJ should be able to connect to the system. The VJ switches to a setting on the Arduino box and plugs in a DVI cable. This mode is handled by a Blackmagic capture card that forwards the VJ signal into Milumin. Here the VJ signal is adjusted to the dimensions of the walls (the signal is tiled and mirrored) and the output from Milumin is then via Syphon put into MadMapper.

So once again we see a prime example of how a little thought and ingenuity go a long way. Expensive components and complex gear need not be the purvey of video, mapping, or permanent installs, indeed- you can get some pretty astounding results with less. Nice work Obscura!

Permanent mapping installation at The Hive from Obscura on Vimeo.

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Butler Ballet’s Nutcracker


My desk for the next week:

I’ll be running video and various other things for the Butler Ballet’s Nutcracker. It’s a huge production- 100 piece orchestra, 130 cast, kitchen sink and all. I use a Digital Projection Lightning 35hd fed by a Macbook Pro to shoot about 130′. Processing is done with Modul8 and Madmapper. The snow animation that I run was made in Apple’s Motion 5, and the wintery still-shot in the background is a perfect snowy day in front of my house. No real ‘mapping’ per se, but Madmapper makes it really easy to fire up a preset and fine tune the exact size of the scene.

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Integrated Visions Productions


I recently had the pleasure of discovering Integrated Visions Productions, LLC. And their work is great!  IVP is a multimedia design lab comprised of Bryan and Michelle Dodson, VJ’s who focus on creating stimulating 3d content for projection mapping.  They’ve done a number of pretty cool projects including “guerilla mapping” in Brooklyn where they set up a 20k Christie roadster and shot onto a building for one night, shooting some great content onto one of my old stomping grounds- Hollywood and Highland, and projecting onto a Delta 767. My personal fave is a project for Asylum, a club in Macon Georgia. They ended up tiling a 136′ wide screen with six Sanyo PLC-XU106 4,500-lumen projectors. To quote Bryan,“For the ultra-wide screen, we used a Mac Pro Quad core with four NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 graphics cards running Garage Cube Modul8 to drive the projectors,” says Brian Dodson. “This system was designed to mix custom video files in realtime, allowing a VJ to synchronize visuals to the DJ’s mix.”
To map video onto columns around the room, the team used a Windows XP system running Resolume Avenue and several 2,500-lumen projectors. “This machine is synced to the main projection system with MIDI, allowing it to run as a slave to the main system,” adds Bryan. Check out the write ups here.  They also run a blog dedicated to the video mapping craze here.  Dig their work and the following vid!

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IEP Productions 35′ Curved Screen


A couple of good friends are currently projecting this great looking 7′x35′ curved screen with six 20k projectors. My friend Marshall Kreeb is the projectionist and he quotes “We’re using rear projected Barco FLM HD 20′s (20,000 lumens) blended 4 wide on a 7′ X 35′ Rosco Grey surface (5:1 ratio). They’re all being fed HD-SDI. The background layer source is a media server and we’re dropping in PIPs of PPT, Imag (via a separate Echo Lab switch), and Playback (Playback Pro on a Mac). Overall resolution is 2560X512, which means we have somewhere around 760 pixels of blended area, although I did try to overshoot this thing a little bit to make the blend area smaller because with those numbers we’re talking about close to 40% of the image being blended area (I’d say we’re around 30% of blended area). I don’t know the actual pitch of the curve in the screen unfortunately. I can tell you the most challenging part is the fact that the surface is not only curved away from the projectors horizontally, but due to the width is also billowed away from the projectors in the vertical plane as well. So essentially, I have a surface that is flat at the edges and billows out as you approach the center of the screen. All of the convergence is made possible by the Warp features in the FLM HD20′s and the Toolset Software from Barco. We also have 2 – 16 X 9 outboard screens in the room (also Roscoe Grey attached to the set) both with Barco FLM HD20′s.”
Whew! Lots of tweaking on this one to get it right, but it looks great! McElroy Scenic was responsible for all the scenic elements.

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Spotlight 2011

Tonight is Spotlight 2011, the annual fundraiser for the Indiana AIDS Fund. Every year, professional performers from all over Central Indiana come together for one reason – to raise money for HIV/AIDS education, prevention and testing programs across Indiana. They stand in the spotlight in order to keep the spotlight shining on HIV in Indiana.
It’s held at Clowes Memorial Hall on the campus of Butler University and all the performers and technicians (IATSE Local #30) generously donate their time to make it happen. Projection will include super titles and fundraiser totals over the stage on a 3′ x 24′ super title screen as well as various video playbacks onstage. We’re using 2 Panasonic PT-D5600′s, A Macpro tower, and a Macbook for playback. If yu’d like to make a donation to Spotlight 2011 click HERE

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Small Production- Big Projection, Indy Opera does both well

Just got back from a great meeting with Joachim Schamberger at the Basile Opera Center. They’ve wrapped the 2011 production of La Tragedie de Carmen and by all accounts it was quite a success. In a big departure from their normal productions-complete with grandiose sets, a huge performance hall, and a full orchestra- they’ve pared down the whole process and now use a former sanctuary of a church. This fact doesn’t take away from the quality of the performance however, indeed, it is a whole new vehicle. The format is tight and close and…..wait a minute- we talk about projection here!

Joachim has long been a practitioner of “virtual theater design” a process he describes here.  In practical terms it means lots of great projection.  They used two Panasonic PT-D5500, and one Panasonic PT-D7700- both single-chip DLP’s.  The 77 served as the main background unit with a 55 as online backup and the second 55 as the surtitles above the set. Why not converge the 55′s and use the 77 for surtitles you ask?  Because converging the 55′s is next to impossible and due to the depth and width (something like 32′), they needed the most pristine image they could get.  Those units are also very prone to distorting geometry and focus issues when the temperature goes up, so this configuration made sense to me. The backgrounds were driven from a Macbook Pro 17″ with Vidvox’s VDMX (soon to be reviewed here on PF).  The surtitles are of the generic Powerpoint variety. Using VDMX, Joachim is able to send stills as well as .movs with equal ease.  A lot of the moving imagery are very slow transitions, so control of the timing is paramount. He used FCP and Photoshop almost exclusively.  With the 7700, brightness was overall very good, and required very little sidelight for the actors to not appear to be “projected on”, at the same time allowing for some actors to fade into the background and be less noticeable during tacet parts.  There are a couple of projects coming up with the Indy Opera that’ll involve projection in the future, so stay tuned for more!  Here’s the prOn from the event:

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Minimum System Requirements

We’ve all tried to meet these at some point in our careers, right? If you’re in the business of projecting shows for a living, chances are you either use a media server of some sort (Hippo, Pandora’s Box, Maxedia) or a computer system to drive the content on the screen(s). If you’re using a computer to drive a projector (DLP/LCD), LED wall, LCD or plasma display -or any combination thereof- for a show, you’re more than likely going to use the secondary display output as your “show” pallette. Many will use multiple outputs or a break-out box like a Matrox Triple Head to Go or Dual Head to Go. But what of the computer itself?   (more…)

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System Deal of the Week

Here at Projectionfreak, we’re almost exclusively an Apple environment…no offense to my PC brethren….just the right tool for the right job.  As such, we’ve become affiliated with MacMall, one of the largest and most respected Mac dealers on the Net. We’re never going to push a sale down anyone’s throat, but like any opportunity- it’s there for your taking. Am I a computer salesman? Heavens NO!  But I do know that graphics, projection, and entertainment technology are not inexpensive, and a deal’s a deal.  If I were to take a quick demographic survey of the readers of Projectionfreak I bet 99% of you would know that, in today’s economic climate, every bit helps towards the realization of a project.

Over on the right you’ll find a system of the week for sale.  These are systems pre-configured from MacMall that are available for purchase. MacMall has a plethora of other stuff that the projection design pro can use including monitors, peripherals, storage, and software.  Any purchase you make through Projectionfreak goes right back into the site to keep costs at bay so click away!

We also affiliate with, another huge resource for the projectionfreaks.  From storage to monitors to systems, Newegg is known for quality customer service and speedy delivery.  We’ll only publish ads that matter to the creative professional- need a speedy drive or a high-resolution monitor quick?No need to search the Web for coupons or hot deals on signal processing.  You can find what you need right here on Projectionfreak!

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Software-based Projection/media Control- Part II, Qlab from Figure 53

Part II of our review of software-based Projection control we visit Qlab, from Figure 53.  Qlab is a powerful cue editor and playback app for Mac that offers a wealth of features for the designer.  It is primarily a “built” editor, that is, all of the main features are already assembled in an easy-to-use interface, whereas some others in this blog series are “build-as-you-go”. The interface and workspace is clean and… (more…)

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Software-based Projection/media Control: Part 1, Isadora from TroikaTronix

Any projection project will require some way to manage the content. The larger and more complex the action, the more capability you’ll need. This type of show will most likely utilize a hardware-based system like the Coolux Pandora’s Box or Green Hippo’s Hippotizer. What about other solutions? Don’t have $10k+ for a controller/playback device? Enter the software-based solutions. Not that any of these aren’t capable of large and complex control of displays and content, it’s just that these don’t neccessarily come in a rackmount piece of hardware. You get to supply the hardware and each will have it’s own set of minimum requirements. From a laptop to a tower they’re all capable of running your show….read on…. (more…)

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