Quite a bit of video programming & projection

I always think that work is eventually going to quieten down as surely it cant possibly continue to be constantly busy as its been for the past few months, but nope, its still full on. Lets roll back to the very end of September and I was off to do my first job for Drive Productions, this was d3 operating and projection mapping onto a building in the Isle of man. My flights were booked from newcastle to IOM and when i got to the airport i found out we were travelling in the tinyest little prop plane.

001 small plane

The journey took about 50minutes, it was great and we were under the clouds cover for pretty much all the way, it was an excellent way to see the lake district.

When I got to the hotel i checked out the building we were to project n which was right next door to the hotel. I met all the guys the following day and we had a steady day setting all the projection up.

002 villa marina iom

The building had been laser scanned and modelled so when i did a lineup using QuickCal it all liked into place pretty quickly. The final client for the gig was Pokerstars who are based on the isle of man where they were holding a big tournament on the Island. The whole event was a little thank you to the people on the island.

003 vila marina lineup

The continent was really good, they guys done a really good job in a really short amount of time. Theres also a good video of the whole thing here: PokerStars Projection Mapping

004 poker logo

Pretty much straight after returning from the Isle of man after been there for a week I was back on a train to London to start work on an install working for Stage one, for Chanel in the Saatchi gallery. Ive just had to google the correct spelling for both Chanel and Saatchi. On the first day non of the stuff we needed had not  arrived, we did as much as we could and were going to Maplins to get some bits when Karl got a call of Matthew needing some technical support on a project. I should fill you in with he back story here, Mathew is a friend of a friend Lucy who put me onto Mathew to possibly help with an upcoming project they had. It involved trying to tie into a cars data system to track the speed and link this to something to take a picture, just like a google street car. I then put Matthew onto Karl who was much more suited for this gig & Karl came up with an encoder and PLC solution. On this occasion it was a massive that we were both in london and working together and Matthew needed some technical assistance so we both went and met them. It was great to see the car so we joined Matthew on a trip to the hydrogen refuelling station.

005 Hydrogen car

It took quite a while to get there and it was dark once we eventually pulled into the HYDROGEN REFULLING STATION!!! I had to put that into capitals just because it sounds pretty cool. It took a while to get the nozzle off, in the end it just took a bit for force, we had all been to carefully before that. For the refuting process the station wirelessly links up with the car, monitors the fuel cell and then delivers the correct amount  of hydrogen. After refuelling we drove back into london and grabbed some food.

006 refuling hydrogen car

The following day we were back at the gallery but this time we had our control rack and some equipment to set up! We were looking after the “Perfume room”  which was meant to show the process perfume making, albeit in an abstract way. We had 14 “tanks” 5 of which the lids opened and closed containing a swirling pool of water, speakers and a smoke machine to signify steam. The rest had a LED ticker in the lids displaying names of flowers.

007 saatchii tanks

It was a busy few days as with all of these things, the best laid plans get changed onsite and we have to make it work to the new specification. After a few emergency trips to the devils electronics shop, “Maplins” to buy some overpriced cable we had all control systems talking to each other and a working installation.

008 satchii almost complete

Straight after the Saatchi job I was over in Copenhagen for a couple of days to do some training on integrating a custom encoder  into d3 for an upcoming show. From the 1st of October I was trying to do a 5k run every day, I managed to get to 11 days before breaking the routine, this is a map from my Copenhagen run, it was a nice one!

009 running

The show in Copenhagen is called Der Freischütz, i never saw the show but it has some pretty huge pieces of set, which is projected onto with video design by Luke Halls.

010 barel of a gun

After 2 days in Denmark i flew back to london where I started some pre-programming on a show called Gravity Fatigue with Yeast Culture. We had 4 projectors in total, 2 of which we had control of the zoom and focus from he LX desk for hitting various depth surfaces and we were using Catalyst. I had’nt programmed catalyst, or used an EOS for about 18 months but after a couple of hours setup it all came flooding back,  even the fact you have to do a bit of a hack to enable uniform fades!

011 gravity fatigue preprogramming

The following Monday we were in Saddlers wells for what felt much longer than it actually was programming the show & rehearsing. It was a very good show in parts but there were some sections which in my opinion didn’t really fit with he flow.It seemed well received on press night and will probably be remounted again somehwere.

012 town for the weekend

For a very brief weekend between Gravity Fatigue pre productions and tech week I was in Newcastle where i managed to finally get out for a beer with Adam from Novak. We had been trying to hook up for a beer for a while so it was only right that we had a few of them! Later on I met Michael and we decided to go to the Casino, on the way there we ended up chatting to this homeless woman called Poloma from Holland. She had nowhere to go until 07.00 where there was a place open she could go to. As it was cold and wet outside we took her int he casino with us, got here a pint of cola and chatted for about an hour before getting asked to leave for bringing in a homeless person. Bit of a shame really as we were all just sat out of the way of everyone else.

013 helping the homeless

So, after the weekend I was back down London, in technical rehearsals for Gravity Fatigue, it was long days and allot of frantic action when we had stage time but all went well in the end. Pretty much straight after that I was working for Drive again programming and operating the world rugby awards in Battersea park.

014 world rugby awards

We had a 15m wide screen with an embossed logo in the middle which we had to map the content to. In addition we had 2 PIP screens either side showing a live camera feed and pre-recorded content. It was a pretty long day, much of the content arrived to us rather late and for some moments I didn’t think we were going to get it all in in time. In the end remarkably we had a flawless show being up against it!

015 world rugby awards set

Straight after the Rugby Awards after packing down the servers, I loaded my car and drive to Pinewood, where the next day I was soldering RGB LED tape onto the set of Red Dwarf for the new series. It was a good week cutting tape soldering, sticking it on, testing and pretty dam cool to be working on the set of a tv program i used to watch all the time as a young’un!

016 Red Dwarf

I was at the studios from Monday to Thursday when I then drove straight up to Newcastle ready for the next gig in Durham the following day. I was working for ArtAV on Durham Lumiere and we were lighting up Janet Echelman’s sculpture 1.26 with LED and projection, below is the net freshly hung above the river on the morning of our arrival.

017 one point two six daytime

Nick had packed everything, even a library with something to read for everyone. Networking for Dummies, Introduction to PHP5 etc!

018 Nicks library

We had a few days setup time and testing before the event, we had 4x 30k lumen projectors projecting onto the sculpture, 24 SGM led floods, a very powerful network infrastructure, and a lot of various media servers. In fact there were encroach computers inside our cabin, that even when it was freezing outside we had ti keep the door open as all the servers were generating that much heat.

019 pixel shaders

For the event, Nick had developed a web application where visitors could join the local Lumiere network where they were directed to a webpage which showed an 2d representation of the sculpture. The user then could tap their phone screen and where they tap on the screen a corresponding growing circle of light would appear on the physical sculpture which worked really well. 
021 d3 setup

My task was to take the in coming video signal and seamlessly map it onto the sculpture, there was allot of pulling and stretching and warping but we got a good result in the end.The most frustrating part was the impossible task of trying to line up on a moving surface when the wind blew! A video of some of the projection tests can be found here  1.26 Durham.

022 fog

There was a load of great stuff at Lumiere 2015, i didn’t get the chance to see everything but I really liked Fogscape, there are some interesting facts and figures here.

023 NextJob

With a day between Lumiere finishing and having to be down London for my next job  I managed to get a d3 server rack together for the royal courts production of Linda. I spent all day getting kit together, stuff sorted and the  following day I was driving a hire van back down to London, I dropped the Kit at the court, dropped the van at Waterloo and finally made it to Forest gate to meet my mate Lucy who’s flat I was stopping at.

024 Encoder tracking

The next few days involved setting up projectros attaching an encoder to the huge revolving set and then trying to line up the middle in d3 with the physical set. I have to holiday hands up here and say I made a massive faux pas when i had failed to flatten the keystone on the projectors and couldn’t figure why it wasn’t lining up. I now owe Emily a bottle of rum and stuff for having to move the projectors thrice!

The whole set is projected on from 2 front angles which covers most of the audience viewing angles,

025 Set Projection lineup

Eventually we got everything in a pretty good place, I was finished not he Job before the show was open. Luke carried soon tweaking the lineup and I popped back to do some re-scaling on the encoder to help with the tracking. The show is up and running, its worth watching, runs at the Royal Court until the 9th January 2015.
027 QED correct priorities

Once again, straight after finishing the work at the Royal Court I was in Islington working With Nina Dunn & QED to setup some projection for the Islington Festival of Culture. Dave from QED had his priorities right with he above flight cases. Essentially we were on a building site and the event where really expensive flats were being built inside the shell of these listed buildings. The festival was part marketing and art so people could come into he square which as been closed off to the public for years. We had 6 x Christies boxers firing at the main building (Block A). After one night of installing the projectors, and rough lineup, the following day Dan and myself pulled int he lineup working on half a building each till it was all lined up perfectly.

028 30k Lumens 4krez

The festival was from the Thursday till the Sunday and we ran several projection shows each day after dark.

029 Islington

I had started writing this blog post last week on the Islington festival but never quite got round to finishing it! Finally a week later its nearly up to date with what been going on! Its been such a crazy busy few weeks! Boom!

Last but not least, CRIMP MONSTER!!

030 Crimp Monster


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Blogging in hindsight!

I started writing this blog post about 4 weeks ago, at that point i had found a load of images, uploaded them and was ready to put some text to the images. Now its 4 weeks later, possibly 5 and I’m finally putting words down. Its pretty interesting looking back at the images as since most of these jobs have gone live theres a whole new story on things.
Below is a En-Net14 kit manufactured by Karl after chat with Luke Halls earlier this year, basically I was working with Luke and he wanted an elegant way to get encoder data into d3 to track screen and scenery for projecting on. I then had a chat with Karl who said that he could produce such a thing, and here we are its a product which takes an SSI encoder signal and converts it to a 32bit artnet packet for mechanically tracking screens in d3.
001 Ennet14

For testing and playing with the unit i tested it also with vvvv, creating a small patch to visualise the movement and display the count, with a 34 bit art-net packet you get a range of 4billion counts which is more than enough for most applications! The packet comes in as 4 art-net channels and is converted to an integer. for a value of Zero this is how the packet would look Ch1 000, Ch2 000, Ch3 000, Ch4 000, easy. for a value of 255 this is how it would look. Ch1 000, Ch2 000, Ch3 000, Ch4 255, and for a value of 256 it would look like this: Ch1 000, Ch2 000, Ch3 001, Ch4 000, get it?  In d3 it has an inbuilt function to convert it to an interior so you don’t really need to understand but its useful to know.

002 Ennet vvvv

Currently we have a couple of these units in Copenhagen on an opera tracking some huge pieces of set which are projected onto.

003 Cobbling Stuf TogetherSo above is a Kef speaker in a box, a 12v amplifier and a Brightsign media player, this was for a job at Stage one for and install for Channel. The brief changed quite allot during the time we were trying to put together and build what was expected, in the end quite bit of this was cut.

004 WashedHeadphones

These are my trusty Bose headphones, sie2i to be exact, i really like a good listening experience and these are excellent, so you can imagine my shock when I couldn’t find them, only to discover i had left them in my jacket pocket when I put it in the wising machine! I was gutted and convinced that they wouldn’t work, BUT THEY DID, and the sound was still the same, I COULD NTO BELIEVE IT!! All i can thing is that all the components are plastic coated and sealed, I love them even more.

005 Wembly10K

In early September i did a little gig with Impact Production Services. I knew there we some rigging of LED screen required and I had to be at wembley the evening before and meet Matt in the foyer of the hotel at 04:00 in the morning. Apart from that i didnf know much more, Turns out we had to put a load of LED screen up in a tunnel for a 10k run in which the runners ran through a section and it displayed the “Run to the beat” logo, pulsing through. It was a pretty straight forward gig, long hours but nice to be working with Matt and meet some more of the impact guys,

006 Southampton Priscilla

So, the weekend of working at wembley was a bit of a crazy schedule, on the Saturday i got the 16:30 train to London and was at wembley Ibis for arround 20:30. I had some food, done some work for Durham Lumiare and was in bed for around 23:00. I was then up again at 03:30 to meet Matt in the lobby for 04:00. We went to the van and then drove to site and set up the LED. We had to be on standby and then stripped it out and there finished by 14:00. I then went and found a hirer which was dropped off for me and proceed to drive to southampton where i was to help with the automation install for Priscilla Queen of the Desert. I got to southampton at 17:00 and was in the theatre for 18:00. We installed the kit and got it tested and were done by 22:30, after a couple of beers  I went to bed. The following day, we spent half a day in the theatre, testing and making sure the kit worked and then I was driving back north to Newcastle. I dropped the car with Europe car Newcastle and then the following day i was driving back to stage one in my own car this time! It was a crazy but productive few days.

007 FloorMountTelevisionWhat you see here is a 72″ tv mounted in a steel-deck size frame with the idea that this will be a circular screen set into he floor. This was another Channel R&D idea which we realised. It actually looked really effective but unfortunately it was cut, we did have some fun making a digital fishpond in the workshop which kept Jam entertained for a short while.

009 JamsPond

Jam fish whispering and casually hanging out with Neville the Gnome.

010 PrototypeTank

When I first put these photos on the blog I couldn’t really say what they were but n that so much time has passed and the project is live i can tell you exactly what it is! Above is the inside of a prototype automated perfume tank, again, for the same never ending Channel job. We had to figure a way to automate these prop perfume tanks so that the lids open and closed along with triggering smoke to simulate steam and trigger a sound file locally in the tank. Wh had very little space to put the electronic control so there was a lot of trial and error fitting of stuff and quite a bit gaff tape!

Im not sure how long the current link to the site will exist for but for anyone who’s interested if you google “mademoiselle prive” that will at-least show some of the gig.


011 SaddlersMockUp

In the middle of all of this Ive been in many email conversations with my work colleague and good friend Nick about this now happening gig. Above is a d3 screenshot of my setup for figuring screen and projector positions for this current gig. We’ve been through so many different screen configurations and projector positions and d3 has been such a great too for working these out quickly. I did have to create an accurate 3d model of Saddlers Wells from the cad plans which was a good exercise.


012 Bowie

Finally, meet David Bowie!!

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August wasn’t quiet at all

Its getting to be about a month between posts, id like that to be less and I’m going to work on it being less time between. I did have a really god post written in my head mid august which i should have written down, alas i didn’t. Thats why I’d like to post more to capture those ideas and things which might be interesting to get into the digital realm or blogosphere, you never really hear the word blogosphere anymore.

Going back on my last post I was expecting August to be a pretty quiet month, historically it is, and last year I went to Berlin for 6 weeks to have a holiday and take german language course. This year i was going to just get away somewhere spur of the moment maybe travel around, and then I got a contacted from Stockholm!

Frederik from the Dramaten theatre emailed me on Saturday to check if i was available to do some d3 programming for a show as their normal video guy Bullen was out of action for a while. By Tuesday i was in Stockholm with he challenge of setting up the d3 media server, with at the time 3 projectors and a few non uniform surfaces.

002 OchGeOss

After a couple of days setting up tweaking, encoding content and modelling an unusual screen we were on the right track. The above screen I thought looked really good, it was basically made up of over 100 a4 sheets of paper painstakingly attached to thread and hung. I did a relatively quick model of the screen in Sketchup, and increased the edge size so the model was 10mm larger than the actual screen on all edges. I then brought this into C4d and UV mapped this as a flat map and finally brought it into d3 and used QuckCal to lineup the projected model screen back onto the real screen. For such a short modelling time I was quite surprised at the lineup, it was 95% bang on! Unfortunately it was cut and never made it into the show, boo!

001 PHM randD

I was in Sweden for 5 days when I had to fly back to London for some meetings and R&D at the Philharmonia for future projects. We spent 2 days going over ideas and trying stuff out. It was a good opportunity to showcase some of the digital departments ability to the rest of the orchestra team. One of always the popular exhibits is the Conductor Pod which is like the computer game Guitar hero but instead of playing guitar, your movement is tracked with an xbox camera and you follow the conductor with your hands yourself and try and conduct. The programming was done by Chris Plant and its a really neat piece of software.

003 Projector exposed

After a couple of days with the Philharmonia and then a brief meeting with Nick from Yeast Culture about a project in October i was back on the plane to Stockholm again. Frederik had asked me out for a further 5 days to carry on programming the show and look after the ever changing video setup. For the main back wall projection we had a Barco HDF w30 which needed boxing in to help reduce the fan noise spilling down onstage. To aid airflow even more we took the back of the unit off and I was surprised to discover that your still able to power it on with all the electrical terminals exposed. I was all pretty safe as it was boxed in and 10m up in the air away from prying hands.

From 5 extra days i ended up being at the Dramaten theatre for almost 3 weeks programming the show through to the end. The show is called Och Ge Oss Skuggorna which translates to And give us the shadows, a play about the playwright Eugene O’Neil. It was really good to meet and work with he tech/stage team at the Dramaten, such a lovely bunch of people. The video team consisted of 2, that was myself and Axel local to Stockholm, after press night Axel heard of a forest party going on so at around midnight we got a tax to somewhere south of Stockholm.

004 Forest party

There are a couple of hundred people there once we got into the forest, it was a brilliant setting, in a opening near a lake. I don’t know here the time went but it was fun, before I knew it it was light, the music had finished and there were still quite a few people chilling out by the lake top evening.

004 Axel post forest party


That day Axel had to sort all his stuff out for a tour to South Africa, I was pretty dam hungover when I eventually made it back to my apartment. That day we had another show on the Sunday, again with a standing ovation from the audience.

006 Vasa

With a few hours to spare before my flight back to the UK, upon Piers recomendation i went to the Vasa Museum which was all about the ship called Vasa which sank 300meter into its maiden voyage in 1628 and then was finally recovered in 1967. Its a really good museum and recommend it if visiting Stockholm.

007 Smoke machine

Again on the subject of me thinking it was going to be a quiet August it was exactly the opposite. The day after landing I was driving down to Stage One to start work on a new project along with upping spares on some ongoing ones too.

010 Face


Ahahahahah! This is one of the wooden panels from a project called Prouvé House currently been built/renovated at Stage One, faces everywhere!


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Storm before the calm

I started writing this post as I normally do, finding a load of photos and then writing some words to go along with them. I got to 1000 words and I was not even 1/3 of the way through and then when i read this words again it felt like a bit of a dull read. So instead heres lots of pictures and a few straight to the point words.

This is Grace Jones in southampton Common people festival, where in a single day i had the task of programming and operating video under the direction of her production manager. It was a seat of the pants gig and all went well in the end, she’s a great performer, go and see her if you get the chance.

I was traveling to HSL to do a catalyst video setup for LD Andy Hurst and just before I got there someone crashed into he back of my diddy hire car at some traffic lights. I had driven almost 2000 mile in the past 10 days and this happened in the last 3 days of hire!


Spur of the moment I booked a holiday to Prague, booked it on the Wednesday and was there on the Friday. I walked many miles exploring the city, its a really beautiful place to visit. I stopped at the Apartcity Hotel which i recommend to if your planning a trip, Kristina the owner is a brilliant host and tour guide!

This is a great bar, out door and on the riverside with electronic music, people just seep to gather and drink beer and hang out, great atmosphere and well worth a visit. I couldn’t fid a direct link to the bar but this is a good lace to find out about it.

Whilst in Prague i visited a museum and learned about something called an Ossaury which I found quite interesting in a macabre way. An Ossuary is the final resting place of human skeletal remains, not just one person but many people all in the same place, its thought the were built to evoke emotion for the dead, though there are many theories.

In returning to the UK i was out with Michael and Chris when purely by chance we bumped into our mate Spook in the street home we hadn’t seen for YEARS! It was a great opportunity to catch up over a beer or two.

Couple of days later i was at StageOne getting some training on how to use the Comet L3D laser scanner. This scanner uses the structured light technique to produce a highly precise detailed point cloud. It was good to learn the technique and workflow of how from he scan you turn the point cloud into a mesh.

Once again I was with the Grace Jones team but this time in HydePark where we were performing. The show went well and she once again done a very entertaining performance where she climbed off stage and then got a security guard to bring her back on his shoulders, priceless. After us Kyle was on, she’s very little and looks good.

After hyde park i was with the lovely people from the Royal Court and we were off to Brussels to remote the show 2071. Nice few days working with some good pals.

Straight from Brussels, off the Eurostar  and straight on a mother train to truro I was doing the last install for Universe Of Sound for the Philharmonia. This is a multi screen video install with synchronised playback of footage of the orchestra, this video explains it perfectly here: Universe of Sound walkthrough. Whilst in truro we visited Perranporth beak and swam in the chilly sea!

After the install at truro I traveled to London, with Steve by car, it was an entertaining trip full of nonsense.

I spent a couple of days in London hanging out with the ArtAV guys whilst they were looking after video for the Greenwich docklands show Four Fridas. Steve showed me his Timecode to UDP device which allows you to easily stream timecode across a network, lots of potential uses!

During my stint in London I managed to catch up with Slaney where we enjoyed a few quite strong beers at the Euston tap.

After London I picked up my d3 server and drove to Skegness where I was looking after projection for the finale show on the SO festival. We were projection on a 20m wide rollercoaster shape structure from 70m away.

This is a shot from rehearsals, where we turned the structure into a classic fairground “Duck Shoot”. It was a fun week working with may mates i hadn’t seen for quite a while!

After getting back from Skegness I got a call to go to Stage One to help with a very last minute job for a rather large light box, this is 1/3 of it.

And this is all of it, i think was 5m on the longest end, here we were waiting for the extra LED drivers to be delivered, nice box!

And here we are at the end, I nearly fell over when i saw this face. Whilst in Truro with the Philharmonia team we went for an Indian’s and when Jessie’s starter turned up it was exactly like this! Brilliant!

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30th May 2015 50 days

Its Saturday the 30th May today, pretty much once we round the numbers , 50 days since last putting a post up here. Allot has happened in that time, its been a well busy! Right now I’m sat in a café/bar drinking Czech next to Kampapark in Prague, I’m having a few days break, or more so taking the opportunity of not being booked for work to get away somewhere nice.  It really is nice here though ill save that for the next blogpost. So, lets reeeeeeeeeeewind……… I left off where Jon and myself had visited Consono, that feels like a long time ago, so does looking at some of the photos I’m putting up here time is a little bit elastic like that, there are allot of photos in here also.

Late March, that shen the image above was taken, Rory spent many hours up that scaff tower fitting the nodes in the centre crown fo the hive and swearing now and again, all in good spirit though! Things never seem as bad in heindsight but we all really did have some wet miserable days putting this together, sulthough, when the sun was shining it helped make up for it. The schedule was a little missplaced in some places which resulted in some irritating holdups for Jon and myself fitting the LED but it all happened in the end. 

I was well pleased to have Jon on the job helping me install the LED and help combat my sometimes grumpines. I hadnt really seen Jon for a few quite years untill late last year when we met up for a beer, a few month later we were in Milan grafting, Jon if you end up reading this, I couldn’t have done it without you.

This is the day we shrunk Karl and the lady who was standing behind him at the time , an hour later it work off and he resumed normal size again. Karl came out to Milan with some programming kit, a sense of humour and knowledge as we were having some of the LED’s responding to the incorrect address.  At the time I wasn’t sure what was happening, whether it was interference making the led read the wrong address at start up or some other weirdness. Initially we thought we may have to reprogram every led with a hard address which was our worst fears, eventually we narrowed the issues down to just several LED. Due to slight differences in manufacturing not all of the LED cases were completely waterproof, this enabled the ingress of moisture, which in turn shorted some of the pins on the dip-switch making the microprocessor read the wrong address on startup.  This seems really obvious now but at the time it was such a random issue to fault find and fix.  Lesson learned from this, (a) water will find even the most microscopic gap to get though & (b) Never take “it’ll be fine” as a piece of advice.

I left site in Milan on the 11th April, everything was up and running though we didn’t have any internet to site at the time. This meant, rather than the hive responding to the Live feed from the Beehive in the UK it was running on a pre-recorded loop of 90hours of beehive recording. For each major iteration of the software for control of the beehive I named after a Sting song, in keeping with the Bee theme, ho ho ho, oh how we laughed.  The final version was called Tea In The Sahara, which funnily enough abbreviates to Tits, that also amuses me, I have a simple sense of humour.

After leaving Milan I was straight into a Job for Luke Halls whom I had worked with video programming on 2071 (make link to blog post here).  It was all quite sporadic and basically involved doing a 4 projector map of the dome above the stalls in the coliseum theatre London for a charity gala dinner. Luke was already busy on another job so he got in Jan Urbanowsky to do the content for this who it was nice to meet and work with. Earlier this year I invested in my own d3 4×2 system, this gig involved driving down to London with the media server rack, lining up in an incredibly short space of time with a model of the dome, which was created from really old drawings of the theatre. It was all quite mad, there was no time for a proper laser scan of the dome but with the various warping capabilities in d3 we managed to get the content lined up and the edges blended on the dome.

The gig went well, there was around £250k raised for charity by the Naked Heart Foundation, which is not a small figure at all. We all packed down and I got the kit into the van and started my journey north. I had been up at 06:00 that day and planned to find a travel lodge, not far out of London then continue the rest of my journey the following day. Could I find a hotel with spare rooms, COULD I FUCK!! After my third attempt at pulling up to a motorway travelodge and hearing the phrase “sorry we have no rooms” I parked the van properly in the carpark, put the seat as far back as they do in a Peugeot partner and slept until the sun came up (this was about 3 hours later). Once I rubbed my eyes till I could see properly again I continued the rest of my journey north, dropped the van off and slept from 17:00 until 08:00 the following morning. 

Following on from the Coliseum gig I was, down the south coast working with the Philharmonia Orchestra installing Universe of sound. This is a multiscreen projection synchronized installation where visitors can experience an orchestra and learn about an orchestra without having to go and see an orchestra.  It’s a really brilliant installation to visit. It was really good to be working with the team again, catching up with friend’s and putting this whole thing together again. Above is the new 8 screen projection dome, it’s not really dome but its been called that since its inception, this is version 2 made of “dome” built especially for frequent touring of the show. The install went well,  there’s a good team on this, we’ve done Plymouth, Torquay, where it currently is at time of writing, and then twill finally sit down in Truro for 2 weeks in June marking the end of the tour od the south west.

Directly after the install in Plymouth, Steve dropped me off at Bristol where I flew the following day back to Milan to commission the audio lighting link up for the hive. This is another aspect for the hive, the first element is the audio feed from the beehive generates the swarm lighting pattern on the lights on the hive. The other element is that when certain frequencies of the incoming audio stream peak, these trigger audio samples, which are mixed in with the soundscape in the hive.

 It was a great few days tying everything together, initially on the first day when I arrived it was absolutely pissing down, the water was bad but the patterns the water created when the water pooled on the hive were quite calming in contrast.

This is Tony, one of the composers of the soundscape; it was nice to meet more people involved with the project, there’s a big list, also a quite allot of people who have given there time for free also.

Pretty much immediately after returning from Milan I was into the next job which was looking after video for the main stage of 23rd Shindig. I had been essentially managing everyone involved in the video side, setting up the content templates and then providing my d3 system to easily map the content to the screens and mi-strip. There was a reasonable amount of setup, involved, modeling the stage and sorting the mi-strip layout so the content fitted correctly. The preproduction paid off and once the screen was up and working everything was mapped perfectly. I was taking the VJ feeds into d3 using some Blackmagic  HDMI to SDI boxes which worked really well, I’m astounded the quality which you get for your money from Blackmagic design products.

More so on this gig it was great to be working with mates I hadn’t seen in quite a while. Above is James who was stage managing the DJ setup son and off, we see each other quite often as there is a quite regular beer drinking interval which has to be kept up.

This is Elliot and Clive from Novak, on the weekend it was cold and windy, sometimes really cold and really windy, note the macbooks taped down. It was definitely 12month since I’d seen these guys!

This is Neil, I don’t see Neil enough, seen here being very happy about the weather and the wind. Despite the cold and rain it was well good catching up and having a natter.

This is Aaron from Novak who was VJ’ing all weekend alongside Itaru who is Ritchie Hawton’s VJ. I was impressed with the Richie Hawton set, Itaru had built a custom touch designer interface, which meant he could deliver real-time generative continent matching the content to the set via a controller. Its one of those things that the general punter would never know bit I really think, along with the sound and lighting this humanization of things really helps make a good show. Maybe I’m biased as I love this technology, which allows you to make a show without it being completely payback. The gig almost didn’t go ahead after pretty bad weather on the Sunday, only with perseverance from the team did it happen, Nitelites, DATechnical, Impact, Novak, Shindig, to name a few, what a great, sometimes wet weekend.

 Here’s the obligatory shot from the office, HDMI to SDI, monitored on an HD SDI screen, inputting to d3, mapped out onto the LED screen and mi strip, how many acronyms can you fit in one sentence!!

A few days after Shindig I was back out in Milan again, FINALLY, there was internet to site, I have no idea why it too so long, but it did. I was back to commission the live linkup so the hive was finally responding to a live feed from a REAL beehive in the UK. It took a little bit tweaking and setting up and now it seems pretty stable. If the live stream cuts out I have it set up so that it sends me an email to say it has cut out. If I get an email I can remotely log in and check where down the line the issue are via remote access, and normally fix it immediately. If not there is an inbuilt backup to the system, which means if the live stream stops for any reason it automatically switched over to a prerecorded stream. From a relatively small piece of software there’s quite allot in there now!

There is generally allot of work to be dome but sometimes you end up with an hour to spare here or there when waiting for a flight, bus, train to take you back home. On this occasion I managed to get the use of the UK pavilion Brompton to cycle around the Expo site. Apart from official expo bicycles, all other bicycles may have been banned onsite but I never seemed to get into any trouble which. is a nice change!  So that’s it for now, this still doesn’t actually take us up to date but covers 50 days of work since last posting. Its actually been 70 days since I last blogged, I still need to fill in those 20 days to be current. 



I’ve seen quite a few faces recently, but, LOOK AT THESE TERRIFIED BOXES!!!!!!!

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22nd March Consonno

Today was the weekly Sunday off from work on the Hive which is quite good because nearing then end of the week you could tell everyone was quite knackered, and working at the heights we are now everyone needs a fresh head. Ive been trying to make the most of the day off over the past few weeks and this week I thought it would be a good idea to visit Consonno. Consonno now is basically an abandoned town which was once an adult Las Vegas style playground with bars and casinos which is now abandoned and fallen into ruin. A much more detailed description than i can do justice can be found here
Count Bagno’s City of Toys 

After a bit of googling and asking one of the local’s Massimo at work i discovered it was relatively easy to get to, so early Sunday me and Jon set off. This involved getting to Garibaldi station and getting a train to Calolziocorte (try pronouncing that out loud) which took 50mins or so. From here we followed google maps toward Belvedere with is the start of the windy road which takes you up to Consono.

Its pretty steep most of the way once you leave town so if your going to do this by foot be prepared to get a bit warm.  You can drive right up to the top between the times of 10:00 & 12:30 on a Sunday but  if your still there after the gates are closed your car is stuck. By foot however there are no constraints.

Eventually the road begins to flatten out and quit an onimous building comes into view, I’m not actually sure what this is but it looks like it was started but never finished. I was tempted to go on the upper levels but after going in and looking at the staircase with was a ramp of broken ceramic bricks i gave it a miss.

Under the building straddling the road you come to the first sign, rusty and barely readable it says.

Consonno e il paese piu piccolo ma piu bello del mondo
Translated: Consonno is the smallest but the most beautiful country in the world

Carrying on you pass a more modern sign and the dilapidated buildings of Consono come into view. We passed a few people walking down the hill whilst we were walking up but when we got here there was such an erie silence, no traffic and all the sound was deadened by the hills and trees.

We carried on up the hill and did eventually see some people in the distance so we weren’t to only people here. Through the overgrowth and trees opposite the main building bit there was what looked like a water feature of an old lagoon. It was really strange as there were a load of frogs, you could see them all over but the sound their were making was bizarre. 100s of them making a rumbling sound in unison.
I found this video on youtube which shows Consonno how it used to be:
Consonno the smallest but the most beautiful

Theres allot of really neat graffiti around the place, here I found one of Frank Sidebottom dressed as a rabbit on LSD, just how I imagined he would be.

Further on through a doorway you come to a kind of courtyard where there are more buildings, once of them which has half collapsed, such a great image, frozen in time. Its difficult to tell how old some of these buildings are and how long they’ve been like this for.

I like this, a green giraffe saying fuck, what more can you ask for!

We eventually made our way onto the mid terrace of the main building, everything is rusty and weathered with a load of graffiti inside too.

This is really nice piece, a load of detail too, theres some text saying Hartecore collective. I found their Facebook page here with lots of really nice work.

Right on the roof you get a good view of the valley, its a stunning area and I bet on a  brighter day during summertime there will be quite a few people visit Consonno.

Its cool under the dome, and quite surprising how much of it is all still in tact, the place is a mix of hollow brick, solid brick, rebar and concrete, again brilliant views framed by the pillars of the dome.

Back down behind the building and around the corner there was a van with post apocalyptic written on the side, i uses that pretty much sums up the feel of the place.

After a good wander round and a a bit of packed lunch we headed back down the hill, each time there was a gap in the trees you couldn’t help but appreciate the views. From the station tot he bottom of the hill it took about 30mins and then up the hill it took roughly an hour. I don’t think it took quite so long to come back down as you’d imagine.

Last but not least, having a reputation for seeing faces in things, this week at work, James brought me this piece of rubber!

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What to do on new years eve?

Its March and I’m talking about new years eve, know, it sounds strange but  I promised I’d post about this after the event but never got round to it, or possibly just got lazy.

So, roll back to the 31st December 2014 around about midday, i was working in the hangar at Stage One building and testing the LED rings for the Milan Expo job (yes its this job has been a long one).

Paul who was working with us mentioned about this thing which happens at Allendale each new years eve. The local men of the village march trough the town with flaming barrels of tar on their head and throw it on a bonfire to mark midnight and the start of a new year. This was the basic description and neither of us knew what it was really about, so a quick Google search helped firm up the details.

Heres a link with a better description : The Allendale Tar Barrel Festival 

So, I finished work and drove back north towards ‘home’, called my mate James and suggested going to see this as something different to do on new years eve. We were both in agreement, and generally it seems like going out into town these days on NYE is pretty crap.

From google searches we found out that nothing really starts to happen until about 23:30 when the march would start. We set of about 21:30 and were son on the a69 heading towards Allendale. we got there around 22:30 and struggled a little to find a place to park. Eventually right through the other side of town (which isn’t very big) we found a spot and parked up. It was a pretty cold and pretty windy evening, e did a quick lap of town to see where everything was, which basically meant finding the unlit bonfire in the middle of the town. with time to kill we had another little wander and then went into one of the only 2 pubs we could seem to find in town. The pub was RAMMED, lots of people in fancy dress and a good atmosphere. At around 23:10 we headed over to the bonfire which was still unlit and waited, eventually, just after half eleven the band started playing. It was quite an erie sound of the band and there was a strong smell of paraffin coming from where the music was, we couldn’t see anything at this point.

Eventually the band came marching by followed by a load of people dressed in fancy dress with large flaming barrel pots balanced on their heads.

The old rules say (so I’m told) that to be part of the parade yo have to be a gentleman who was born in the village, no non villagers are allowed to take part, i don’t know the exact rules but thats what seems to be the case.

It was a really good atmosphere as the people were marching by, it was a really windy evening and embers from the fire on top of their carriers heads were going everywhere. You could feel the heat given off by these things so gone knows how it felt to be walking behind someone whilst carrying your own flaming pot!

If i recall, all of the carriers were dressed in some form of fancy dress or a kind of ye’olde style outfit, from postman pat to spider man it was a brilliant insane sight to see.

When the first carrier got to the uncut bonfire, he threw his pot straight down to the base and immediately the whole thing went up. The flames were huge and with the wind they were gusting arround. I think we were only about 8 to 10 meters away and you had to turn away when the wind blew the heat in our direction. Flames were flying allover and James had to put the old ladies hair out next to us which had caught fire from one of the many rogue embers.

Not put of by the wind and the heat the carries continued to throw their tar pits on the fire until they were all done. It was brilliant, everyone was wishing each other happy new year and we were all shaking hands with the people around us.

I know I keep saying this but it was such a good atmosphere, there was no healthy and safety like you would find on a commercial event which made the whole thing more special. Everyone was so close to the fire, behind a small temporary barrie fence of course,  but with a huge dose of common sense and I hope it stays this way.

After telling a load of people about this the following day I’m pretty sure its on the cards again to go and see 2015 into 2016 with more friends.
Lastly, heres a little fella i found in a flightless latch.



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Assimilate ubiquitously

Ubiquitous Assimilation — meaning to absorb everything everywhere all the time.

This is a quote form a film I watched a few weeks back called Detachment, its really worth a watch and this phrase stuck with me. Theres a whole lot more to the quote but its better you watch the film rather than hear it from me!

Its been a while since I’ve posted (again), were well into 2015, the last third of the first quarter to be more precise and I’ve been busy for pretty much every day of it. So where to start after a rather long blog hiatus?  To save the potential bore if going over the past few month and trying to catch up ill start from right now!

Right now I’m in Milan in the final stages of quite a long project I’ve been doing for Stage One and were building the UK pavilion for the Milan Expo. The element i have been working on is the LED lighting in a structure called The Hive which is made up of an intricate system of aluminium rods and plate. This forms a 14m square cube with a spherical voice in the middle in which visitors can enter. Around this void is scattered one thousand individually controllable high power custom LED lights. These will resonate with colour which is derived from he audio stream of a real beehive back in the UK and with some processing and algorithms specified by Martin Bencsik, who has done in depth research on bee’s and their activity, we will convert this into a visual stream shown as colours in the Hive.

For a better description in the form of a 3D render have look at the website of Wolfgang Butress, the architect who came up with the design for the Hive. In a nutshell heres a photo rundown and explanation of the progress.

This is the supporting wooden and scaffold substructure which the hive is being built on, and as each layer is built and gets progressively higher it meets with the ring beam which is the grey ring poking up. The substructure is temporary, this will eventually be taken away and the whole hive will be supported on the ring beam.

The earlier days onsite were very cold and very wet, this is us measuring out the wooden template position proper to the first parts being laid down. It really was pissing down hard with rain this evening.

And here we have it, layer 1, made up of many water jet cut aluminium plate and hundreds of bolts and connecting nodes. Myself and Jon my colleague came out to fit the initial LED rings as the structure was built, but as there was no structure we all jumped in to help things progress.

During the build of the first few layers the weather was rather cold, sometimes snowed and was always below zero. On many occasions if we had to loosen bolts to fit nodes, we first had to get a heat gun to melt the ice which had frozen in the bolt hole before we could get an allen key in. The ice was treacherous when walking around and over the aluminium and thankfully no one slipped as the edges of the aluminium are incredibly sharp.

The first 5 layers of the hive are densely populated and the LED we were installing are inside this forrest of aluminium rods. This meant that once the next layer goes on access to test and potentially fix things is very difficult. The above picture shows Jon in at about ring truss 6, its probably impossible to get in any further until the lower floor is taken away.

The first 5 LED rings were installed and left for 4 weeks as we went back to Yorkshire to manufacture address and these fur following 22 rings. This meant that these were left out to the elements and I was quite nervous on who the electronics would hold up in the damp and the cold. We made the units watertight at every opportunity and when we came to test them the only problems we had was a wrong DMX address on one of the pixels! Hooray!

This is a panorama looking down from the top of the hive and the image is somewhat distorted by the panorama feature on the iPhone. I think this shows us up to layer 20 here. As each layer goes in we follow with the next LED ring, each of which has it’s own polar offset to match the lighting layout pattern as specced by the architects.

This is Jon clipped onto the hive at layer 15, this is about 4 meters up from the temporary floor and I’m around 6 meters up. Sometimes when the element of the hive which we need to fit LED onto aren’t ready we will switch rolls and help with the assembly of the hive, its a varied job.

Above is a screenshot of the LED control software, which is still been tweaked and worked on. Here we take in the live audio stream of the real beehive and analyse the spectrum. This is then used to create an image based on the various frequencies over time and then we pixel map this to the sphere. From there this is then converted to DMX via Art-net and output to the pixels spread over 8 universes. Im looking forward to getting this all up and running in the next few weeks.

As I say the above is just a whisker of the work which has gone into this and is still ongoing, theres still allot to do, but there is a good team here and things are progressing.

To finish off, heres a face I found in my potato a few weeks back!


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Say Hallelujah!!!

The post title has no reference to this post what so ever, it was just the first thing which popped into my head, from the lyrics of this song Dr Alban, its been a week of ‘classic’ tunes whilst working in the hangar. Ive kind of started writing this post arse first, as normally I would go through my photos to see whats worth typing about and then start typing. This time I’ve just started typing subject randomly.

As always time absolutely flies by your busy and I’ve just realised it was almost 4 weeks ago when I decided i would go and see my mates band The Dust Town Dogs in Consett, I hadn’t seen anyone for I guess around 8 year ad it was a proper good catch up. Everyone was still as good craic as ever and i was well happy to see Peter Boyle who i bet i hadn’t seen since 2002!!!!

Peter used to be the recording engineer at Northern Recording, a community recording studio where I first got introduced to live events and mixing sound for bands. This all eventually led on to various related jobs and gigs crazy live event technical world I live and work in now.

This is my GrandMA Lighting desk setup, it hasn’t been out on hire or being used too much this year so I decided to get some nice photos together to either sell it or hire it out more. Mr Froment at DanceCity gave me a hand and let me use the theatre space to get some decent photos. I built this up a couple of years ago, fully designing everything myself, integrating a computer into he flight-case and the monitors attached to Ergotron articulating arms. Im pretty proud of it, and it does look the bees-knees!

That weekend my mate James introduced me to Hustlers Pool Hall, I’d never been before but it was right in the middle of newcastle near the Laing Art gallery. It was a great way to spend a couple hours, and drink a couple of beers! Its amazing the things you get shown in a city you thought you knew like the back of your hand!

That following working week Jamie and Myself went to a days PLC training in Cannock with a company called All Drive & Controls, it was a good introduction day. We covered the basics of input, output and touchscreen controls. The Unitronics PLC’s are incredibly powerful devices and it was good to see the kind of things that could be done with them from simple I/O to multiple stepper motor control!

At the end of that week i was heading down to London to do a weeks work at the Royal Court. Travelling down I knew that smithy was in london so when i arrived at KGS, I met him for a Black pudding Scotch Egg at StPancrass. I know that sounds like an euphemism but you can get some really good Scotch Eggs covered in black pudding rather than meat, I cant remember the name of the shop but if you go to the top end of StPancras, its directly opposite the Starbucks which is there. This is Smithy in his natural state.

The following day I was in the Royal Court, the last time I was there was over 2 years ago,  June 2012 where was working on a show about global population & warming called 10 Billion. This time I was working on a show called 2071, another show about global warming and again directed by Katie Mitchell. This time we had a d3 media server to play with and I was working with Luke Halls who as designing the video. The whole process was incredibly compressed, we installed on the Friday, checked some video on the Saturday and then had only 2 days tech and rehearsal  before doing our first preview on Wednesday. It was great to be at the court again and see old faces and some new, its always a great atmosphere in that building. Also it was great working with Luke, he had his work cut out getting everything animated with he time schedule and nothing really been set in stone script-wise till very near the end. I guess i am a little biased with workeignon the show but it does look really good, the monochrome projection combined with the brilliant shape of the set we were projection on worked incredibly well. Were off to install this in Hamburg in the middle of this month (December2014), if your around i recommend you go see it.

The following week I was back at the hangar in Tockwith where we were finishing off the tweaking and updating more requested software & hardware updates to the 3d camera flying system. Karl had made some incredible mods to the NextQ motion control system to make the bridle brilliantly smooth with loads of new features. I wrote the software for the 3d visual environment for control of the bridle, designed and built the 3d joystick console with could probably be described as a bolt on to the system enabling us to fly a gamble around on joysticks. The whole system is incredibly fast and responsive, the entire stage one team working on this have produced a brilliant piece of kit!

Its been a relatively short blog post, I reckon for the past 12 months I’ve been promising to post more often as many many things get missed when I try and compress a month onto one post.  The only reason this post has gotten finished today is because last night I set my alarm for 05:30 instead of 06:30. It wast until I went down to breakfast at the tell when i realised i was an hour early, atleasr it s been productive!

Finally, a face, not just any face but a massive face featured in 2071!




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Insert title here…….

Its Wednesday the 22nd October and time to update the blog about whats been happening over the past couple of weeks. My time has been quite nicely split across various projects, across various disciplines. So from where i last left off i was back to the hangar at stave one to continue development of a which speed winch 3d control system which StageOne are developing for a client. Karl and myself spent quite a which ironing out various little niggles which always arise when doing a new product. Ive been writing the 3d control software for the user 3d joystick flying and Karl has been doing some rather clever work in handling data transfer for a smooth flight.

On the weekend, I somehow, and I’m not yet sure how it happened as we are all never in the same place at the same time, but I managed to catch up with my good mates Mitch and BigChris. We went out on the motorbikes around northumberland and i was riding pillion on the back of Chris. I wasn’t expecting him to be accelerating as hard as he did and yes I did shout some profanities the first time he took off and I was confined i was coming off the back. It was a top time catching up!!

On the sunday i was to travel down to London to do some video programming and playback for a gig for YeastCulture. But before that i had to go through all of my stuff to make sure I had everything and at this point i decided to empty my rucksack as it was big and heavy and i really count remember everything i had in there, this is some of the contents, mainly less 2 laptops and 2 power supplies.

So, from top left to right reading like a book we have:

  1. 5 Point + H&V Laser, for projection lineups Link
  2. Passport, take it everywhere.
  3. Oyster card, priceless for London.
  4. Coloured pens, everyone likes pens!
  5. Super lightweight packable running jacket.
  6. Red backed Bicycle cards for doing sleight of hand
  7. Matrox Dual head2go, used for this Yeast culture gig.
  8. Leap Motion used for playing and developing softwares.
  9. Pencil case of random adapter cables.
  10. Wera portable screwdriver set, So useful. Link
  11. Korg Kaossilator II for making noises and general entertainmet. Link
  12. Webcam, for debugging & developing softwares.
  13. Gaming mouse, my RAT Link
  14. Some video signal adapters, HDMI/Minidisplayport.
  15. Leatherman Skelltool, Lightweight Multitool Link
  16. CUBE BOT Link
  17. USB Light (Around cube-bot)
  18. Bosch PLR50 Laser Measure Link
  19. LACIE Thndebot SSD external drive FAST!! Link
  20. Led Lenser Headtorch, dimmable & Focusable Link
  21. DVI Parrot used for spoofing EDID signals.
  22. 3D Mouse, i use this with 3d modelling software allot! Link
  23. Pitor, my little blue mascot from Poland when I briefly toured with Jonsi.
  24. BOSE Mini sound link portable speaker, I LOVE this Link
I eventually repacked my back with all the things I needed, and then packed my suitcase with clothes for the week and by sunday evening i was back down the big smoke again ready for an early start at Rich Mix in Shoreditich to begin rehearsals for the gig “Index of Metals” 

It was acne easy start tot he day and I met David and Ian from Sound intermedia who were looking after all the live mixing and audio playback, and also Simon who was following the score and cuing the piece. I was there in the roll of video & projection specialist to set up the system, program Qlab and make sure it all worked. We had been given triple screen content prior to the show split across 3 seperate video files so to make things more robust i spent a couple of days rendering out all the clips in to one long wide file which ensured sync across the screens. This was prep well worth doing, allows with rendering out an hours with of timecode which was used on occasions where the conductor needed to keep track where he was in relation tot he score and the time.

Two days later we were in the queen Elizabeth hall in the South Bank centre. It was a relatively easy morning setting up, apart from one broken VGA cable which took a while to find, and then a successful couple of rehearsals during the afternoon. After rehersalsand before the show I met up with with Nick from Yeast Culture and it was great to catch up over fish and chips! The show went very well and everyone was really happy, a success! It was a really good few days working with some really nice people!

The following day I was due to travel back north to the hangar at stage one to continue on LED development but received a call off roy asking if i could go and help Ben on a job in Battersea as Jam who was meant to be there and an ear infection and couldn’t make it. So the following day i was with Ben and the rest of the chaps from stage one installing automation for an event for Youtube.

Everything went in smoothly and ben had a nice view from front of house! The automation consisted of 3 revolves each of them with a double sided led screen on. In sequence and timed with video and performers the screens revolved for presenters and performers to come on and off the stage. Once everything was up and running it all looked really good. I must say that the production company Flourish Creative were incredibly nice people and looked after everyone really well. It was tiring out to be a brilliant week!

Early monday morning I was on a train up to Yorkshire and then headed to the hangar to catch up with work on the current large LED project.  This stage i was putting together the prototype power data distribution circuit boards, this time we had ordered to prototype PCB in red, mainly for my own amusement. After getting over a couple of silly errors it was all working swimmingly.  Heres a picture of one part of the workshop, I have to apologise for to Jamie as even though i start the day really tidy, by the ned of the day it works out like this. Sorry Jam!

Later on in the week we were on the disused airfield next to the hangar doing some real word testing on the 3d camera flying system which provided some good feedback. Thankfully for the 3 days it was up the weather was SUNNY!!! Since we have implanted quite a few improvements, and I’m looking forward tot he next test.

Here are some beautifully machined pieces of aluminium, containing lights, these elite things are really coming together. These will be used on a project going live next year.

I haven’t really seen may faces recently, this was the latest one, diddy robot head on a hydraulic valve on a scissor lift. Nuurrrrrggg!

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