Vivid Sydney puts the public in control
AUSTRALIA: Each year Vivid Sydney lights up the city with what is described as ‘the largest festival of light, music and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere’. This year, several of the festival’s interactive installations transformed Pyrmont’s Harbourside into a ‘multi-sensory and engaging zone’. One of these installations, Mission Control, allowed the public to create their own two-minute light show by operating 44 Clay Paky Sharpys and 10 Mythos fixtures positioned on The Star building and Sky Terrace. Clay Paky Australian distributor, Show Technology, worked with Chameleon and Fourth Wall to get the installation up and running.
Control of the fixtures was located in a glass booth in the park opposite The Star and consisted of a large 60-inch touchscreen controller with selectable colour, movement and effects. ‘There’s also a Leap Motion Controller, which is an infra-red detector that allows you to control the intensity of the lights by moving your hand in the air,’ explained Ziggy Zeigler, lighting designer for Mission Control. ‘If you prefer, you can control the intensity via the touchscreen. You get a brief run down on the system and away you go. It’s all recorded and posted to a website from where it can be shared on your social media.’
Although this sounds simple, according to the installers the system driving the installation is ‘fairly complex’, making use of coolux’s Widget Designer to translate which buttons have been pressed on the touchscreen and therefore tell the grandMA2 console, via Ethernet, what actions to perform.
‘There’s another link from the console back to the touchscreen’s computer to make the Leap Motion infrared sensor work,’ continued Mr Zeigler. ‘Out of that goes more networking to Chameleon’s wireless DMX system which then sends a signal up to the roof and the terrace, where more Chameleon networking gear sends the signal to some boxes and then to the lights. So essentially there are three networks to get the lights to work and it was very tricky to implement. Show Technology’s Vince Haddad was invaluable when it came to getting the show up and running, and it’s been running rock solid ever since.
‘The Sharpys and Mythos exceeded our expectations,’ he added. ‘They look fantastic. However we have had to be very careful with the Mythos beams not to hit nearby apartment blocks, Centrepoint Tower or the Harbour Bridge. The beams are so bright, if they hit the Harbour Bridge they wash out the LEDs on there. If they hit Centrepoint Tower, the people having dinner there get quite offended and as there are so many apartments in the city, we had to design shapes and movements that moved around them. Whilst the Sharpys are bright enough, Mythos shining into your apartment would be like a semi-trailer parked outside your window with its lights on high beam.’