CPL Supplies Upside Down Video

The 'Topsy Turvy' theme of an elaborate Christmas party was taken to new dimensions by video production specialists Central Presentations Ltd. (CPL) who supplied a projection system and control for the event staged at Motion nightclub in Bristol.

CPL’s Project Managers Nick Diacre and Jimmy Smith worked closely with producer Ansy Oswin from Bright Productions  and his team to help realize the zany and original upside-down production design concept which had a great impact on guests!

Motion was divided into three areas based on a house for the occasion.  The first one was outside representing the ‘garden’; the main area of the club was an inverted ‘front room’ with everything hanging from the ceiling … with the buffet laid out in the third area which was the ‘kitchen’.

Over 1000 guests joined the celebrations, many in full fancy dress, entering the main space to be greeted by a front room – sofas, TV, coffee tables, etc. – hung from the ceiling of the venue, complete with aerial performers relaxing and watching TV.

This perception challenging introduction to the evening certainly set the mood - and that was before anyone had even had a drink!

The TV was a 32 inch LED screen from CPL, clad with a scenic border to resemble a classic 1970s retro TV playing a montage of popular programmes with the soundtrack running through the PA.

The TV, furniture, props and performer flying kits were all rigged via steels to a trussing mother-grid installed for the occasion, with all the metalwork concealed above a carpet making up the floor of the whole upside down front room area. With the addition of some clever lighting, it all looked highly authentic!

The room featured two projected windows - also upside down and complete with curtains. They were fed with two Panasonic 10K projectors which were mapped and masked so the images appeared properly behind the curtains and pelmets.

Nick Diacre and Jimmy Smith accomplished this using a Pandora's Box media server running four outputs which stored all the video footage seen through the windows and on the TV as well as feeding content to a third ‘window’ - another large projection screen at the back of the stage at one end of the room.

Video engineer Mike Court managed the installation and networking of the projection system, resulting in a complete system that could be controlled from within the media server.

This was also dressed with real fabric curtains and tie-backs, etc. and custom built to fit the space, which was around 20 ft wide. It was fed from a Panasonic 20K machine rigged from the in house advance truss.

The window frames were built by scenic designers Flat Earth, and the projection surfaces then applied to these, together with the curtains, pelmets curtain rails and tie backs (all at the 'bottom').

The trickiest technical aspect of the job for video was lining up the two projectors for the house windows, which were mounted on the same truss that was supporting all the room furniture and props - and also for some of the time - the aerial performers!

They utilized the 'live walk' technique, whereby the projections were mapped minus the weight of the aerialists ... and then tweaked when they were in place, so when the video was running the projections lined up perfectly and were central to the windows.

The screen at the back of the stage was used in the standard manner for an awards section of the show followed by a live band for which theme-related graphics were supplied by the client.

Once the band had finished their set a DJ took the event into a clubbier vibe until close … and Nick Diacre VJ'd live visuals using some content he specially created for the event and ran the system using Coolux’s interactive application builder, Widget Designer.

The rigging and performer flying elements were co-ordinated by Liam Beech who has a lot of experience working with circuses, and they took full advantage of the reasonable headroom available at Motion, an ex-warehouse space that’s now a popular West country club destination.

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