Problem: Peter Robins, technical planning manager for the Adelaide Convention Centre in Australia, wanted to create synergistic lighting and video applications for the opening night party for Mamma Mia!, held in a lobby with a huge window overlooking the Torrens River. He thought of “projecting video images of plants and other natural elements onto the ceiling, which is a pale gray metallic color, and ranges from 12.5m to 16.5m high.” But he didn't want to risk heat overload by mounting standard data projectors vertically. And had neither the funds nor access to a High End Catalyst system.

Solution: “It occurred to me that the Clay Paky moving mirror range, from Golden Scans through to Stage Scans, feature a removable mirror head, connected via a short DIN style cable to the main body of the light. By removing the mirror head and placing it on a mount to support the projector and the head, I could not only project onto the ceiling but move the images as well,” Robins explains.

He played with a Golden Scan II and a Sony VPL-PX10 projector until he found measurements that would line up the projector with the mirror. “With six mounting brackets made, six Generation GS II monitors rented for the job, and six VPL-PX10 projectors, our floor staff mounted each complete unit on two ground support systems of CLS tri truss, (three units per truss) with apex down to create a flat top for the projector/head brackets,” he says. “They hung the GS IIs alongside each unit, focused on the ceiling. I added a PC loaded with a continuous PowerPoint loop of 50-odd nature photos and a couple of effect loops, and the results were extremely effective”

Robins also used four Turbosound TQ440 top boxes, and two TQ425 subs, for a DJ audio system, four Martin MAC 300s as an entrance feature on vertical CLS tri truss, eight MAC 300s and eight MAC 500s for moving light effects in the main foyer and on the dance floor, plus 13 Martin RoboColor Pro 400s to up-light 13 pillars in the foyer. Other lighting included six Selecon Pacific 600s with “leaves” gobos across the ceiling, five Clay Paky VIP 300 projectors with oil wheels for a classic ‘70s look on the dance floor, and a Flying Pig Hog 1000 to drive it all. “I programmed a couple of simple slow chases for the mirror heads, projecting the loops across the ceiling.”

Robins says he used what he calls “the Mouse-alyst” again at the a state dinner in March, this time answering a client's call for multiple screens by using complex video distribution over two main screens as well as vertical lycra sails, 7×4m each, and other surfaces. Programming some images to move within the room, he focused mainly on the overhead Lycra sails. “The idea was to again use the ‘Mouse-alyst,’ GS IIs and Sony PX10 projectors, for overhead moving images, this time to Lycra sails over both stage and room,” he says.

“All up, while the Mouse-alyst certainly doesn't have the server or overlay capabilities of the Catalyst system and doesn't pretend to be similar really, it's a viable alternative for those events where you want to add some moving video imagery combined with odd projection angles and moving beams, without adding huge cost.”

If you've met a design or technical challenge and would like to share your solution, please write to this column at davi@comcast.net.