As part of the 2004 Chepstow Festival, E\T\C UK brought their large format projection magic to the ancient ruins of Caldicot Castle in Monmouthshire, for a three weekend son et lumière production, Footprints On The Sands of Time, which recounts the history of the castle and the town. The producers of the show, Ned Heywood and Anne Rainsbury, are firm advocates of the impact, beauty, and advantages of large format projection for storytelling.

"Ned and Anne had a clear idea of what they wanted initially," says Ross Ashton of E\T\C, commenting on the dynamic use of projections in the show. "They had some cool new ideas about the presentation, including wanting to project across the large grassy ‘stage’ area directly in front of the seating."

Footprints On The Grass

Ross Ashton designed the projection installation and produced more than 200 images as scrolling artwork. The artwork was compiled from local archives, and custom created images and computer graphics, supplied by locally-based artists and coordinated by Heywood.

Ashton used three PIGI 6Kw projectors with double rotating scrollers, located on a custom-built platform at the rear of the seating stands. The throw distance was over 100m. Two projectors focused on a special arched screen to the left, while the third beamed onto the castle keep on the right. The projectors scrolled and rotated constantly in all directions throughout the 90-minute show.

The projections onto the grass had dramatic impact, as bold, bright images darted across the entire width of the 70-meter performance space. Some slick slide design was required for this effect, because the images used for the screen and the floor had to be integrated into the same frame of the scroll, but also needed separate aspect correction to apear in perspective.

Large skeleton projections scroll across the lawn and the castle walls.

Programmer Andy Murrell ran the shows using a PIGI’s OnlyCue PC-based software. The E\T\C UK team aided during set up and get out by the lighting crew from Theatre Production Services led by Dave Tulloch. The projection, lighting, sound, pyrotechnics, and more than 100 actors combined in a memorable show directed by Nick Bamford.

For a sense of the size of the projections, note the actor to the right.