or the second year running, large format projection specialists ETC UK are creating and beaming giant images onto the castle walls for the 2006 Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
ETC’s Ross Ashton was asked back after the success of last year’s show that introduced projection into the visual mix for the first time in the event’s 57 year history. The dramatic 200 ft wide by 98 ft tall moving pictures cover the Castle battlements and Gatehouse
This year the theme for a specially produced 6 minute projection show was a tribute to 370 years of Scottish soldiery, performed by the Bands of the Coldstream and Scots Guards. It was also marked the end of a 12 year reign by the Tattoo’s chief executive and producer, Brigadier Melville Jameson CBE DL.
In conjunction with Jameson, 2006 Tattoo Director of Music, Lt. Col. Robert Owen and Major Graham Jones, director of Music for the Coldstream Guards, Ashton designed and storyboarded the projection part of the show.
He amassed material from 12 different archives, stretching from the raising of the Scots Guards in 1633 to contemporary conflicts, to make up the show content. These included the Regimental Museums of Scotland, The Imperial War Museum, the National Museum of Scotland, the National Gallery of Scotland, and private collections. “Researching and gathering all the necessary material involved was the biggest and most time consuming challenge, and also the most rewarding aspect of this year’s project,“ states Ashton, who also originated several elements of the artwork himself.
The Tribute to the Scottish soldier kicks in just after half way through the show, once it’s sufficiently dark for the projection to look its best, and is followed by a series of projected still backdrops for the rest of the performance.
The surface is a tricky one for projections, the battlements are approximately 98 ft behind the gatehouse and all of it is a dark brown, uneven surface.
Hardware-wise, they’re utilizing four PIGI 6Kw projectors all with double rotating scrollers and 85 cm lenses, configured as two cross-fading pairs, each pair soft-edged together to make one image. The two surfaces of the Barracks/Wall and Gatehouse are treated separately, each with their own projection artwork beamed from the relevant set of projectors.
This year, the projectors are rigged in a cabin on the end of the control platform on top the end-on seating arena facing the Castle walls. This is a departure from last year, where they were positioned on top of the control platform in a tarpaulined structure. Doing it this way saved enormous amounts of time on the get in and ensures the kit is completely weather protected.
ETC UK’s Paul Highfield and James Probert spent two weeks on adapting the pod into a viable projector cabin, undertaking bespoke cutouts for the lenses and adding sufficient heat extraction, access and other technical facilities.
ETC’s programmer and operator is Karen Monid who is using a PIGI OnlyCue PC-based system. Monid was joined for the load in by ETC crewmember Michael Barry.
Lighting is designed by Gerry Mott and supplied by PRG and audio is designer by John Del’Nero with equipment supplied by Wigwam.
The dynamic 2006 Tattoo features an international cast of over 1,000 performers, incorporating 31 overseas groups as diverse as a Ugandan orphan choir, Swiss percussionists, a military orchestra from Chile, a Kung Fu group from China, and many more.