How to create a giant crystal ball retro projected on the head of the Mentalist?
When the show Amaluna was created, the idea grew to create a pregnant woman’s belly on which the image of a foetus could be projected.
Unfortunately, the project was put on ice.
The idea was taken up again when, for the Kurios show, we wanted to create a character – the Mentalist – who could read a spectator’s mind and project those thoughts onto his head, like a crystal ball.
There were several technical challenges, the main one being how to integrate a lot of equipment – computer, projector, lens, mirror, etc. – in the Mentalist’s costume, as well as projecting the video content at almost 360°.
Oh, and another little detail… we also wanted the Mentalist’s head to swell on stage 😀
Atelier Numérique took up the challenge. First, it was necessary to draw the support for the different material components, which was created from the 3D scan of the artist’s head.
Several versions were created. At first, a holder was installed on the artist’s back to hold the computer, battery and air cylinder.
In the end, the size of the computer and battery were reduced so that everything could be included directly in the head of the costume. The air tank was removed.
So, how do you get the head to inflate without an air tank?
Considering all the challenges it represented, the balloon was replaced by a rigid plastic shell. Initially, the balloon was inflated with CO2, which was cheaper and more compressible than air, creating frost on the lens and in the balloon. From time to time, the balloon would inflate slightly differently, affecting the quality of the projection. Finally, there was a risk that the balloon would burst with wear and tear, a factor that was difficult to control.
The final version creates an equally spectacular effect, but much easier to maintain.
What are the next steps?
We’d like to bring this type of projection under a dress. Unlike an external projection, this would allow the artist greater freedom of movement. The challenge here is the artist’s legs: that would require at least 3 projectors to eliminate the shadow.