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August 24, 2016 AT 1:00 am

The Circus Helps You See With Spotlight Tracking Tech Costumes #WearableWednesday #Costumes

Circus Spotlight

I almost passed by this post about Ringling Brother’s new show until I figured out there was some cool tech going on behind-the-scenes. Usually someone doing lighting for a show has to know cues in order to follow the performers, but not anymore according to TechCrunch. Costumes in Out of This World are embedded with tech that allows spotlights to track performers, which is helpful with such a physical show.

In the past, there used to be a “spotlight caller”, who would name the positions of the performers so the spotlight could be moved into place. You can imagine that system would have had delay. Lorelei Owens, lighting technician, explains their new set-up.

Our spotlight tracking system uses infrared lighting to track the performers. Each performer is equipped with a beacon, which is a small black box. Essentially the spotlight tracking system takes control of the pan and tilt of the light telling it where to go, while our lighting console controls the color, the gobo, the effects telling it what to do. And they work together to follow each performer based on the blinking pattern emitted from their beacon.

Beyond the blinking costumes and colorful props, you’ll find 3D mapping projection. The circus is loving its ability to transform scenes in seconds with arch style standing elements as well as the “Disney on Ice” style floor. If you like tricks with lights, check out our Pixie CyberWig tutorial. It uses a Feather MO to WiFi synch colorful DotStar LED strips to the music and graphics running off your computer. Your hair becomes the show! It’s never too early to think about Halloween, so start tinkering!


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