E/T/C London Goes Wide Once Again for RAF-Themed Edinburgh Tattoo

by PLSN Staff • in
  • International News
• Created: August 20, 2009

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EDINBURGH, Scotland — E/T/C London supplied a 90-meter-wide projection for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. It’s the fifth year that the company has been involved in this event, the second year that the projection canvas has been increased from 60 to 90 meters wide, and this year’s show included the most extensive use of projected visuals yet, seen for nearly half the show’s duration. E/T/C London’s Ross Ashton designed and produced custom artwork for the projections, covering an area that stretched the full width of Edinburgh Castle’s walls at the far end of the Esplanade/arena and served as a backdrop to the performance space.

Four of E/T/C’s PIGI 6K projectors fitted with double rotating scrollers were used for the task. Three covered the width of the castle wall area, with the fourth providing “drop-ins” in the area around the castle gates, through which the performers make their entrances.

Ashton worked on the creative content in conjunction with the Tattoo’s chief executive and producer, Major General Euan Loudon.

The 60th Tattoo featured a cast of more than 1,000 performers from around the world, as far away as Tonga and South Africa. The show featured a strong RAF influence as the featured armed service for 2009 and included a tribute to the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scottish poet Robert Burns.

For the Tongan Royal Corps of Musicians, Ashton provided criss-crossed images of giant palm leaves laid across the Castle walls, transforming its architecture into a tropical backdrop, overlaid with different colored washes of light.

For the start of the “RAF Medical Rescue” section, a projected Chinook helicopter descended into the arena, framing the Castle Gates with all the action taking place in front.   

The choreographed extract from Burns’ comedic poem Tam O’Shanter presented Ashton with a chance to have fun. He’d never read the poem before and enjoyed amassing a series of illustrations to highlight elements of an inebriated tale of adventure which started in the pub.

The show’s imagery also included pictures of the Devil playing the bagpipes surrounded by dancing witches, represented as massive skeletons. Down on the performance floor, the Massed Highland Dancers complemented the visuals with movement and vibrance.

For the RAF Massed Band’s Born to Fly piece, the projections were of assorted aircraft photographs, with the sequence finishing on some stylized Red Arrows’ Hawk T1s in red and white.

Toward the end of the show, at Ashton’s suggestion, a tribute was included to Henry Allingham, the last surviving soldier from World War 1 and a founding member of the RAF, who died recently at age 113. Images from his family were supplied and integrated into the PIGI films for this section.

The projection was controlled via an E/T/C OnlyCue PC-based system, programmed and operated by Karen Monid.

“The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is one of the highlights of E/T/C’s year, as well as mine as a designer," Ashton said. "I have particularly enjoyed helping to create the 2009 show, and it is good to see the concept of projection becoming more involved in the presentation of this world class event.”

For more information, please visit www.etclondonparis.com.

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