Tempest production

I'm directing (incl Tech direction) a production of Shakespeare's The Tempest, (opens in 5 weeks) and we've used the production as an excuse to purchase some new lighting equipment. We're a small company performing in a small blackbox downtown theatre and so we're on a pretty tight budget.

I've just about finished all of the purchases, and I think I've managed to get everything we need (and at a pretty good price too) I figured I'd let you all know what we're doing and update you with any difficulties or discoveries along the way.

The plan

Prospero (the "wizard"), will not be seen on stage until the final 1/4 of the play. Rather he will appear only through live video projection at the back the the stage. Most of his role is in the form of long monologues, and is mostly confinded to one big exposition scene. Also we will have an intelligent light fixture we'll use to personalize Prospero (sort of like a mixture of the Wizard of Oz and the eye of Sauron from the LOTRs). Thus when his daughter is talking to him, she will address the moving light directly

The equipment

1. Logitech Quickam Ultra Vision
new at $130 (all figuers USD incl taxes shipping)http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/details/US/EN,CRID=2204,CONTENTID=11804

2. Sony VPL-FX51 LCD projector w 0.9-to-1.0 short through fixed lens
used via ebay at $1800

3. Draper Premier Rear Projection Screen 116" x 87"
used via ebay at $475

4. BlueLite X1 Mini PC Light Control w Arkaos VJ and Capture Design
new $1500

5. Sound Cue Systems
new $139

6. High End Studio Color 575 intelligent light
used via ebay at $1300

7. Lemaitre Neutron Hazer
used via ebay at $400

The Execution

1. Prospero backstage, soundproofed from the audience, watching a live video feed of the stage. He speaks to the Webcam which connects via 4x16' USB extended "amplifier cables" to the SM booth computer. Only his head is shown

(note: I've been told that although the standard for USB 2.0 allows only 16', that with the "amp" cables you can go to 80'. I am still awaiting delivery of the amp cables, so I can't confirm)

2. The live video feed is fed through Arkaos and effects are applied to modify the image. The cueing of the feed/effects is controled through Bluelite
and integrated with the lights.

3. The regular lights are controlled via our dimmers (including some new NSI packs we also just got), and the projector is rear projection mounted and controlled via 5BNC cable.

I know we are going to have some degree of latency with the projection of Prospero and the syncronization with the sound via sound card to speakers, but I can live with a little bit of that.

4. Some of the characters will also appear on the projection screen in pre-recorded clips/photos. Ie as Prospero tells the story of how his brother betrayed him, we see a image of the brother to the left of Prospero's big heard

5. We haze the theatre (it's fairly small, only a 60 seater), and keep the place hazed throughout the entire show.

So far everything is going well, and in particular I am very impressed with the integration of the Arkaos/Bluelite.

I'll let you know if (when?) we run into any major difficulties. And if anyone can see an iceburg lurking ahead that I'm missind I welcome the inpute


Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Sorry I'm not the expert you are looking for but it sounds like a really cool effect done on a limited budget quite well. Good luck. Watch your haze level in that small space, sounds like you could pretty easily create white out conditions and never see the stage again.


CB Mods
Premium Member
Sounds like a well thought out plan. I really like the approach to Prospero. I'm not usually a fan of "updateing" Shakespeare < Hamlet in the 23rd century! >, But I really like the idea of applying new technology to old productions to give them a fresh feel.
agree with van...dont reset the time period its dumb
on the note about the haze the neutron hazer is a giant exspecially for such a small venue be sure to not maxamize the output of the haze a little will go a long way. it sounds like your are going to have a ton of fun though

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