Mr Screen

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What is Mr Screen?

The circular light fixture from Pink Floyd shows, used both for lighting directly, and also as a screen onto which can be projected short animations and clips to accompany various songs.

By the P.U.L.S.E tour it consists of 36 intelligent lights around the rim, and it was moveable from vertical (circular screen behind stage) to horizontal (halo over Gilmour).

It is perhaps 10m diameter?

A large circular projection panel dubbed "Mr Screen" first made an appearance during performances of Dark Side of the Moon in 1974 and became a staple thereafter. Specially recorded films and animations were projected onto it, and for 1977 "In the Flesh" and 1980-1981 "The Wall Live" tours, coloured spotlights were fixed around the rim, an effect which reached its zenith with the dancing patterns of multi-coloured lights in the A Momentary Lapse of Reason and Division Bell tours. In the latter, the screen could be retracted behind the stage when not required, and was tilted with its peripheral lights focused onto the stage into a single spotlight during the final guitar solo in "Comfortably Numb".

So, could we make one for a home theatre?

ie, it be a very specific wikipedia:Batten (theater)?

  • 36 mini-intelli-lights
  • Initially at least, let's say we'd want no more than about 400watts of lighting? For the sake of numbers, let's call it 360watts = 10watts per light.
    • USB conrolled? This should be controllable through USB right (still need seperate power though: note: USB at full-power/no-data mode is still only 9W)
    • How about bluetooth controlled? Saves cabling (which needs to be rolled out for power anyway... but may be added complexity?)
  • With a diameter of 3metres for a home theatre, that is a perimeter of 9.4metres - which gives us 26cm of circumference per light. To keep the proportions more or less sensible, each light should be no bigger than a fist (or magic 8-ball, or stack of iPhones - however you want to imagine it :)

Lighting effects possible

  • all beams point out - looking into a cone
  • all beams point to a point behind you - looking out of a cone
  • cone beams, weaved (beams alternate a clockwise/anticlockwise rotation)
  • all beams point to central point - in various colours
  • all beams point around perimeter to generate a halo
  • 'mood' or even night lighting by only using a fraction of the lights.
  • with 36 lights, we can allocate some lights to some of these tasks, and others to others. eg, every third light points to center with a colour, whilst the remaining 24 make a 'looking into cone' weave
    • remember, 36 is a good number because it factors all the way down into 2,2,3,3, so we can have groups of 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12 or 18 :)

Object tracking

If there is a way that an objects location in 3d space within the room can be identified, then the lights should be able to also track that object. bluetooth probably wont cut it, but maybe something similar to a wiimote hack (google for Johnny Cheung)

The lights

We need lights with controls for: heading, azimuth, focus, colour and intensity. Also, assuming both heading and azimuth can be set as a delta OR as an absolute, it'd be sweet to specify the speed of change (for each). ie, how FAST to move into the new position. This moves the smarts "out" of the master controller, and into the light. This should allow for smoother transitions.

Also, would it be worth installing laser pointers in each light as additional effect, or is that when I've jumped the shark?


Since in a home it's unlikely to be used for actual GIGS very often (though not impossible), then what is the point? Well, let's call the two orientations 'stargate' (ie, vertically flat against the wall), and 'halo' (ie, above head, horizontally)

Stargate position
Feature wall:So many feature walls are just uninteresting and static expanses of a colour, or simple design. This is a dynamic feature wall now. With the right lighting, could a stargate wormhole even be simulated? (I think so, since we can have the 9 "chevrons" in faint red pointing out, and a remaining 27 blue/white lights pointing in and moving randomly. perhaps with an oil-filled gobo?)). Also, ala Pink Floyd - a regular projector from the ceiling could project movies onto the screen. (with a gobo to make the result circular :) Note that the Stargate in-show is approx 22foot (6.7m) in diameter. I am proposing less than half that size (3m diametre = 44%)
Halo position
Light fixture:On the ceiling, it can act like regular room lighting, providing mood/night lighting options as required. Think of it as a very wide, shallow chandelier. In this position, the projector/wall can be used for "regular" projector usage.

I'd expect that most usage would be in halo mode as a variation of a regular room light. With a builtin light sensor, it could adjust to attempt to maintain the same level of lighting whenever it is "on". If natural lighting is sufficient, then it would do nothing, but would ramp up intensity as required into the evening :)


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