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Projecting Christmas at Windsor Castle
UK – London-based large format projection specialist, The Projection Studio (TPS) created a stunning festive projection onto the central tower at Windsor Castle, which was enjoyed by all residents and visitors to the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, Berkshire, over Christmas 2014.
Ross Ashton and his Projection Studio team were approached by Windsor’s town centre manager Paul Roach after the huge success of Ashton’s works commissioned by LOCOG for the London 2012 Olympic Games, which saw the same tower on Thames Street illuminated, together with two others, a display that attracted over 85,000 visitors to the city centre.
Aston, who has also projected multiple times onto Buckingham Palace as well as numerous other iconic strictures and buildings worldwide, was delighted to be involved in the project. “It was an excellent piece to create in terms of imagination and style, it is also really satisfying that projected art is being recognised both as something that can unify and delight communities and people and – as a result – boost local businesses very cost-effectively.”
The Castle’s central tower is 20 metres tall, 11 metres wide and highly visible. Very conveniently the size is almost 16:9 in format and the image is being projected by a single Panasonic PZ21K projector fitted with a portrait adaption kit and located in a disused office block opposite.
The original sash window where the projector was focused through has been replaced with an optical glass panel so the projector was completely protected from any external elements and had a clear surface through which to shoot across to the Castle wall.
One of the beauties of this projector – apart from its power and light weight – is that it can be run from a single 13 Amp socket, so no special mains requirements of generators were needed, making the logistics highly practical.
The parameters defining the artwork were interesting. The Castle itself does not celebrate any festivities until Christmas Eve, however the illumination started a good six weeks prior to that, so Christmassy themes were out.
Ashton instead hit upon the idea of featuring some of the beautiful original stained glass windows at St George’s Chapel within the Castle’s grounds. “This glasswork is amazing in its own right and using it for the installation connects the Castle and the special projected artwork in a subtle and elegant way,” he explained.
A bespoke photoshoot was conducted in the Chapel to gather his own original material. Many of the stained glass images were taken from the North and South choir aisles depicting portraits of monarchs together with heraldic badges, coats of arms and other decorative elements.
Ashton also photographed the Chapel’s intricate ceiling decorations and paintings on the organ pipes, the gold-leaf detail on the metalwork and the vibrant red door which is also overlaid with gold and metallic features. All these aspects offered plenty of rich and highly textured material.
Charlotte Manley, LVO, OBE, chapter clerk of the College of St. George, who curates the Chapel, was invaluable in this access and drawing attention to the many refinements of the space.
The images – which produced an enormous amount of material – were then edited and composited as animated video files by Paul Chatfield,
TPS’s on-site installation team was led by Karen Monid who also programmed the control system. The files were uploaded to a MiniMac server running Millumin software, which is perfect for single projector shows like this. A special piece of code was added to auto-start the ten-minute show at dusk which ran as a looped file until midnight each evening.
2nd January 2015
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