The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Atop an imposing rock inhabited since the Iron Age, at a site that’s been a fortress for nearly a millennium, sits Edinburgh Castle, home to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo for over 70 years. Although Covid disrupted the event for two years, this world-renowned gathering of pipes and drums and other regimental displays was back in full force in 2022 with Voices, an innovative and eclectic lineup on the castle esplanade. The beloved Tattoo Pipes and Drums, Fiddlers and Dancers were there alongside international army bands, Banda Monumental De Mexico and the techno-trad fan favourite Electro Pipes.

Photon was right at home at this intersection of high tech and ancient tradition to support partner Creative Technology in creating stunning backdrops for the show by projection mapping the castle with content by Kate Durkins, a feat managed using 7 Photon servers, 10 Slim 13 cameras, 7 Copernicus (for ground volume) and 23 Panasonic RQ35K projectors. Plus a special addition, custom-made low-power micro-servers for each riser developed collaboratively with Nigel Sabler of Green Hippo.

The precision rifle-tossing of the United States Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team or the stick work of Switzerland’s Top Secret Drum Corps may have stolen the show onstage, but Photon’s new calibration system was the behind-the-scenes star in the lead up to the actual performances.

At over 55.9°N latitude, summer days in windy Edinburgh are long. That meant that the time available to VYV Photon specialists Anthony “Bez” Bezencon and Richard “Biccie” Thomas for working in precious darkness was extremely limited. Acquiring the 3D real-world parameters needed to kick off the calibration process requires darkness and stillness, which is tricky, to say the least, when you’re sharing a set with other tech teams and dozens of performers.

Luckily, Photon’s new calibration system was able to collect the required data in short bursts, then test and manipulate it in the Multiview simulated 3D scene. Not having to re-run the acquisition when changing settings meant saving quite a lot of time while perfecting the setup. And being able to work on our calibration via the simulation meant more time for the other departments on set to do their own preparations.

“It was a fantastic experience to work at this historic venue and implement Photon to map Edinburgh Castle,” explained Biccie after the show, “We’d love to come back with CT again in 2023!”

  • Content/Creative Direction:

    Kate Dorkins

  • Technical Direction:

    Keith Dunken

  • Project Management:

    Creative Technology - Will Harkin and Paul Seeger

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