Driving Projected Theatrical Sets

Driving Projected Theatrical Sets

Ion offers a number of projected sets that can be driven with Muséik. There are a few unique aspects to a projected set that should be considered.



In many cases a back wall cyc curtain will work very well. This setup gives you maximum depth for staging and maximum width for your projections. Other possible ideas include a standard projection screen hung behind and above the cast, or a projection mapping setup where the size and shape of the projected image is controlled by a program like QLab or MadMapper.


A second important consideration is the size of projector you will use and maybe even how many projectors will be necessary. An underpowered projector may cause serious problems for your production if it results in the projections being washed out by your stage lighting. In general we have found that planning for 12K-14K lumens is a safe approach, although even brighter setups will make your set really pop. Remember that lumen brightness is cumulative, meaning that if you layer two 6K projectors on top of each other the result will be a 12K projection. 

Your projection plan may also require projectors throwing on different surface areas. Two projectors placed in a line and set to "Edge Blending" will allow you to double the width of your display surface. Or, you might use a collection of smaller projectors to throw images on several physical set pieces placed at different angles and positions on stage.

**Note: Ion Concert Media Owns a Christie Roadster 14K projector and an ultra short throw lens which can be rented for your production. Contact us for info.

The options are nearly limitless. Be creative and have fun designing!


Next you should consider your production plan in broad terms. Does your preferred lighting plan lend itself to adding projections? Your lighting designer will want to avoid light bounce onto the projected surfaces and maybe take a more toned down approach to the entire lighting plan. Depending on projector placement actor shadows can become a problem. In general you can assume that a projector flown above the stage throws its image at such a steep angle that cast shadows are not a huge concern. In fact, a projector hung 18 feet from the curtain and at least 20 feet high will likely allow cast members to get within 4 feet of the curtain before shadows start to appear. Lastly, plan your physical set to blend in with and compliment the projected set. Think of ways to "frame" the projection so that it melts into the rest of your set design.



Ion's projected sets use our proprietary digital sync platform called Muséik (mew ZAY ik) to drive the projections. There are no click tracks and no choppy video chapters; each scene and transition flows seamlessly and is perfectly synchronized with the pace of your performance. Lean more about the Muséik platform here.


Each Ion-produced set includes professionally designed static images that form the foundation for your set-based story-telling. But in addition, there will also be sections that that incorporate atmospheric (non-synchronized) motion and, where appropriate, micro-sync sections where the projections are closely choreographed to the live action on stage.  Watch a video about how Muséik works here.


Our sets are designed to be as flexible as possible. However, we recognize that you may desire to make a cut or edit that does not align with our Show Files. Muséik Show Files are not editable, which means you are not able to simply remove a section that you do not need.

But do not worry. The platform is incredibly flexible and we promise you will be able to find an artistic solution to just about any cut or edit you can dream up. Here are a few techniques you may want to consider:

1. The Tempo Slider. This is the main sync control function in the platform. The operator will have the ability to increase or decrease that playback speed of the digital files by up to 30%. This is an easy solution if you want to cut a verse out of a song with an atmospheric sync. In real terms most of the sync issues you may face due to cuts or edits can be solved with the Tempo Slider.

2. The Fade Control. Option two is also quite simple. To skip bigger sections or in places where your edits make the Tempo Slider impractical you can follow these steps:
      a. Fade the video to black (f your file includes audio, fade the audio out as well)
      b. Use the Tempo Slider to move the file to the desired location
      c. At the proper cue, resume playing the video and then fade it back in

3. Switch Media Bays. Another idea is to load your media file into more than one media bay. Admittedly, this option is less elegant than those before and after, but it works if you need it.  Follow these steps:
      a. During pre-show load 2 or more instances of the Show File into the media bays. Adjust audio settings
      b. At the appropriate time, fade the video in the first track to black
      c. Open the second instance of the Show File
      d. Fade the second instance to black, use the Tempo Slider to advance top the proper location
      e. Press play on the second instance and then fade the video back in

4. Use Your Redundant System. This is the most pro solution, and the solution best able to handle every scenario. It requires a second (redundant) computer running Muséik (which you should have no matter what) and a simple 2-way video switcher like this one on Amazon for $13. (if your files contain audio you may also want a second audio interface). Follow these steps:
      a. Load and open the Show File on both computers. Set Computer A to play at the beginning, set Computer 2 to begin at the desired cut
      b. At the appropriate cue, switch the video feed from Computer 1 to Computer 2, press play on Computer 2 and continue the show
      c. If more than one cut is needed, reset Computer 1 at the next cue point during a portion of the show where a static image is on screen
      d. As a variation on this system, engage a second operator to run Computer 2 and tag-team the production, swapping between the two computers as the "Live" feed

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