Diamonds are a Stage’s Best Friend

Justin Michal from Carolina Forest Community Church in Myrtle Beach, SC brings us this awesome use of projection.

Materials:
6 – sheets of furniture grade 3/8″ plywood (commonly used in cabinetry)
8 – 12 foot 2×4’s
Lot’s of heavy duty velcro strips (or liquid nails if you’re confident in your spacing)
About 30 or so 7 inch spacers (I made out of 2×4’s on a chop saw)
White enamel paint and roller
Heavy chain or cable for hanging
4 – 6 inch eye bolts
screw lock chain links
Brad nailer if you use the velcro
12 decking corner joint reinforcement plates
Flat black paint

From Justin: First we had a talented circular saw user employ a clamp down guide to cut very precise equilateral triangles. When cutting the blade will cause worse splintering on the underside of the board. Have he or she cut with the finished surface face up, keeping the splintering on the back surface. Then paint the nicer side white (2 coats with light sanding)

Once they were dry, I put the nicer side of the triangles face down on the floor (need a large area). I used the 7″ spacers and sighted down the lines of edges until the whole diamond was as close to perfect as possible. Then I created the frame, using the corner joint reinforcement plates (thin enough for me to bend to the desired angles. NOTE* We ended up adding for vertical reinforcements to the frame than you see in my drawing. Each triangle ended up touching the frame in three places.

When the frame was complete with eye bolts installed for hanging (one of each end and two close to the center), we painted the frame black. When dry, we carefully (lots of hands) set the frame on top of the perfectly spaced triangles (remember, smoother triangle surfaces facing down). I traced where the frame touched all the triangles, and we carefully picked up the frame.

Here’s where you get to choose between liquid nails and velcro/brad nailer. We went with velcro in case we needed to adjust a triangle’s placement later.

Then I applied velcro. With hook and loop strips already pressed together, I pealed off one backing and stuck it down to the triangles within the traced areas where I know knew the frame would touch. Then I pealed the backing off that faced up. Repeat with three long strips on each triangle.

Then carefully set the frame down on all the exposed adhesive velcro pieces. Then jump around on the frame to make sure it’s good and stuck.

Now grab everyone you can and pick up this crazy thing. It’s very challenging with fragile triangle edges sticking off the frame on all sides. We were close to dropping and breaking it. This part is dangerous, so figure out a safe solution before you risk life and limb.

We already had chains hanging, so I went ahead and measure where the screw lock chain links should hang. You’ll see the big ladder we used to climb up and hook the chains to the eye bolts.

We light up the diamond with a projector. I made a mask layer in ProPresenter that masks out everything that’s not a white triangle. It’s a PNG file I build in Adobe Illustrator (same software I used to draw the plans). Hopefully your projecter has some powerful “keystoning” “perfect fit” features like ours. That was a life saver.

I’ve also done additional masking with motion backs. You’ll see one where I put one motion on top of another in Adobe Premiere. I used a mask to remove every other triangle from the top video. This has a pretty “wow” effect.

We’ve enjoyed the Diamond. One thing we never spend the money on was an LED star curtain behind it. It looks a bit science fiction, and would have looked sweet in a point LED galaxy.

6 responses to Diamonds are a Stage’s Best Friend

  1. Ayomide Adewuyi August 17, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    How much did it cost you to do the design?.

    • Hi Ayomide, I didn’t track the cost very closely. I estimate it cost us about $400, but we had some of the supplies laying around already (fasteners, chain, paint, etc). The best way to figure it out would be to use the materials list and price each online at Lowe’s or Home Depot.

  2. Thank you for the detailed explanation. Great design.
    How far away is your projector from the diamonds.

  3. Thanks Daniel. The projector is about 40 feet away from the diamond back screen.

  4. LOVE THE DESIGN!!!! Do you have the masking PNG file you used that you could share?

  5. Daniel Georgewill October 13, 2017 at 3:15 am

    great design …please i want to know the paint you used for the triangles

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