what is this thing?

The Mirage is a mobile, interactive LED light show that made its debut at Burning Man 2012. 

Construction began two years ago, building a smooth wooden shell  around a red kidnapper van and covering the entire thing with reflective mylar, EL wire, spotlights and an illuminated dance floor on top.

The result was a semi-invisible, shiny slab, warping the horizon as it lumbered across the Playa in 2011.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t considered “mutant enough” for a night license, so this year we stepped it up: wrap the bastard in LEDs!

Inside: A server cabinet with a Philips VSMPro running 7 Color Kinetics power supplies and around 4,032 LEDs spaced 4” apart. The light strings are hung like a fishing net all the way around, essentially wrapping a ~168x24 external monitor around the surface of the vehicle. 

Visuals are provided via HDMI output from a Macbook Pro, with VDMX controlling video clips, Quartz Composer patches, SWFs, and gigantic FX chains. Manual control of the visuals was achieved with TouchOSC on an iPad2 connected to a local network emanating from the vehicle.

A "typical" VDMX Layout

Audio input came through a mixer with mono mic, RCA, and RF  inputs for a variety of situations, wherein we were able to use ambient sound, or tap directly into the mixers of whatever sound stage we came across. Frequency analysis within VDMX or QC sub-patches was used to control a variety of effects.

See the main page for more of the painful details.

We’ve got big plans for 2013 - More camera input, Kinect control, more engaging visualizations, and possibly a brain-computer interface. Stay tuned.