Stage Designs

Throwback: Multi-Purpose Squares

Luke McElroy from SALT Nashville Conference in Nashville, TN brings us this versatile use of hanging squares. (Originally posted June 2014)

They used wooden squares wrapped with a cotton material lined with LED Strip Tape in order to create a “LED Wall” that they could project onto, map various patterns into the LED Squares, and most importantly tell a powerful story with. Their heartbeat was to show the conference how a set/stage design could tell a story and evolve as the story of the conference evolved. Using simple LED Strip Tape and a few Chinese DMX Powered controllers, they were able to use MadMapper to convert a very simple high contrast video into a DMX signal and into the lights.

They also made sure the canvas on the front was able to absorb projected images from two 12,000 lumen projectors at front of house. Then they kabuki’d (or dropped free fall style) the entire set on the second day in order to represent our fallen and brokenness. Then the square panels were aligned in a manner to which they could put them in a giant cross and light the squares up one more time.

It cost $2500 to make with all parts, wood, controllers, cloth, and cabling.

Set build details:

  • Each square was 1.5″ lumber cut into 4 pieces and staple gunned into a square.
  • The used 400 square feet of muslin from a local fabric store.
  • The squares were hung using S hooks – all of them were 3″ apart in every direction.
  • They lined the squares with LED 5050 “white” LED strip tape.
  • They cut each roll, which was 5m, into 3 pieces.
  • They lined the LED tape on the inside of each panel effectively turning each panel into a “pixel”
  • They made 100 squares and used 96 for the cross.
  • The center screen was hand made. It was approximately 5×8′ and it was a non-standard ratio.
  • They used some 27 channel DMX LED controllers that they found on eBay.
  • They used about 8 controllers to control all the LED.
  • They controlled the LEDs using a software app called MadMapper which allowed them to “pixel map” the LED In the panels, IE – each panel could effectively become a pixel of video.
  • They also projected onto the panels using three 12k projectors – a Left, Right, and then one on the center screen.
  • They used VidVox’s VSMX for all content playback on the surface.

SALT-Squares-Cross---2013

SALT-Squares-Falling---2013

SALT-Squares-LED---2013

SALT-Squares-Projected-2---2013

Clustered Balloons Tent to Cafe

7 responses to “Throwback: Multi-Purpose Squares”

  1. Alfred says:

    wow>>>it’s amazing!could u kindly send me a step by step procedure as to how i can achieve this?thanks

  2. Paul says:

    What kind of cotton material did you use and where did you get it?

  3. Brad Frederici says:

    This is great! Likewise any more info on the details would be appreciated.
    Thanks,
    -Brad

  4. Duncan Campbell says:

    I was there and it was epic. I’ll never forget it, and I bet I’ve told the story 100 times.

  5. Nick says:

    The set:
    – Each sqaure was 1.5″ lumber cut into 4 pieces and staple gunned into a square.
    – We used some 400 ft/sq of muslin from a local fabric store, really nothing fancy just cheap!
    – The sqaures were hung using S hooks – all of them are 3″ apart in every direction.
    – We lined the sqaures with LED 5050 “white” LED strip tape.
    – We cut each roll, which was 5m, into 3 pieces.
    – We lined the LED tape on the inside of each panel effectively turning each panel into a “pixel”
    – We made 100 sqaures and used 96 for the cross.
    – The center screen was hand made. It’s aproximarely 5×8′ and it’s a non-standard ratio.
    – We used some 27 channel DMX LED controllers that I found on eBay.
    – We used about 8 controllers to control all te LED.
    – We controlled the LEDs using a software app called MadMapper which allowed us to “pixel map” the LED In the panels, IE – each panel could effectively become a pixel of video.
    – We also projected onto the panels using 3 12k projectors – a Left, Right, and then one on the center screen.
    – I used VidVox’s VSMX for all content playback on the surface.

    Hope this helps!

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