50 Disco Balls Fill a Room Shimmering Light
Artists Kyle McDonald and Jonas Jongejan use a special kind of light installation to create all kinds of patterns using shimmering disco balls. Even though it all looks pretty to look at, the actual set up is a lot more complicated than it appears to be. They basically use multiple projectors and 3-D scanning technology to create the effects. Their main aim was to fill a room with shimmering small reflections and patterned shadows that amazed the viewers.
To begin with the artists placed a pile of multi-sized disco balls in the middle of a room and pointed three light projectors at them. Then, they took a series of 3-D scans to capture the varying patterns of light reflecting off the balls and where they hit on the walls. This allowed them to reconstruct a 3-D model of the pixels in the room.
The whole process is an experiment to produce “structured light,” which McDonald explains this way: “If you project a circle onto a single mirror, you’ll see a circle on the wall. If you project a circle on a pile of mirror balls, you’ll see random scattered lights on the wall. So if you want to see a circle on the wall, you have to label every reflection and figure out where it’s coming from in the projection. Once you have all those labels, then you can project whatever you want.”