Immersive Theatre: Wandering Around in the Audience with Pico Projectors

  • Tech Staff

    Hello all,

    For the same production with the many screens, I'm looking into having actors wander around with Pico projectors. Actors are wandering around stretching fabric at certain points and we'd like to project onto it. However, we only have one day of tech, one day of rehearsal, and the actors are going to be randomly milling around the space with the audience, so precise mapping is pretty much out. I don't want to just blast huge areas with aerial projectors because I'd find the spill displeasing. If I had more money, I'd look into wireless HDMI for the pico projectors, or making Raspberry Pi's communicate with Isadora wirelessly. My current thinking is to just have an android phone with media hooked up to each pico projector, because they can't have wires tethering them to anything that can't be carried around with them.

    Anybody have a favourite pico projector that they've used and can recommend or advice on how to go about this?

    Best wishes,


  • most pico projectors i've seen can play media from a USB stick or SD card.

  • Hi Woland,

    I have a pico projector, iCodis CB 200. I bought it to use it in a production but I did not use it finally. The projector has a built-in android system and you can connect it via airplay from the mac (it will work better if you use low resolutions). The features (lumens, wifi, etc ...) are good but, for me, it was quite expensive. I took an offer and it was a reasonable price.
    An important limitation that the pico projectors have is the battery: this has autonomy for an hour and a half or something else. It's a short time if you have to prepare the show and then run it.
    I hope it helps.


  • @Woland,

    We did exactly this when Dawn and I created SWARM two years ago. I also wanted to use WiFi, but in the end there's so many issues with this, I decided against it. (Notably a very long delay because the only real way to do it is to serve HTML 5 movies from a server.) In the end, we did what @dbini said: put the clips on SD cards and had the performers hit "go" at exactly the same instant. It worked well. From experience, that's the path I recommend.

    Best Wishes,

  • Tech Staff

    @dbini @mark 

    I’m aware that there are picos that can accept USB flashdrives and MicroSD, but someone I was talking to said they had trouble navigating between clips, and if you wanted the clip to loop, you needed to make a hugely long file so it wouldn’t just play once and run out. This was why I was thinking about using an android; to allow for an easy interface to choose different clips if need be.

    Can anybody tell me how picos (I know they have different brightnesses) hold up under stage lighting. Would the image be visible at all when the pico is held within 5’/3’ or less from the surface?

    Best wishes,


  • @woland Hi, yes I have used pico on latest design, in the pic attached the distance is about 12M. 

    Because of the nature of the show the lighting design was so low my normal projector was too bright, and there was not a lot of opportunity to blackout/cover the light without seeing the shadow cutting across, hence breaking the illusion, the pico fixed this. 

    Depending on the make, the problem with the sd card on short loop is text info will appear for a few seconds on every loop, so a long movie file is required