Now I enlisted the help of Jim Beaty, a engineer friend of mine who really stepped in and became essential to the success of the project.

One of our first challenges in upscaling to the full size version was to create leaves that required 11' foot plywood, to do this required scarf jointing our 1/4 " ply to make it big enough.

I want to share with you the development of the iris/aperture that we used as the set for our production of PIPPIN. 

As shown in the photo at the right, the aperture wall stands 12' high and the opening reveals a rear projection image that changes when the aperture is closed and then opened again. Here is a link to a clip showing it opening up.

It all began when I had decided to use a rear screen projection in addition to a unit set for the production. It occurred to me to use a round opening as the reveal and I thought that I would project an iris movement ( ala the James Bond films) as the transition.

But one day as I talked about this idea with Gregg Mann, he asked why don't I build the aperture and that he had plans for one. At that point I thought it was an insane idea, my experience with apertures was with the ones inside my lighting instruments that had LOTS of moving parts.

In my searches, I ran across which had a couple of projects for building apertures. At right is one of them that is a cardboard version as well as a wooden one. It was a great starting point ( they have lots of projects, check them out if you like to build things). I also ran into ones that you could build if you had a 3D printer or were building one for a window.

I also had the one in a book from Greg that was for a tiny version intended to go into a goggle lens that required 12 leaves.

I started to get an inkling of the various parameters involved in the design of said aperture. The number of leaves dictates the width of the mechanical ring, the pivot points can be in two different orientations, and the adjuster ring has its own set of considerations.

Using one of the versions, set out to build a working model .It would be an a 2' by 2' mounting board and use 6 leaves pinned at opposite ends of the leaf.

We also set up our main frame for it all up on some sawhorses so we could get in and work around, and glued up hardboard arcs to become the adjusting ring.

Click on PIPPIN project Page 2 for more

This is the finished model.