The Lordvitator

The Mission

Create the illusion of levitation in a large open space without requiring a stagehand, in a way that can be set up and struck within seconds.

The Process

We assembled various components to test the effect with prior to committing to the full rig. This included two types of thread, as well as an Elmo toy as we did not yet own a Jesus statue.

The Execution

The unit, affectionately named the "Lordvitator", consisted of three DMX controlled stepper motors. These motors have spools attached and wound with fishing line, that then get attached through magnets to the statue.

The software for the rig ran on an Arduino Uno with a MAX485 based shield for DMX input. The unit looked at two DMX channels - one for speed, and one for direction - and updates the movement accordingly. This allowed us to perform the correct movements and speeds with board control.

Not everything goes to plan, and during install one of the connectors snapped off of the DMX board. We made a switch from digital to analog - by simply using a rod mounted behind a wall to move the statue up and down. While this method was more visible, it provided a needed solution to make the effect happen.

The Results