Golden Rule number 11 by Lomo Amigos Sjaak & Nout: "Just because it's analog, doesn't mean it can't be hi-tech. I agree big time and that's why we decided to make some action out of those words. We upgraded the Lomo Matrix into a Mega Lomo Matrix!
The Lomo Matrix – a phenomenon we all know. Gather a bunch of Lomographers together, create a massive circle and let them shoot a picture right at the same time of somebody who makes a cool move in the middle. The outcome? A 360 degrees ‘Matrix’ – Lomography style.
Over the past years multiple local communities of Lomographers created a Lomo Matrix, from Paris to Rio and Berlin – everywhere around the world. Some versions were edited slicker than the others, but none of them ever used technical support to optimize ‘the timing’. Because hey, it’s all about timing!
Me and the two Dutch Lomo Amigos Sjaak & Nout decided it was about time we change this phenomenon. We wanted to add some technical tools to the Lomo Matrix, but yes, 100% analog of course! Expense nor effort were spared in the realization of this crazy but wicked plan. Obviously everyone wants to know how the final movies of this Mega Matrix look like, but even more interesting is this ‘making of’. That’s the reason for this tipster, so everyone is able to build his very own Mega Lomo Matrix Detonator. Are you ready?
This is your shopping list:
- 15 cable releases of at least 10 meters long
- 15 analog cameras with a cable release thread. We’ve use the La Sardina
- 15 monopods of 1,5m tall. You can buy them, but also build your own. We’ve used simple MDF plates and some steady metal bollards.
- enough MDF wood
- glue for wood
- 5x distributor tubes
- 2m extra tubes
- 8bar high pressure racing pump
- cordless drill and some screws
- primer + paint and brushes
- piece of sturdy rope and a PVC tube
We decided to build the big box our selves. You obviously could recycle something else into the big detonator box. Our reason to build the box was simple – we wanted to have something that could carry and store all Mega Matrix supplies.
Building the Detonator
Step 1 – Visit your local construction shop
Make a little trip to your local construction shop and get your selves some wooden plates. To make it easy – let those guys saw the plates for you. Make sure to bring a little drawing with the right measurements. We’ve requested 1 big plate of 3m by 1,5m and cut them into 6 square pieces. Enough to make one square box.
Stap 2 – Fixing the top
Drill a hole in the cover of the box. That’s the stop where you place the racing pump. Then saw the cover into 2 triangles. This way you will be able to close the top smoothly, with even one piece that stays steady on the corners.
Stap 3 – Angle bars and side plates
Go saw the wooden angle bars according to your measurements. Place them on the baseplate and screw them tightly. If you have 6 perfectly equal plates of wood, they will seamlessly connect the box. Just a matter of the right measurements.
Step 5 – Placing the racing pump
Place the racing pump in the box and connect all tubes to the distributor tubes. Be safe with the amount of extra tubes but take care of the limited space. Too many tubes could cause spaghetti.
Proceed with caution and do not do anything crazy.
Step 6 – Coloring
Voila – the box is ready to get his colored coat! If you have used MDF wood, make sure you use a layer of primer first before you starting coloring. I have chosen for lomo-red and after two layers of paint the box was ready!
Step 7 – Handles
Making your box ready to carry is your final step. If you want to handles on the sides of the box, I suggest to drill 2 holes on each side. Push a piece of robe through the holes and slide on both robes a 10cm piece of PVC tube. This is your handle. Then the inside of the box you make a knot on the 4 ends of the robes.
Testing the detonator
Just building a nice box is cool, but eventually it’s all about the technical action! Our idea to couple 15 cameras with cable releases as a pneumatic system to a bicycle pump had to be tested first. And there we go:
YES, we were hooked when we heard a synchronic click of 15 cameras! That was the official confirmation – the system works. As long as you connect the tubes smoothly without any chinks, you’re good to go. And a extra cool feature was the little counter on the racing pump. That little boy pointed out 1,2 bar when the pressure was high enough to shoot all 15 cameras. Good to know!
Caution: make sure you take away the pressure in the tubes each time you hit the pump. Easily take of the starting point of the tubes into the racing pump, and you’ll see the air + pressure in all tubes fly away. If you don’t do this, your entire system could explode ;).
Mega Matrix Test @ Dam Square Amsterdam
With the beautiful box and a accomplished detonator test, it was about time for our very first Mega Matrix test! We quickly discussed with the Lomography Gallery Store Amsterdam crew to organize this event as a official Lomography evenement for the Dutch community. A nice group of enthusiastic Lomographers gathered around and helped us out with the set up of the Mega Matrix. Unfortunately the wind was blowing that day massively, and therefore all monopods had to be controlled by at least one person. Nevertheless there were hundreds of people checking out what we were doing, and even LomoPino was represented.
And this is the final movie of the first Mega Lomo Matrix!
Mega Matrix @ Madnes Festival 2012
In 2011 we visited the Madnes festival at Ameland, the Netherlands, and did a standard Lomo Matrix on the beach. Due to the great succes of our presence, we’ve been invited to come along in 2012 as well. But this time with a bigger crew, a bigger program ánd a Mega Lomo Matrix! So off we went.
The crew jumped in a big green VW Lomo van and travelled all the way up to Ameland, the Netherlands. Our program that weekend consisted in several Diana, Sardina and LomoKino workshops, but also a few photo competitions and on Sunday the hit of the weekend – the Mega Lomo Matrix. We were fully confident that this edition would work even better than the test case in Amsterdam. So we took enough time to prepare the set up on the beach that Sunday morning. We dug in all monopods and cable release wires, and gathered around enough festival people to join this great analog experiment. All ‘clicks’ went smooth again and this got us the best footage to edit the final movie. Voila and see for yourself:
This latest version of the Mega Matrix makes me proud. Because it basically all started with some stupid silly idea while drinking a beer in bar, but turned out into an amazing and succeful experiment. The ‘Mega Matrix Kit’ is on stand by in the Lomography Gallery Store Amsterdam and could be picked up by anyone who dares to make a Mega Matrix as well. The only things you also nood are a public space for a nice audience, at least 15 tenants, at least 15 cameras and a hell lot of fun! If you decide to organize one soon in Amsterdam, hit me a message and I’ll be there!
A BIG thank you goes out to the following Lomographers: Sjaak & Nout, fritssi, s0y, annais, lauravanroemburg, joers, anna-lomo, yarah, mephisto19, dannygriffioen. But also to the architects at Lomography HQ and all people I forgot to mention. Without you these experiments could never happened!