Beautiful video-mapping show projected on Prague's 600-year-old medieval Astronomical Clock (Updated)

[Post updated with official video, thanks misterhonk].

From Prague, a video-mapping show projected on the medieval Astronomical Clock in the city's Old Town Square. Part of a celebration for the 600th anniversary of the clock's construction.

Via the BB Submitterator, Boing Boing reader Treyka sends us the link and says, "I had no idea this was even possible with projector technology!"

Me neither! The dazzling visual show goes on for a full ten minutes.

BB reader Kerray says, "The people who worked on it are, and, and the projection itself was done by Four months of work, 5000x1200 resolution, 2x Christie 18K HD projectors." .

From Wikipedia, this schematic explaining what the various interlocking dials on the Prague Orloj represent.


  1. Flash photos of a light projection? Well, at least people aren’t wasting film costs. I remember a flight to Japan at the height of Leo-mania. They showed a movie with diCaprio using video projection. Whenever there was a close-up of his face, a young girl a couple of rows back leaped up and took a flash photo of the screen on her disposable camera. I didn’t have the Japanese to tell her that she was just taking pics of the bulkhead, poor kid.

    1. I was thinking the same thing. You’d assume that the people around them who knew they were wasting their time would clue them in…

  2. There is a story that the King of Bohemia had the builder of the clock blinded so that he would not
    be able to build a similar one for any other city. It is not actually true, based on a 19th century short story (by Jirasek I think).

    There are loads of historical references there, the chalice and the medieaval marching army refers to the Hussite revolution, the Czechs version of the protestant reformation that pre-dated Luther by a century. Quite successful at first the Hussites led by the one-eyed Jan Zizka (among the most able generals in history, who turned a peasant army, and unconventional tactics with war wagons, into a formidable force that defeated 5 crusades from all over Europe).

    There are also references to the 2nd World War and the Germans’ attempts to burn down the tower.

    Well done though.


  3. Fantastic. Beautiful. Stunning.

    I love how the commentary in the video from the original link goes from “that was so anticlimactic” to “wow” to utter silence in the crowd.

    1. RE Disney, they do this exact same thing on the revamped It’s A Small World, at Disneyland in California. I was quite impressed when I saw it. Surprised no one else on boingboing has seen that. I think they put it in about a year ago.

      RE people taking flash photos of Niagara Falls, and of Leonardo DiCaprio on an airplane: the girl on the plane was probably just not that smart, though it’s cute; that goes along with the Niagara Falls thing though in that on many cheap cameras (not just disposables) you’ll have a hard time disabling the flash at night. But the light falloff is such that the flash doesn’t affect the exposure of the falls itself. I see people taking flash photos of things outside at night all the time. The exposure is set for the ambient to be visible, and the flash is for whatever’s close to the camera.

      My parents live 25-30 miles from Niagara Falls, and in high school and when I came home on break from university a few times I rode my bike to the falls. You have to ride across the bridge with the cars if you want to bring your bike over the border, and pay a 50 cent toll (there’s a pedestrian crossing but no bikes allowed). Anyway one time I was on the Canadian side with my bike and a raggedy looking Indian guy saw me with my DSLR and asked me to take a photo of him in front of the falls. He handed me a non-disposable camera that was basically a disposable camera you don’t dispose of… but no matter how bad the quality that guy is probably going to cherish that photo and show all his relatives. Sometimes neither the technology nor the know-how (beyond pointing and shooting) are necessary :)

      On the other hand, I’m sure the Japanese girl will look back at her photos at some point and wonder why she has a bunch of photos of the interior of an airplane :)

  4. A team of writers and I just wrote a series of concepts for this same technology on a show we are producing in Hollywood. It’s pretty incredible. Hopefully, it will look as cool as this.

  5. I was a bit worried at about 3:15 when the Mysterons turned up. Where is Captain Scarlet when you need him?

  6. The hard part here isn’t the projection, it’s the work involved with creating the video content. The availability of bright HD projectors facilitates the digital artists … let’s give them full credit for the outcome.

  7. Very nicely done — and yes, the real art is creating the video content — and taking care to map it precisely to the building.

    I particularly love the trompe l’oeil effects, creating motion in the third axis. Elegant.

  8. These building projection things are amazing, and naturally enormously costly (my workplace – a theatre – wants to do one, but unfortunately I don’t think we can afford it).

    1. They’re way cool… but this is only the second one I’ve seen. The first was the AC/DC vs Iron Man 2 one on Rochester Castle from last spring. Neato fun for a big AC/DC fan like me, but not as cool as this new one.

      Do these only go on in Europe? I’d love to see one in person sometime.

      Then again, I’m having trouble thinking of a good building in L.A. to project something like this on.

  9. I was lucky enough to see this live on my Prague trip over the weekend. There were SO MANY PEOPLE in that square, let me tell you. Thankfully it ran five times for two and a half hours, every half an hour. I stayed to watch this twice, as the first time I only saw about half of the clock because I showed up late and it was so crowded.

  10. Came here to say the same (though some folks may not know you can turn off the camera flash). Remember watching folks take flash pics of illuminated Niagara Falls at night (in the old days of actual flash bulbs). Yeah, my flash is gonna illuminate the falls half a mile away. Never mind you’re illuminating a spotlight.

    [side note – why can’t BoingBoing remember I’m signed in?]

  11. Cazerine Barry in Melbourne was using this technique in her shows, projecting onto dancers bodies and perspex walls back in 2002. She had little projected dancers dancing between real dancers legs, and climbing and flying around the real dancers. When it’s done well, it’s magical, because it looks real.

  12. there is a group on vimeo for projection mapping, with other awesome videos, including the amazing work of the seeper collective, who mapped the IAC building in new york last week for the opening of the vimeo video awards. So, yes this doesnt only happen in europe, Donald :)

    enjoy :)

  13. Wow! I’ve been at that very spot several times, and I’ve always been amazed just to watch the medieval machinery do its thing. But this is a joy to behold, even just in video. Czech designer folks have long been geniuses.

  14. All 80% of humanity with cameras knows is that this box reproduces things you look at for later. They’re not thinking about the flash, they’re just thinking, “I want to save this image!”

    The thing is awesome. Great work!

  15. also wanted to mention some of the history referenced to in the video projection

    the flag with the chalice and marching soldiers is the Hussite Revolution 1418-34

    Although the Hussites ultimately ended up breaking into factions with one side joining
    the Royalists and deafeating the Taborites in Lipany within twenty years the country was governed
    by George of Podebrady a Hussite King – which is the reference to the crown and the falling coins.

    The Thirty Years war is also referenced. It started in Bohemia in 1618 and after the Battle of White Mountain – which led to 300 years of Austrian domination – 27 Czech Nobles were beheaded
    (almost directly in front of the Clock) which is the reference to the skull and the 27 white crosses.

    There is also a reference to WWII as the Nazis tried to burn the building down as they left Prague.

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