Parallax Insider News

Destiny 2 Live Action Trailer: Cayde-6’s Animatronic Head and Weapons Use the Propeller Multicore Microcontroller - BlocklyProp makes it easy to control WS2812 Smart LEDs

  • By: Ken Gracey Published: 26 September, 2017 0 comments

Earlier this month, the video game sequel, Destiny 2 was released worldwide. Along with the game launch was a Live-Action Commercial, Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts of Kong, Skull Island fame. Parallax hardware was used prominently in the characters.

Parallax friend Rick Galinson writes the following:

The commercial is amazing and Parallax had something to do with it! The commercial centers around a future earth, ravaged by a war with aliens. Our heroes are seen using a variety of hi-tech weaponry to defend what’s left of the Last City. The narrator, Cayde-6 along with all of the weaponry and costumes were built by the team at Legacy Effects in Los Angeles. I led the build of Cayde’s Animatronic Head as well as the mechanical, electrical and programming of the Light Reference weapons for the shoot. The Light Reference weapons (the flaming sword, the electrical staff and the electrical shield) were built to cast realistic light onto costume fabric, helmets and the surrounding environment. As the actors used these ‘stand-in’ weapons during filming, the light they gave off would illuminate the clothing near the weapon and create shadows on the far side of the actors. Moving the weapons as they needed for each scene would put the correct lighting effect wherever it would naturally be. Then, in post production, the CG department could overlay flames or lightning bolts onto the reference weapons we used in the raw footage. This technique saves the filmmakers a lot of time and money that would be required to put realistic lighting on different fabrics and hard surfaces in such a dynamic scene.

Each weapon has Lithium batteries, voltage regulators, a Propeller chip (Prop Mini or Propeller Quickstart), various switches and approximately 1500-2000 WS2812 Smart LEDs. The light strips are programmed to have semi-random ‘Fire’ and ‘Electrical’ pulses traveling along their length or around the edges. Jon McPhalen’s WS2812 LED control software was, of course, the heart and soul of these effects! I don’t think I’ve ever done a Propeller job without using some of Jon’s incredible code! Thank you, Jon!! And, THANK YOU Parallax for providing us with so many great tools to work with!

- Rick Galinson

If you’re interested in learning more about how to control the WS2812 LEDs for your own project take a look at our BlocklyProp tutorials:

- Ken Gracey, CEO, Parallax Inc.