Back in the Real World
This last weekend was MileHiCon, and our friend Rose hounded us suggested politely that we should do costumes (she runs the costume contest).
Since this was the first convention we’d been to IRL, we thought we ought to protect ourselves Our costume, Back in the Real World, was simply a set of monitors so we could pretend that we were at the convention via Zoom. Where it is safe.
Of course we had some problems–Anna was on mute when we started, and later on I locked up (not enough bandwidth on the stage apparently). Anna had to slap me to fix the problem!
It might not look it, but these were actually quite complicated to build. They had to be light enough to stay balanced and let us climb the stairs to the stage, etc. The frame is made of riveted aluminum with poster board cladding and various stickers and post-it notes for decoration, along with a strip of control icons suspended on clear plastic.
There is also built-in led lights to highlight the virtual backgrounds and a speaker in each so that we could be heard (although we might have been fine without those–the room wasn’t as big as expected).
I was really hoping to find some cool posters for our virtual backgrounds, but this was harder than expected. We could only find a few at a local store, so mine is of a bunch of Marvel superheroes (although a lot of people thought it was of some sort of cliff with a waterfall, which would have been cooler anyway). Anna’s is of a dinosaur, and actually worked a lot better.
Here is an interior shot that shows the frame and the lights:
The edges of the metal are covered in tape, which is why it looks a little ugly. I did this for safety, although Anna accidentally cut her finger quite badly when she was cutting out the Zoom controls (but is okay now). It is traditional to offer a blood sacrifice to the costume gods, and in this case it worked, since we won the award for Best Presentation!