The National Library of Scotland – On the Massacre of Glencoe

To mark the 300th anniversary of the 1715 Jacobite uprising and the events leading to it, Double Take Projections created an innovative projection video showcasing one of Sir Walter Scott’s lesser-known poems.


History of the Highlanders

Client – National Library of Scotland
Location – Glencoe Mountain Range, Scotland
Date – Winter 2015
Project Partners – National Library of Scotland, Big Partnership
Projector Spec – 4 x EX16K-E Panasonic 16,000 Lumen Projectors d
Time-lapse Photography – Adam Robertson Photography
Narration – Peter Gordon
Poem – On the Massacre of Glencoe, Sir Walter Scott

Beamed onto Glencoe Mountains

Double Take Projections created a video where the words of Sir Walter Scott’s poem, ‘On the Massacre of Glencoe” were beamed, onto the Glencoe mountains and scenery. The team were moved by the history of the highlanders and the haunting lyrics of the poem, bringing around the idea of a project lead by poetry projections.

On 13th February 1692, Government soldiers massacred 38 members of the MacDonald clan in their own homes – with 40 more women and children dying of exposure in the bitter Scottish winter after fleeing the violence. The attack came after the Highlanders were too slow to declare allegiance to the new Protestant monarchs, William and Mary, who had deposed the Catholic James VII (II of England).

Historians widely regard the atrocity as playing an essential role in mobilising popular support across the Highlands for the Jacobite cause – leading to the 1715 uprising which sought to put James Edward Stuart, son of James VII, on the throne. Now, more than 300 years later, Double Take Projections strived to raise awareness of the role which the events played in Scottish history.

Sub-Zero Conditions

The crew spent over an hour in each location enduring sub-zero conditions. The project took place throughout three weekends between December and January. It took several weeks to create the finished video as there was over a terabyte of poetry projections footage to wade through. We felt it was important to mark the Massacre of Glencoe and the part it played in the 1715 Jacobite uprising, particularly in this 300th anniversary year.

The team is inspired by Scottish heritage and recognised the need to do something a bit different to get people’s attention and raise awareness of this chapter in Scotland’s history. The technology and expertise we have available at Double Take Projections allowed us to produce a video to capture the public’s imagination.

We used projectors of varying power to project onto a variety of terrains. To create interest, we blended smaller foreground shots with large distant compositions – recording each line of the poem over two hours using time-lapse photography. Each two-hour shot was reduced to seven seconds to show the movement of the clouds and stars theatrically. Peter Gordon, an accomplished voice-over artist, recited and recorded the poem in a Brixton based studio.

Raised Awareness

The project intended to create imagery that grabbed people’s attention and increase awareness of this chapter in Scotland’s history. This project was extremely well received from the local and national press. It was covered on the front page of BBC News Website, STV Online, ITN, AV Magazine, Vice and Creators Project. It received over 100,000 views on different video hosting sites. The video was featured in an exhibition at the National Library of Scotland.

“Double Take Projections Glencoe project was fantastically well-received on social media and in the press. We plan to use them again to help promote our upcoming exhibitions at George IV Bridge in Edinburgh.”

Jacqueline Miller, National Library of Scotland


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