Daens or the 2nd musical in a row to take place in the Studio 100 Pop-Up Theatre in Puurs. In a bid to equal or even transcend the success story of the previous war dramas '14-'18 and '40-'45, the ambitious Daens production launched february 21st 2020 to be shut down quite immediately, rescheduled show after show to finally launch August 4th 2021. Press, public and cast were thrilled after the première. The emotional story of working class hero father Daens from Aalst had surpassed the highest expectations. And again it is the WICREATIONS team behind the impressive orchestration of the 8 moving audience stands.
WI technology also controls the 8 LED screen trucks and the 2 scenery wagons. But it is the first time show callers in a Studio 100 production can fully benefit from the integration of the new WIMOTION 3D visualizer as part of the WIMOTION Ecosystem aiming at a full circle collaboration between different expertise profiles involved in a live show. The visualizer utilizes advanced features that significantly finetune precision and consequently safety levels in a live production. Showcaller Valérie tells her story.
THE POP-UP SETUP
The spectacular moving audience story sent shockwaves through the entertainment market when first showcased in the previous Studio 100 war dramas. And now it has again been a headline-grabber for the Daens musical.
First of all of course because the immersive experience is still quite unprecedented in the world of theatres and musicals. Secondly the more niche press loves the story because of the tech wizardry: 209 people being divided and seated on 8 enormous galleries, empty weight 28 tons smoothly gliding left/right, back & forth, parting and seamlessly fusing smoothly around a static stage to create new sightlines. Add 8 video screen trucks and 2 scenery wagons. Imagine the complexity of coordination and timing of the subsequent scenes. Everything moves all the time.
The Studio 100 concept is clear : forward-thinking, smart business policy and insight in consumer behavior resulted in a long term investment with fixed high tech infrastructure mixed with creative variability for every production.
VALERIE'S JOB UP TO NOW
And now Valerie Geeraerts comes in, the lady calling the cues for the Daens musical. To fully understand the impact of collaboration in the motion story behind the rafts of a production of this magnitude, let us take you somewhat deeper into the story. Studio 100 made a large investment a few years ago to build their own pop-up venue in Puurs, based on a set of 8 moving audience stands, 5 moving LED towers and a couple of wagons for decoration. Depending on the production, the content and programming can be adapted. On top of it all, around 100 actors and horses are walking in between the moving elements on a constant basis in a dark set. For sure a challenge in terms of safety. Up until now, Valerie used a topshot camera image to monitor the position of all elements. A high focus and often nerve wrecking job. In fact not really exploiting refined data and tech potential we have nowadays.
THE 3D BREAKTHROUGH
So for Daens, we first Introduced the WIMOTION 3D visualizer to Valerie allowing her now to have multiple angled views on the exact position of the moving elements. She now uses the visualizer as 3D monitor of her set. Using the WIMOTION PLAYER, which can be downloaded from the WICOMMUNITY site, the visualizer run through can be recorded and shared around the show’s stakeholders. Using the PSN OUT function, the recorded show can also be used as input to WYSIWYG or any other PSN supporting software.
THE ECOSYSTEM OR TRANSLATION OF THE WI DNA
The 3D visualizer is an extension and integral part of the so-called WIMOTION ecosystem. Not only a proprietary stage motion system made up of hardware, software, objects and possibility for up to 588 connected devices and machinery. That’s of course great, such an impressive 360° orchestration designed to move objects around seamlessly for the most surrealistic stage motion sets. But the ecosystem is much more than that. It is the result of a WICREATIONS philosophy, thought over and worked out during pandemic in a bid to turn hibernation into relevant productivity. All WI people teamed up, R&D designed and tested. And designed again. WICREATIONS ambition is not only to be a tech company but a meaningful tech company. With a role in society. So focus automatically directed towards added value and benefits for a variety of user profiles in the live entertainment sector.
WHY NOT MAKE AUTOMATION MORE SIMPLE
Challenge was of course to devise a highly performant stage automation concept but at the same time work out flows and configurations versatile and ease of use enough to also meet the needs of local players and stages. Away from all the engineer wizardry. Main questions were (and will always be in an innovation setting): What are the tech flaws in an overall live production on crucial parameters such as precision and safety? How can we better perform and what does it take? What are the missing links, the dots and people to connect in this 360° story?
LET’S STICK TOGETHER
Key and heart of the ecosystem is collaboration meaning various expertise profiles on a show fluidly working together in the ecosystem, fusing expertise, learning from each other and permanently optimizing their show concept. Because what is it that unites all event pro’s involved with the same production? Right: 1 common goal : boost overall show performance. So from now on with this ecosystem stage motion designs can be pre-programmed, simultaneously 3D pre-viewed, finetuned and realized in 360° integration by a variety of expertise profiles collaborating from all over the world.
Director is Frank Van Laecke, technical producer Bart Caels and Gert Verhulst co-founder / co-CEO of the Studio 100 Group together with Hans Bourlon, signed for the artistic supervision. Anja Van Mensel is the CEO of Studio 100 Benelux and Director Content Creation.