Automation is a central element of any potential visual canvas. By moving lighting, set, screens and other props or changing the complete architecture of a performance space, it is a dynamic and powerful tool. Formerly motion had a relatively limited scope and was mostly restricted to large, basic and obvious moves. New technology such as integrated electromagnetic side locking systems open new horizons for much more subtle, fluid and 360° seamless visual landscapes.
3D and augmented reality
In the world of visuality, the aim is to realize unforgettable immersive experiences making a spectator no longer just watching a show but being right in the middle of it. And that’s exactly what audiences expect nowadays. One of the main reasons is that people get spoiled by the tremendous virtual potential of augmented reality and online 3D effects with the gaming sector geeks as invincible innovators.
The Black Project
One of the gamechangers in the field of show design is Roland Greil, based in Germany and working internationally as a lighting designer, director and programmer across multiple sectors. He was brought onboard Rammstein’s last tour as the show’s co-lighting designer and project lead by Woodroffe Bassett Design (WBD) and joined a world-class creative team that also included renowned set and production designer, Florian Wieder. Roland believes that the future of show design will be immersive and increasingly based on smart collaboration of various expertises.
With The Black Project (https://www.blackproject.design) a new US-based integrated show design practice and a collaboration with Florian Wieder, the aim is to create bigger picture designs and environments that encompass all areas of visuality. “This is hugely exciting and also the way Florian and I see design projects, especially in entertainment, evolving in the immediate future”.
With The Black Project the aim is to create bigger picture designs and environments that encompass all areas of visuality.
Collaboration of ideas and unique skills
Greil explains that he and Florian are looking at lighting, video, set and scenic, automation, SFX and so on, offering all the visual and technical disciplines in one coherent and consistent studio source. Working collaboratively like this is very much about the fusion of ideas and meeting of minds, a melting pot of inspiration from which we can draw on many different strands.
Team-based working is fundamental to our philosophy and we are intending to work with other like-minded people as the project demands, all bringing their unique skills and specific expertise to the party, together with mutual respect. We will sculpt how a production looks, for the eye and the camera, putting visual harmony and narrative at the essence of the storytelling. A recent production on which I was working - hopefully hitting the road later in the year - is a great example.
Integrated motion is key
Anyone looking at the screen on this design as one piece would not imagine that it was anything but a solid block of LED! So, when it splits into 12 individual columns which can also rotate, that moment is a complete WOW moment. And this, Roland Greil continues, is thanks to WICREATIONS’ integrated electromagnetic side locking system which makes seamless pixel-perfect joins a reality.
Surprise is an important part of the magic of creating the visual language that we produce, and all these innovative developments are additionally making automation more attractive to a wider range of productions and application.
When a screen splits into 12 individual columns which can also rotate, that moment is a complete WOW moment.
Innovation listens to the imagineers
Intense product R ‘n’ D and listening to what creatives and imagineers on all levels are wanting and needing is moving the world of automation forward. Companies like WI are making components and systems that are quick and efficient to install, fully tourable and affordable to more shows. Most importantly, the kit is safe and reliable.
As we work through the pandemic and beyond most productions will be watching time and budget, even the larger shows, so it is important that this technology is getting developed and finessed now. Ultimately, it will give access to making the whole audience visual and sonic journey richer and more fulfilling.
Intense product R&D and listening to what creatives and imagineers on all levels are wanting and needing is moving the world of automation forward.
The future according to Roland Greil
Smart technical integration offering imaginative solutions, the willingness to be more collaborative and think out-of-the-box and our absolute love of challenges – not always easy but certainly achievable – all of this makes those ‘crazy’ but brilliant creative ideas become a reality.
I believe this will be the way of the future.