Projection Master Classes: Microsoft and Blueman

We finished day one of the Projection Master Class with two very diverse yet interesting case studies.

The first case study was about Blueman Group, which wanted to refresh their look and integrate some new technology into some shows. We saw video of the final product and it looks pretty amazing. But, of course, you'd expect nothing less from Blueman. While Bob and his rockstar crew talked about the specifics, what struck me the most was how this fancy whiz-bangery was kept in its place. So often I see technology valiantly try to replace a message, plot, or purpose but it always fails. I remember a show at BAM which had some really ground breaking interactive projection, but after ten minutes everyone began to ask, “What's the point?” Cool technology without substance is just empty, mental calories. After a brief amount of time, it becomes annoying. I think groups like Blueman should be given a lot of credit in pushing the limits of our projection and playback systems while always keeping in focus the larger point.

The talk then moved to a project at Microsoft's new HQ. Mode was tasked with creating an interactive and dynamic series of tapestries that employees could, “discover.” I can't adequately describe the project here, but I did find interesting all the contradiction which had to exist for the endeavor to be successful. The entire thing had to be spontaneous but influenceable. The “ghost in the machine” had to be programmed in. It is a computer program designed to evolve, not something computers naturally do. The program has a finite number of variables from which an infinite amount of permutations are possible. Pretty mind bending stuff, and not a project many of us are called to do.

And with that the day ended. We all headed into the cold rain to do whatever it is that we do in Vegas.

 

Lance Darcy is a Lighting Director and Director of Photography.  He writes the mostly bi-weekly column LD On The DL, here on the Live Blog.  

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