We just wrapped the panel discussion on choosing projectors, playback, and surfaces with Adam Dunaway (Digital Stage Chicago), Loren Barton (TMB), Rene Berhorst (MA Lighting), and designers Zak Borovay and Elaine McCarthy. An hour and a half to cover a lifetime's worth of material—but a very engaging discussion. I'm always torn at these things by trying to skirt the line between communicating practically useful information and presenting entertaining anecdotes.
All in all, I think we did a good job of finding that compromise. The combination of Zak and Elaine with Loren and Rene yielded some interesting interplay about the evolution of feature sets and workflow on playback systems. Both quotes of the day came from Elaine when she talked about two common features of the projection design experience: "putting it together with toothpicks and bubble gum" and the "suck list" (the endless gripes designers always develop about whatever software they are using. Let's face it, folks: it's never going to be as easy or as good as it is in our heads.
I was also impressed with the freshness that was brought to the old refrain about "not letting the technology drive the art." Elaine, Zak, and I all have slightly different perspectives on this. For the most part, theirs is a situation in which they have to consciously try to forget and self-monitor their use of the technology—I have to know the technology so well I can allow it to become invisible. Just a difference in available resources.
Jake Pinholster, projection designer