We do a lot of work for other production companies, so we often must use what they provide for us. Since our background involves a lot of work with the Folsom and Barco line, quite afew of our jobs involve Encore, ScreenPro II, and ScreenPro Plus screen switching systems.
I prefer the Encore to other switching systems because of the architecture of the system. It's hardware-based, not reliant on Windows software to control the show, unlike some other systems.System reliability is a huge factor onsite. Since we do a lot of widescreen and multi-screen projection switching, it ishelpful to be able to use the ScreenPro II, PresentationPro II, and ImagePro scalers in one system with the Encore video processors.Also, I get great customer support from Barco…They treat my company like a large company, even though we aren't the biggest player in the industry.
As for projectors, we use both the Barco and Christie lines. Both have excellent images, and since most of our work is in HD, image quality is paramount. They both are easy to use, easy to network, and very reliable. I prefer the lens optics from Barco slightly over the Christie lenses. Fiber optic DVI cables are critical for signal runs from the switcher to the projectors. Analog is just not able to give the sharp, crisp images that our clients demand.
Screens — can't beat a Stewart, but they are pricey. If the client has a tight budget but still wants to do large-scale or widescreen projection, I steer them to The Screen Works in Chicago. They have great screen surfaces, but I do wish they would get rid of the steel safety cables and go to bungee cords to connect the surface to the truss surrounds.
— Kirk Garreans
President, ALP Design & Production, Inc.
For my current touring production, Welcome to Nowhere, I am using a Dell DLP projector shot onto a raw wood (luan plywood) screen. It works wonders for the video quality, adding a natural grainy texture that is unnoticeable under the saturated stage lighting. The rich blacks in the DLP projector work well with the surface texture to create a film-like quality in the image.
All of my programming and playbackon this projection is performed on Mark Coniglio's Isadora software on a MacBook Pro. Isadora is the most versatile and expandable video programming environment available. It's more flexible than Watchout, more navigable than Catalyst, and much more effective than Jitter in achieving a variety of adjustable stage projections. I've used the software since 2005 on such productions as Dead City at 3-Legged Dog, The Clean House, and The Coast of Utopia, both at Lincoln Center Theatre.
Welcome to Nowhere premiered at The Chocolate Factory in Long Island City, NY in Fall 2007, performed at PS 122 in February, in Maubeuge, France in March, and in Paris in April.
— William Cusick, video designer
I was recently appointed as the production designer for Junior Eurovision 2008, to take place in Lemesos, Cyprus in November. I am toward the final stages of the design, and although it has not yet been fully approved, I can disclose that we plan to have a 36x8m high back projection screen in the form of a cyclorama. We plan to use five projectors to be supplied and operated by Procon Event Engineering. We are using back projection because I have found from past experience that the quality of the image on TV is good. Good quality LED screens like Barco's ILite are probably better, but the cost of renting such a vast area of Barco tiles would have been astronomical. To avoid any unwanted light falling on the screens, they will be set at a minimum distance of 10m from the center of the stage.
— George Papadopoulos (RIBA),
Architect and set designer, Skinotechniki
What we find most important using video projection is to introduce video on any stage and with any budget. We use Eiki LC-XT4 LCD XGA (12,000 ANSI lumens) and LC-X6A (6,500 ANSI lumens) video projectors; Stumpfl rear projection screens; Gerriets front/rear projection screens; Edirol V-4 video mixers; Numark video display monitors; a MacBook Pro with Arkaos VJ software; and Panasonic AG-HVX200 cameras. I think that video projection is changing the way of designing a stage…adding more multimedia to the stage helps it be more diverse within the same show.
— Florian Canga, general manager
O-PRO VisualDesign, Albania
For Sheryl Crow's tour, I have six Mole Richardson 10kWs retrofitted with Barco LED OLite panels that are fed from a PRG Mbox media server. I send colors and fades to the lights at the beginning of the set and work up to video clips toward the end of the set — Retro Modern Steam Sci-Fi!
— Paul Guthrie, lighting/projection designer
Sheryl Crow Tour 2008
For a corporate presentation in the Anaheim Hilton ballroom, I designed a show using 14 Panasonic PT-D7700 boxes projecting onto two 140'. long curved screens. The screens were actually made of 18'-high panels of natural muslin fabric, ground supported on pipe and base, and stretched as tightly as possible to avoid wrinkles and “smiles.” Fourteen Dataton Watchout units drove the content and allowed us to create seamless panoramas and correct for the 90° curve in each screen. The projectors were flown from a ceiling truss rig.
The muslin was used strictly for budget purposes and to work within time constraints: using the telescoping pipes and bases allowed for a very fast installation. If the budget had allowed, I would have preferred bleached white muslin (and for that matter, brighter projectors), but with 14 7,700-lumen projectors and careful control of house and ambient lighting, we had more than enough punch.
— David Corwin, projection designer/visualist
Megavision Arts, Santa Monica, CA