To help establish locations, time period and key points of McAlary’s career in Lucky Guy, the imagery of Batwin + Robin’s projection design is thoughtfully blended in to the scenic elements. “David’s [Rockwell] set has an LED wall upstage that we use to help establish locations such as the Daily News, the NY Post, and the Newsday newsrooms, as well as bars and various other scene locations.” explains projection designer Robin Silvestri. “For instance, in the newsrooms we use windows and different imagery outside the window to set location. Actually, windows are a reoccurring theme in terms of establishing place throughout the show.” The LED wall, supplied by SenovvA, is 25’x13’ and is made up of 153 tiles of Barco ILite 6 XP, 6mm pitch LED Modules with two Barco DX-700 image processors.
Silvestri also discovered, quite accidentally, an unexpected projection surface in Rockwell’s design. “You always come across those happy accidents,” notes Silvestri. “There are black scenic slider panels that move across in front of the LED wall; they open and close allowing the wall to be used as a full piece or sectioned off. We found we could use the scenic slider panels themselves as a projection surface. We discovered that the projectors that we were using for another element, the header banner, could project abstract images on those black panels when they were closed. In one scene, we project elevated train tracks on those and have a subway animating across from SR to SL.”
The header banner referred to by Silvestri is a screen roughly 24’x3’ that spans SL to SR across the top of the back wall. Used primarily in Act One, it displays various newspaper headlines. Lars Pedersen, chief technology specialist with WorldStage, the video provider for Lucky Guy, designed the video system to realize Batwin + Robin’s projection design.
Pedersen describes how his team solved the projection challenge of the banner’s unusual size. “Because of the atypical aspect ratio, we decided to go with an image blend," he says. "There is an edge blend with a 25% overlap in the middle of the banner. We used two stacks of two Panasonic PT-DZ6710, which are 6K projectors, so we doubled them up for brightness and redundancy. They are located on the balcony rail, house left and right, approximately 7' off center. We used the edge-blend solution to fill the width of the banner screen, but then we also over shot top and bottom because the screen also moves up and down to different trim heights. Wherever the banner screen fell within the raster, we could move the content within [Dataton] Watchout and put it on the screen. We minimized how far we had to move by trying to keep the raster to the total distance of the screen’s possible movement, so we didn’t throw away too much resolution and too much light.”