MB Productions (MBP), in association with White Cherry Entertainment, was the exclusive video projection specialist during the live 60th Annual Tony Awards Telecast from Radio City Music Hall, New York City, Sunday, June 11, 2006.
For Broadway’s most important night of the year, MBP provided a total of seven projection set-ups throughout the theatre. Each set-up had two projectors that served as primary and back-up units. The main screen was a 12’ circular front projection surface that displayed the symbolic Tony Gold Coin as well as a live I-mag of nominees, presenters and winners. These images were created with a pair of Digital Projection HIGHlite 12000Dsx+ DLP projectors.
On center stage, MBP mounted a 15’ x 20’ front projection screen and set two Digital Projection Thunder 10000Dsx DLP projectors. This screen functioned as the show opener with Harry Connick Jr. and showcased a tribute montage memorializing some of the greatest contributors to theatre.
Just behind the presenters, stood an 8’ x 6’ image display used to feature the various award category animations. As the evening progressed, entertainers performed a musical number of the Tony-nominated Broadway hit “The Color Purple.” During the performance, MBP operated four more Digital Projection HIGHlite 12000Dsx+ projectors to convey a “virtually” sunset amidst moving clouds above fields of green.
To achieve this imagery, MBP brought two projection screens, an enormous 18’ x 24’ and a 9’ x 16’, displayed them in a portrait format and positioned them at different planes to evoke an incredible 3-dimensional impression. According to MBP’s chief engineer, Ed D’Amico, the “throw distance is always a factor when creating portrait style images. We were given a mission to create a 16’x 9’ picture with only half the throw distance needed and resolution was a major concern. To achieve this, all of the video content was rotated 90 degrees to appear on its side. The projectors were mounted vertically and used a mylar mirrored surface, perpendicular to the projector. This technique ‘tricked’ the projectors to shoot the images vertically while displaying full native resolution.”
In addition to the lack of throw distance, stage floor space was at a premium. To save on valuable stage real estate, the second projection stack was flown via fly cages to produce the 18’ x 24’ image.
Another two more 12’ x 16’ front projection screens presented the live program feed and taped “filler” kept the audience entertained during commercial breaks. These screens both had double-stacked Digital Projection Lightning 15sx DLP projectors.