Utilizing 24 Christie 20K projectors and 16 OnlyView servers for control, E/T/C London supplied spectacular multi-screen projections onto a distorted perspective set for the 2008 Lux Zee Cine Awards (ZCA). One of the most prestigious international Awards events on the Indian show business calendar, it was staged this year at London’s ExCel Center and produced by Cineyug for Zee TV. It is scheduled to be broadcast on May 18.
The starting point was an original set design by award-winning scenic designer Bart Clement, a special version of which was licensed for the event. This filled the limited 32-feet of available headroom within the space extremely well, creating a widescreen feel, with its deceptive angles and shrinking points amplifying the depth of the space beyond reality.
E/T/C projected onto the proscenium arch, the ceiling, both walls, and the floor of the set, and each projection area was a different size and shape. All areas were projected in bold, striking images filling and coloring the set, creating a series of dynamic backdrops.
The project was managed for E/T/C London by Andy Joyes. Paul Chatfield was commissioned to produce all of the artwork, on which he worked closely with scenic artist, Omung Kumar, and E/T/C’s OnlyView programmer and operator, Richard Porter. An international team of technicians from E/T/C’s offices in London and Paris crewed the event.
The default projection look for the Awards presentations featured an old cinema style tromp-l’oeil treatment, complete with opulent red swagged curtains. The extremely hectic show featured a total of 37 Award presentations, as well as many live performances featuring everything from Bhangra rap artists to big Carnival troupes. The program featured over 90 stage projection looks, and each award presentation used 4 or 5 different projection cues.
Determining the projection layout and where to rig the Christies was one of the many logistical challenges facing Andy Joyes. Six were used to cover the pros arch—two flown vertically and four horizontally. The return surfaces of the shallow pros construction were also covered in projection, and OnlyView was used to re-map the image so it stayed in perspective, perfectly lining up on both surfaces simultaneously.
Onstage, right behind the pros arch, a flown center-cluster of 4 machines fitted with wide angle lenses was concealed in the roof, pointing downwards to cover the floor. These projected onto a triangular section, flanked by a custom staircase with Barco OLite LED modules embedded into its fascia, which was built by Stage One to E/T/C’s requirements.
Eight more Christies—4 per side—projected across the stage onto the opposing walls and vertically soft-edged in the middle using OnlyView. Two projectors on each side covered the ceiling. Finding a position for these was tricky—they had to be inside the pros, above the heads of the dancers, and far apart enough to clear a car being wheeled onstage towards the end of the show.
The focal point at the top of the stairs was a 16 x 8-foot OLite wall, which was center-split and acted as a pair of doors for entrances and exits. All the OLite elements used in the show were supplied by XL Video to Joyes’ specification. All the images were distortion corrected and fitted to the projection surfaces and the OLite using OnlyView, giving a uniform look to the video, regardless of the type of surface it was displayed on.
The complex challenge here was to work out a template for all the different sized and angled surfaces. Chatfield and Porter achieved this by devising an “exploded box” rendering for the stage and the pros arch. This enabled them to map the direction and travel of the imagery from one surface to another, so it became a seamless operation. The artwork was then worked on as a flat piece with the appropriate masks applied to make it fit the assorted projection areas. The template was then “refolded” together into 3D format.
Having received the majority of the artwork from the client less than a week before the show, Chatfield and Porter had their work cut out for them. The mapping and programming period was intense and constantly evolving. On the night of the show, many elements were swapped from the intended order at the last minute, rather than running in the order in which it had been programmed. Due to the versatility of the OnlyView system, these last-minute changes were able to be achieved. A wide variety of image sources were incorporated into the show, including MPEG files and PhotoShop images. The Awards play-ins were all stored on 5 Doremi hard drives and inserted into the mix via OnlyView.
“Twenty-four flown projectors for a one-off live event is quite a challenge. Even though there was very limited technical time on site, the show went seamlessly and the client is very happy,” says Joyes, adding, “It’s a great tribute to all our crew who worked very hard under lots of pressure.”
Additional crew were Briony Margetts, Fabrice Auchere, Robin Darraux, Mark Hayes, Phil Pieridis, Fergus Noble, and Michael Barry. E/T/C London’s Steve Larkins helped Chatfield and Porter produce the graphics and they were joined by John Steel and Jack Middlebrook. XL Video’s crew of Graham Vinall, Chris Isaacson, and Pete Egan worked alongside the E/T/C team.