Colin Lowry, Kingsley Eliot Haynes, Gail Scott-White, Kirby Malone and Nick Keene have worked in various projection design capacities with articles about their work appearing Live Design magazine. Ariel Dance Theatre brought all 5 together for the first time for their production of "Flush" at the Rollins Theater at the Long Center for the Performing Arts.
Gail & Kirby came from their base in Fairfax, VA - where they had written an exhaustive book about projection design called The Case for Live Movies - to Austin, TX for "Flush." Since the Barco/High End Sytems (HES) headquarters are in Austin, there was a natural inspiration to ask Barco if they were able to support a theater-dance project for some exposure and marketing for their products. The goals were to create a completely immersive projection environment where projection design = production design and to connect Gail & Kirby with HES.
Luckily, HES saw the project as an opportunity for their DL3s to be used in the smaller Rollins Theater for the first time for an intimate dance-theater piece that would showcase as much of the DL3’s capabilities as possible. HES recommended and we all agreed that it would be advantageous to everyone if we were to utilize as much barco stock content that comes with a DL3 as we could.
"Flush" is an extension of a 3-year, 3-performance project that mixes dance and theater based on a high concept - characters are dropped out of their lives on to an island of plastic trash in the North Pacific, the North Pacific Gyre. In this iteration, the characters on the island compete in a game show to determine who has the most ecological, spiritual and psychological purity. The video content would include game show, environmental and other live design content designed to impress. It became clear early-on that assets such as clouds, ice flows, game show style video light effects and more could come straight out of the pre-optimized HES stock footage that comes bundled with a DL3. However, there was a universe of original content that we wanted to integrate with the stock material.
Three months out from load-in, Gail & Kirby were planning and developing content in Fairfax, VA while writers, directors, actors and designers were creating the show in Austin, TX. Three weeks prior to load-in Gail and Kirby arrived in Austin. We set-up a lab with multiple Macs stocked with design and editorial software from Adobe, Apple and more. The DL3 requires 1024x768 video loops that are encoded with iFrames only. The encoding software that Barco uses in their lab is Episode from Telestream. Line Dash cold-called Telestream and asked to speak to someone in PR/marketing/community relations. 10 minutes after leaving a voicemail asking for a not-for-resale copy of Episode in exchange for some exposure in the program and a mention in a prospective trade magazine article, the phone rang. Telestream came through and prevented a production bottleneck. Once the DL3s were in the air and tested the process went smoothly.
We shot an actor playing the Flush Game Show host with sync sound. The host would appear in various guises including some moments that would require lip sync. The DL3 was never designed to output synchronized audio. Enter designer Kingsley Eliot Haynes and his expertise with QLab. Eliot had QLab trigger the cues to the DL3s via midi and create an offset that compensated for the lack of sync audio. The game show host appeared in perfect lip sync!.