Adobe MAX 2014, The Creativity Conference unveiled the latest in new technology by using one of the world’s oldest staging techniques with projection mapping support from WorldStage.
The annual Adobe users’ conference, Adobe MAX is a source of ideas and inspiration, a place where creative minds meet. It held its general sessions at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live. In the past, Adobe MAX has used extensive video projection pixel mapping as a canvas for showcasing artistic and graphical elements on stage. Bicoastal WorldStage has lent its projection mapping expertise to Adobe’s biggest annual event for the last three years, working with PIX Productions. In fact PIX Productions took home top honors in the Best B2B Production of an Event category for the Adobe MAX 2013 Creativity Conference. That 2013 event featured very complex projection mapping by WorldStage on a dazzling configuration of screens, which required some 40 projectors, Pandora servers and a Vista Systems Spyder X20 image processor. WorldStage also provided eight HD cameras and three robocams for live coverage and augmented house audio with JBL Vertec speakers for last year’s event.
This year, for Adobe MAX 2014, PIX Productions, with scenic designer Peter Crawford, devised an interesting challenge for the producers, designers and engineers supporting the project. The question raised was whether it would be possible to project onto a pair of motorized 27×30-foot periaktoi and warp and track the imagery as the set pieces moved? The periaktoi would be projected upon from multiple 3D angles so the video images had to be perfectly reshaped, dynamically and on the fly, as the triangular screens rotated.
Dating back to ancient Greek theater, periaktoi are triangular-shaped devices used for displaying, and rapidly changing, theater scenes. For Adobe MAX, Crawford proposed to place a pair of periaktoi in the middle of an array of big screens on stage. As the periaktoi rotated they would alternately present angled and flat surfaces to the audience for a dazzling new twist on projected content.
Left: The annual Adobe users’ conference, Adobe MAX is a source of ideas and inspiration, for Adobe software users and programmers. It held its general sessions at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in October 2014.
“The dynamic reshaping of images projected across moving screens is a process that was not even possible just a few short years ago,” says WorldStage project manager Jack Dussault. “The combined efforts of technology experts at Worldstage East and West were deeply involved in the development and utilization of the pixel mapping technologies in this event.”
WorldStage devised a 28-channel, 42-projector rig that covered two large projection screens as well as the giant periaktoi. “This is the first time I’m aware of this type of mapping/tracking projection being used on a corporate presentation stage,” says WorldStage president Josh Weisberg.
“The show was a great success. Some of the first words from the Adobe CEO when he appeared on stage was, ‘What about those screens?’ followed by an eruption of applause and shouts from the audience. The screens were truly amazing,” Weisberg says. “The teams from PIX PRODUCTIONS and WorldStage, along with the content team at Core Studios, and set builders Mystic Scenic, accomplished something very noteworthy.”
Thirty-two channels of Pandoras Box were used as the primary media servers for pixel shaping and media playback. Christie Roadster HD20K-J projectors were used for the main and side screens and Christie Roadster S+20K projectors for the periaktoi.
“An All Star team of WorldStage projectionists and media server techs worked in shifts for several days, around the clock, to do the intricate programming and adjustments necessary for the convergence of multiple layers of overlapped projection in the very demanding, dynamic scenario,” Dussault reports. The result was “stunningly sharp images moving across changing, rotating angular surfaces, combining the stage and theater walls into a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of imagery.”
Left: The question raised was whether it would be possible to project onto a pair of motorized 27×30-foot periaktoi and warp and track the imagery as the set pieces moved? The periaktoi would be projected upon from multiple 3D angles so the video images had to be perfectly reshaped, dynamically and on the fly, as the triangular screens rotated.
In addition to the stellar projection mapping, WorldStage supported more than 40 live demos of various mobile devices and software apps from two on-stage kiosks over two days of the convention. WorldStage provided 13 HD cameras – manned, unmanned and robotic– to capture the show for broadcast and live streaming over the web to viewers worldwide. Switching was performed with a Ross Vision HD multi-format production switching system and three Vista System Spyder X20 screen switching frame groups.
Los Angeles-based IATSE LOCAL 33 provided all of the Nokia Theatre technical staff and crewing.
“Once in a while we do a show that’s really special, and Adobe Max 2014 was one of those,” says Dussault. “I couldn’t be more proud of our teams’ efforts: from shop prep to the on-site team, the All Star projection team, our brilliant engineers and the fun and quirky Pandora team.”
“The collaboration from start to finish with WorldStage makes high-end, technically challenging and wildly creative beautiful events possible,” says Jeremy Nichols, executive producer at PIX PRODUCTIONS. “The engagement at all levels of the company and the close working relationship with WorldStage are the keys to the success of these events.”
At PIX PRODUCTIONS Shaun Boyle was the technical producer and John Bettini the technical director. At Core Studios Gary Jaeger was the director of the opening video.
At WorldStage Richard Bevan was the account executive (following on the heels of Bevan having been promoted from Vice President of Production Services to Senior Vice President/General Manager of WorldStage West, this past summer). TJ Donoghue was the media server project manager and Florian Mosleh and Michael Kohler and Brianna Bainbridge were the media server programmers. Terry Nakamura, Scott Goegebuer, Dennis Alfonso, Luke Frey, Andrew Taylor and Jerry Edgerly were the projectionists. Jason Spencer served as the Spyder operator.
Neal Gass, Jason Spencer, Shane Zinke, Jerry Edgerly, Frank Musgrove, Jon Tanner, Patrick DelaCruz, John Muldoon and Shawn Hutcheson comprised the WorldStage engineering team. Stan Dickerson, Gabe Benzo, Ryan Trefethen and Will Herald headed up the audio team.
Right: Thirty-two channels of Pandoras Box were used as the primary media servers for pixel shaping and media playback. Christie Roadster HD20K-J projectors were used for the main and side screens and Christie Roadster S+20K projectors for the periaktoi.
Fabian Yeager was the lighting designer; Mark Jepsen handled the live camera direction. Dan Eslinger was the Mystic Scenic Automation Engineer and integral to the success of the mapping project. Dan Kirsch was the production carpenter; production rigging was supplied by Rigtech/Show Group.
WorldStage Inc., the company created by the merger of Scharff Weisberg Inc and Video Applications Inc, continues a thirty-year legacy of providing clients the widest variety of entertainment technology coupled with conscientious and imaginative engineering services. WorldStage provides audio, video and lighting equipment and services to the event, theatrical, broadcast and brand experience markets nationally and internationally.