/Sweet Charity at RADA

clouds652This February 2015 Green Hippo sponsored RADA’s annual musical and this year Bob Fosse’s ”Sweet Charity” hit the main stage with a bang. You know…’Big Spender’… ‘Rhythm of life’…, that’s the one.

Video Designer Lanz Short worked with renowned West End director Geoff Bullen, Lighting Designer Matt Prentice and Designer Ottavia Virzi to pull off one of most technical shows the Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre has ever seen.

Sweet Charity is set during the mid sixties in downtown New York and depicts Tango Palaces, Times Square, exclusive clubs and more as the backdrop to the story of Charity Hope Valentine, a dancer at the Fandango Ballrooom. All of these backdrops lend themselves brilliantly to a show that uses a lot of video to create a dazzling scene.

The set was designed in the round creating a real challenge for the projection to ensure the whole audience had an equally good experience no matter from which angle they viewed the show. The final projection surfaces chosen consisted of the entire floor space and a cylinder of fabric that hung centrally in the space and could fly in and out to different positions during the show.

During pre-production Lanz created the set in 3D to visualize the space and to determine the best position for the projectors that would cover the cylinder above stage.

The Show ran on 1 x Hippotizer HD and 1 x GrassHopper with backups in parallel, and Video Equipment Rentals (VER) supplied a further 4x Christie WU12K-M projectors, 4x Panasonic PT-RZ670 Projectors, 8x Kramer Fibre Kits and 2x Bradley BE_HD15 Cameras.

The GrassHopper combined with the brighter Christie projectors provided full floor coverage and the Hippotizer HD with the quieter laser source Panasonic projectors was used for the seamless 360-degree projection around the cylinder in the centre of the space.

The Hippotizer HD used VideoMapper to create the overlaps and rearranged the video content from 3840×814 to 2560×1440 to output this correctly via the Datapath x4 quad split. A LiveMask on the Master created the blend on the output and ScreenWarp allowed the output to be mapped onto the curved screen. The silk screen was hit with a total of 26,000 lumens by the Panasonic projectors.

Lanz programmed the show using Timelines in Hippotizer V3. The GrassHopper was configured with a Midi2 component to be used with a Behringer BCF2000 midi controller and was also setup for incoming Midi Timecode from the sound guys, so Timecode on Layer could keep specific clips in sync with the audio throughout the show. Live cameras were used with a Lumakey to overlay actors into scenes.

Lanz and Björn Halldór Helgason created the content using a variety of techniques and software to generate movements and effects needed in the show, from filming ink splashes to create video mattes to using Cinema 4D and After Effects to create digital 3D effects on stage.

The show was operated by Cillian McNamara and Jackson Warner both students at RADA.




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