Dataton WATCHOUT provides the digital scenography for a new production of “Hair” which opened on January 7 at the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv. The WATCHOUT multi-display production and playback system orchestrates the visuals in a dynamic set consisting of 50 monitors and a panoramic three-projector backdrop to bring this classic – but still relevant – 60s musical to life.
The Cameri Theatre is considered the largest and most prolific theater in Israel. Located in the center of Tel Aviv, it stages up to twelve new productions annually as well as touring throughout the country and all over the world. The Cameri has used WATCHOUT for projection design previously but Hair is the first production to use Dataton WATCHPAX media players, too. The theater's video specialist Ohad Levitan explains: “It is our first project with WATCHPAX media players and we had some very good reasons for choosing them. Later this year the show will travel to different theaters all over the country, and we want to minimize the hardware that has to travel with it. The geometry correction in WATCHOUT is also a must when moving into different halls.”
WATCHPAX media players are performance-optimized for WATCHOUT, with a small form factor (just 127 x 148 x 22 mm) that has quickly made them popular among system integrators. The plug and play units feature a rugged aluminum shell and built-in WATCHOUT. The equipment list for Hair includes WATCHPAX units feeding 50 monitors in various sizes, decorated to look like old TV screens. A WATCHOUT system also sources the images from three Christie projectors in the main stage backdrop. Besides the extravagant set, the musical is said to boast the largest-ever cast for a musical in Israel.
Ohad Levitan has used WATCHOUT for several years and says: “It's a great system – simple to start using but on the other hand you can do a lot of complex things. It's very easy to teach an operator and even in one day you can learn how to program.”
WATCHOUT expertise and the WATCHPAX servers were supplied by Digital AV, the local Dataton Premium Partner. "The video arts creator saw WATCHOUT in action for the first time last year, and loved the features, such as the ability to multi-task,” says Michael Humash, Digital AV. “Multiple timelines open up for interactive capabilities, and, since Hair is a musical, syncing to sound and stage was the most important issue. The video operator wants the option for a system to be slaved to the sound, while still being able to run it manually in other parts. We solved it by feeding timecode into the production, and when needed, the operator manually ran other tasks."
Lars Sandlund, COO at Dataton says that the Cameri Theatre production is a classic example of how many theaters reason. “Touring productions call for technology that is both high-performance and easy to use in different venues, often with limited rehearsal time. Hair is a case in point and the new digital set ensures this entertainment classic translates into 2015 with real flair!”