LiveDesign LiveBlog

Projection Master Classes: Playback Options

9:00 And we're off at the Projection Master Class. As a lighting designer, it will be an interesting to be a lighting designer in this strange land. The first class is control systems. I hope nobody notices I am undercover. Let the games and live blogging begin.

9:10 Did Bob just make fun of lighting people? It fact, I think he did.

9:12 It's interesting that control starts with budget. It seems like so many things these days are so fiscally dependent. Great design or great intensions aside, it really still boils down to budget. That's a little unfortunate. Is this nearly as true in lighting? It would seem this creates artificial barriers to creativity becomes manufactures have large overheads.

9:15 I think it's funny Bob is explaining DMX to video people. He's going over attributes, reasons why it's works so well. I can't imagine a world without DMX. I don't even want to. DMX is incredibly robust, easy, scalable, ubiquitous. Apparently video people are learning what lighting people already know.

9:25 We started a primer on media servers.

9:30 An incredibly powerful example of the limitations of light was just displayed. I'm a bit humbled. The Disney castle was up lit and it looked pretty puny. Same thing lit with projection driven by a media server was quite striking.

9:33 Another example of a 3D mapping project using a car is yet another striking example of the power of this technology. Interestingly, I see preproduction as becoming a even more critical part of the process. Punting this level of complexity on site is not going to be pretty.

9:35 It would seem even projection people are bored with a white box, commonly known as screens. These examples are all 3D -- on models or buildings, or some other real object. Frankly, I'm glad to see that stupid white box going away. I find it not at all ironic we are viewing all this on said white boxes.

9:37 Watching these interesting tracking examples (which Pandora's Box does quite nicely) is very interesting. I'm a little concerned for scenic construction people. The ability to create beautiful, changeable scenic elements is bad news for people who build actual things.

9:40 We're 40 minutes into the playback class and nobody has mentioned a DVD player or beta decks. Instead we're speaking about media servers, layers, and 3D mapping. I think this is encouraging actually. Can we say goodbye to burned or magnetic media? Requiem For Antiquated Media will be held following this session. Also, we'll be burning Digi-Betas in the parking lot behind the Convention Center this evening. Bring lighter fluid.

9:47 Some pretty complex media server examples are on displays. The Blue Man vid is pretty mind blowing. But my lighting side is proud a programmer and lighting desk are being used! A little departmental pride. However, this talk is highlighting the fact the “programmer” role is blowing up in terms of knowledge, power, and complexity.

9:53 Pablo says, “Not having any money makes things a lot harder.” Understatement of the hour? I think so.

9:56 It seems like having less money means you need to know more in order to “make it work.” Is that why some of this equipment is so expensive? Much of the knowledge has to be built into the system? So when you do “the cheap route,” what are you really saving? If it takes more time, it would seem you're saving money on gear only to spend more on man-hours. Hardly a deal. The costs have just been shifted but still exist.

9:57 Ah, making fun of Windows. I'm growing to like video people more. Apple should also be sponsoring this class.

10:01 “Larger than life Powerpoint.” That should be patented. Yes! If you're going to do Powerpoint, it should be larger than life. We're hearing some interesting techniques to make that happen when money isn't flowing from the heavens. In my experience this is usually the case.

10:04 MacPros and Wii-motes. Yep. Drive a show and Mario Cart. But Pablo makes a great point - the Wii-mote is quite a cool tool for presenters.

10:07 Custom software looks pretty complex. We're seeing a screen of what the control interface looks like. Hardly just a “play” button. Perhaps we should put off the Digi-beta burning?

10:09 We're touching on “threads” and “processes,” which is Mac talk for base level OS X programming. It's interesting but technical. It's ironic that to do things cheaper means you have to know more about vastly different items. What does this DIY market really look like? Does anyone know? Why are our manufactures not taping this market? I have a hard time believing there's no money to be made. To make this stuff easier seems like it would revolutionize the relationship between performance and technology.

10:10 Despite the complexity the end result is beautiful. The fact it's being done live is a tribute to some pretty smart programming and robust hardware. Finally the MacPro's glut of processing power has some uses besides super fast email.

10:17 More great case studies. It may be low budget, but the end result is quite enticing.

10:18 As we struggle with the internet bandwidth, it occurs to me internet has become a lot like electricity: brown outs are inappropriate for power and connectivity.

10:19 Bob says to check out “Processing.” He promises to make this stuff more approachable, cause right now it looks pretty hard. Open Source is really helping this market to evolve quicker than it would otherwise I bet. Do proprietary models hinder evolution? Where are the business models that celebrate open source?

10:22 Computers crash. It's a fact of life. I think the advise is good: Develop a zen detachment when things go wrong because they inevitably will.

And with that, this session comes to a close.


Lance Darcy is a Lighting Director and Director of Photography.  He writes the mostly bi-weekly column LD On The DL, here on the Live Blog.  

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