The Overview

This corporate client was accustomed to having a lot of fun with their programs. For this year, the plan was to have musical entertainment, a high profile guest speaker, a well known comedian, multiple business sessions and an awards banquet during the three day event.  Quite an ambitious schedule, but that’s how they roll. They needed a stage set that was dynamic and flexible so that is what I set out to give them.

The Process

At the first input meeting, the client told us that the theme would be all about creativity with a bit of an urban/hip-hop flare.  They needed a stage set that could play well into this theme, but still be very functional for their business session and elegant enough for the banquet which would diverge from the theme and be more refined.

I began to draw.

I came up with several concepts and ideas, but finally landed on a projection mosaic of squares that could act as individual frames or a complete mosaic of a single image or video.  I drew up a very simple 3D drawing of the concept to show the client and they were sold on the idea.

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Basic 3D Drawing of Screen Configuration

The next step was to figure out the exact screen placement, sizes and rigging.  I ended up with a main center screen that would be 20′ high by 40′ wide, two I-mag screens at 13’6″ x 24′ and various smaller screen from 4′ to 7′ square.  These screens would be custom built by our scenic partner. We also decided to have a custom stage built to add a little more flare to the design.

Fortunately, this was a brand new venue with high ceilings and plenty of rigging so there were very few compromises that needed to be made when developing a rigging plan.

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CAD Drawing with Rigging and Theater Seating

Next I had to produce pixel templates and PNG mask layers for the content creation. This client creates all of their graphics in-house so it took quite a few meetings to make sure that everyone was on the same page, but once their graphics team understood the capabilities, they knocked it out of the park.

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Map of Screen Configuration for Fabrication
VWX Side Screen Mask
PNG Mask Layer for Content Development

There were some other challenges that the production team threw at me such as the need to trolley the I-mag screens on and off stage for reveals. I won’t go into much detail here other than to show an example of the drawing I produced to explain how the trolley system would work to be sure we ordered the right equipment from the trolley supplier and the stagehands had direction to build it on site.

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Trolley System Design

Once completed, the screens looked awesome, and the overall design worked perfectly for each portion of the event.

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Screens In Action

One other cool effect that I decided to try, was to place moving lights well upstage of the screens to have beams shoot back at the audience through the gaps.  It turned out really well, and here is a little phone video I took of the lighting in action.

The Summary

The event was a great experience. As with every project, there are things I would have done differently, and that is part of the learning process that makes us better over time.

The client couldn’t have been more happy with the outcome, and ultimately that is what really matters.

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