Chris McLay.

Interaction designer and user experience consultant.

Projection at The Verandah

The Verandah was this years main music and festival club for the 2005 Festival of Perth. The projection system consisted of a basic rear projection screen behind the main stage. This was hooked up to a video feed (from a camera way back at the lighting desk) and a video generator similar to that found in iTunes in Windows Media Player.

What Worked?
The material that seemed to work best related to the performers dynamically – that is it had a strong visual and motional (?) relationship to the performers. Video generators that work up from behind the performers on stage (such as fire like or climbing images). This imagery seemed to have a respect for the context in which it was being used.

More generally, basic wash footage also worked well. Imagery such as water flowing or fabric moving, which added to the overall look of the stage without drawing your attention specifically from the rest of the performance. Also basic graphic images that seemed to work alongside and with the other stage effects such as lighting and smoke machines, creating an entire space for you to view, rather than a creating the image of a screen on a stage.

The visual footage was also useful during gaps in the show, or when the stage was empty with only a DJ off to one side.

What didn’t work?
Most of the time I felt that the screen was not working well and should have been replaced by some sort of basic stage backdrop.

Technically the screen had trouble being bright enough to cope with the stage lighting, and often looked dull and faded in comparison to everything else on stage. Also most likely from a technical point of view, the video generator which appeared to be taking a feed from the stage audio and syncing the visuals, was so far out of sync it was hard to tell if it was one second or five seconds behind. This made these effects quite ordinary, and occasionally jarring to watch.

Most of all the screen looked like someone had set up a giant laptop behind the stage in a fit off “geeky excitement” without much consideration for what to put on it, or how it would relate to the performers in front of it.

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