PHOTO : MANUS HOPKINS we are not sure how we ’ re going to do it , maybe we do some tests .”
After the scene is written , the head of the graphic design team takes the artwork and pictures and starts doing whatever they need , which can be cutting around the edges , separating some bits from the painting , reconstructing the backgrounds or the foreground , or anything else to make a texture out of it . Once the graphics are finished and have been reviewed several times to make sure everything will work , the team of animators begin making the pictures move , which involves making sure the animations fit with the already-selected music .
“ Before they start , we explain our vision , and suggest what we think is going to work and what not ,” Guidotti says . “ I spend more time with them and address them , so their creativity also matches our point of view .”
Once all the scenes are made individually , the next task is to put them together . There must be transitions to link the scenes and fill the gaps , so they feel like an evolution , rather than a series of individual bits , according to Guidotti . The director also stresses the importance of the floor , which is also animated and must appear as one with the four walls .
“ The last thing we do is the total stage ,” he says . “ It ’ s like if you take a box and you open it , you see a wall , a wall , a wall , a wall , and the floor . It ’ s like a map of the venue .”
Once any bugs are fixed and the show is ready , the higher resolutions are exported , which takes weeks , and then sent over to the installation locations . The teams at each installation do test showings and send back a video of the how everything works . The master show
is a general master , as Guidotti explains , not specific to any one city . A separate animation department makes the changes to ensure each different venue can accommodate as similar a show as possible , tweaking components of the exhibit to fit within the allotted spaces .
Guidotti also sees immersive installations like this one becoming more widespread and common , especially as technology geared towards projects like this is further developed . He likens the preliminary stages he and his team are leading now to the birth of cinema , saying this is a media with much evolution in its future .
“ This is just the beginning ,” he says . “ I think this is maybe 10 % of its full potential , and it can grow into something very interesting .”
For Guidotti , Richards , and the many others who worked on this exhibit , seeing the finished product after more than two years of work and pandemic-related hurdles was an immense payoff . For Guidotti , thinking back to the moments where he and his team realized they had done something new or made a breakthrough are some of his favourite memories of the process , while Richards is mostly pleased to have had the opportunity to work on something wholly artistic , rather than adding artistic flair to something in the corporate field .
“ Most of the people we work with – on the video design , deployment , and installation side of things – are people that got into this industry because they love art , they love creating things , whether it ’ s music or video or whatnot ,” says Richards . “ But at the scale that they ’ re capable of working at , because they ’ ve been doing this for 20 years , most of them have , unfortunately , for the most part , wound up in the in the corporate space , where the only way they can play with these toys at the scale they ’ d like to play with , is to do these high-cost corporate installations .” Richards says corporate events can be rewarding in their own way , but maintains that at the end of the day , they are not truly art , even if they involve artistic components by artists . Richards remembers the moment the team watched the content go up on the walls for the first time , and admits that some of his colleagues are not easily impressed , as they had been in this industry for so long and supposedly seen it all , but says their expressions completely changed to pure joy upon seeing the end result of their work on full display .
“ I really do believe that the most important part of this and the reason why it sold so many tickets , and the reason why it ’ s so impressive , is that we as a company have focused so much on the fact that the technology supports a beautiful , expressive artist , and someone ’ s interpretation in video form of that art ,” he says . “ We ’ re not trying to hammer you over the head with something in terms of what it is you ’ re supposed to experience from that . Your response , hopefully , is purely emotional . And that happens every time someone sees these shows .”
All the impressive technical work aside , Richards says his biggest point of pride and what gets him up and wanting to work every day is the emotional responses a show like this can garner . “ So many companies forget that without that little bit of juice that ’ s purely artistic , purely emotional , purely expressive , technology is just technology ,” he says . “ And at some point , it gets kind of boring , real quick .”
Guidotti already has many ideas for other artists whose work he thinks would serve an immersive exhibit like this as these sorts of shows become more commonplace . He says he could eventually even see movies being presented in such a fashion , but looks forward to working on more art installations for the time being . He anticipates a show about the Vatican and its artists , including the secret , hidden art , happening eventually , as well as a bit of a switching of gears to make an immersive show based around the musical compositions of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart . There are also artists whose art Guidotti has worked with in the past that he would like to revisit as technology advances , including Pablo Picasso and M . C . Escher .
“ We will get there ,” says Guidotti . “ The technology will advance , change , and become something new , I think .”
Manus Hopkins is the assistant editor of Professional Lighting and Production .
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