Chauvet lights virtual Spaga 3D stage
Monday, 27 July 2020
spagaAndrew Cass of C2 Design & Drafting created the virtual show, supporting the band with immersive looks
USA - Jazz infusion trio Spaga may draw inspiration from deeply embedded roots, but the band also isn’t shy about pushing forward in new directions, both musically and in terms of performance platforms. The latter was evident earlier this summer when they played a virtual set on a 3D stage at Quarantine Comes Alive, a one-day fundraising festival, presented by Live For Live Music, the COVID-19 Relief Fund, and nugs.tv.
Andrew Cass of C2 Design & Drafting created the virtual show, supporting the band with immersive looks that flowed as seamless as the music on their two-song set. Lighting the virtual performance was a collection of 75 Chauvet Professional fixtures.
The creative process behind the virtual production began in April when each band member took 16 photos of himself from different angles while in quarantine. Working with animator Arielle D’Ornellas, Cass used these photos to create 3D renderings of the musicians.
“I have been struggling with realistic looking humans in 3D for some time now,” said Cass. “This led to us having the different photos taken. Arielle, who is not only a friend, but also a very talented animator, used them as the basis for creating the real to life renderings that were the basis of our 3D images.”
Cass also had the band members take videos of themselves at home. This footage and the 3D images were merged together in a compelling virtual stage set that artfully balanced the “real” video images with the realistic renderings. The videos were displayed on vertical screens that ran across the backdrop, while the 3D “band members” played their “3D instruments” on the virtual stage.
Accenting the scene on stage and tying the video and 3D images even more seamlessly together was a dynamic light show that moved naturally with the graceful flow of the music. Crisp gobo patterns and vivid shafts of light enhanced the sense of dimensionality on the 3D stage, while the vividly coloured washes provided an arresting contrast to the black and white video images of the band members along the backdrop.
Colour and patterns were furnished by six Maverick MK2 Wash units on the overhead rig, with one being position directly over each musician, as well as 27 Rogue R1 FX-B fixtures arranged along the bottom of the curtain on the inside, and 27 COLORado Solo Batten units matching them outside the curtains. Also included in the rig were three Ovation E-910FC ellipsoidals (used as front lights) and 12 Maverick MK3 Spot fixtures in the air, six mid-stage and six upstage.
The virtual concert took place in a room Cass created primarily from Google 3D Warehouse, modifying it to fit the needs of the project by adding elements like an arena ticket counter, a curtain, and balcony rails.
“The crucial factor in this process was to sync them after the video had been routed in the 3D environment using NDI,” said Cass. “This was important, because all of these steps add some level of latency. So, by syncing them after all that was done, we ensured that the videos stayed in time with the audio in the final product.”
(Jim Evans)

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