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Video Applications Pushes Media Arts Envelope for Trey McIntyre Project

Video Applications took a turn on a rather unconventional stage when it provided projection and video support for the premiere of The Trey McIntyre Project’s “The More I See You” at the Orange County Performing Arts Center (OCPAC) in Costa Mesa, CA.

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Two Christie Roadster S+16 projectors displayed content on the side of the building and Panasonic 7700 projectors were rigged to a specially designed truss to project on each of the booth screens.

The young, innovative Trey McIntyre Project is an Idaho-based contemporary ballet troupe known for its respected repertory of ballets and its embrace of social networking and the latest technology. During the troupe’s recent residency at OCPAC it staged two performances of “The More I See You” at Segerstrom Hall, held master classes for local students, and danced several “spurbans” (spontaneous urban performances) in Orange County.

John Oliphant, technical director at Segerstrom Hall, brought Video Applications in on “The More I See You” to create a custom solution for the uniquely interactive ballet, which begins onstage in the Hall then invites the audience to join the dancers in the outdoor plaza, which was encircled by video screens.

“It was critical for us to be involved early and to enjoy such a collaborative environment with OCPAC and Trey’s team,” notes Video Applications’ vice president of sales, Shawn Oatey. “Trey had a vision of what he wanted to do, and OCPAC knew what could be physically done in the space. He had an idea, which was taking a performance that would usually happen onstage and breaking it into three elements: two that happen on stage and the third that moves the entire audience outside and places them amongst the dancers.”

“Since ‘The More I See You’ was a brand new work, we were looking for the best possible presentation, so we went to the best possible people for the job: Video Applications,” says Oliphant. “The key to the success of the project was Video Applications’ willingness to communicate with the artist and give Trey the flexibility he needed. The digital video industry has become so high tech that it’s difficult for a layman to figure it out. When Video Applications talked to Trey they devised a best-of-all-worlds approach within the given parameters.”

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Video Application provided support for Trey McIntyre’s news project at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

Trey McIntyre recalls that the project “was so epic, with so many things going on at once that a lot had to be created during the period we were at OCPAC: video onstage, a live video transition to the plaza, and massive structures that offered different content outside. Working with people who could function at an incredibly high level was the only way it could happen. Video Applications grasped what I was looking for very quickly and executed my concepts in a very thoughtful way that far exceeded my expectations. It was a real joy.”

Technical Challenges
Inside Segerstrom Hall, pre-recorded video footage shot by McIntyre was displayed during the onstage performance of “The More I See You.” A live camera feed captured the dancers making their way offstage to the plaza as the last dancer invited the audience to join them outside for the continuation of the ballet. Video Applications provided a video director and two Hitachi Z4000 SD cameras for the transition, to follow the dancers as they left the stage, moved through the lobby, and then entered the outside performance space.

Outside in the plaza Video Applications projected McIntyre’s content 30 feet tall on the side of the building surface as well as onto 10 custom screens raised on truss and configured in a circle. After performing in the center of the plaza, each dancer positioned himself or herself in the “booth” formed by the truss under the screens where the performance continued as video played over their heads. The audience was invited to join the troupe in the middle of the plaza and to mingle as the dancers performed in the booths.

“The content was all designed by Trey and was synchronized to the dance,” Oatey explains. “Shane Zinke was our Video Applications EIC for the project, and he designed an elegant but simple solution for controlling and routing signal to each display location. From a technical standpoint, we had to get these ten pods up as well as projection for 11 screens. There was some weather concerns, such as wind with the screen, and the entire project had to be set up for three days of performances. But the main challenge was the budget. For what he wanted to accomplish, by having live cameras and projection on 11 screens, it was hard to work with. Luckily, we got involved early on so that we were able to help design the path the dancers took outside to make it less expensive. Working with Trey and the OCPAC people made it possible to make the whole piece a reality.”

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The show features video onstage, a live video transition to the plaza, massive structures offering different content outside, and 11 projection surfaces.

Two Christie Roadster S+16 projectors displayed content on the side of the building and Panasonic 7700 projectors were rigged to a specially designed truss to project on each of the booth screens.

A variety of options were explored for the booth screen surfaces before Video Applications determined that spandex would be the best medium for the screens, which needed to remain outdoors between performances and be resistant to the plaza’s wind corridor. The custom spandex screens were fabricated by OCPAC’s wardrobe department to Video Applications’ specifications, after Oatey’s crew tested several fabrics’ durability. Accurate Staging built the booth structures and Brite Ideas provided lighting support on the plaza.

“It was a real collaborative effort all around, and everyone was very happy with the outcome,” Oliphant declares. “Without Video Applications, we felt it wouldn’t have happened,” adds McIntyre.

Oatey points out that, “‘The More I See You’ was different from the typical event we do. It was an exciting piece of performance art, and it was a thrill to be able to contribute to the realization of Trey’s vision.”

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