Hippotizer Media Servers from Green Hippo were used recently to drive the visual content for a unique production of Mozart’s opera, Don Giovanni, staged amid the COVID-19 pandemic to an empty Berwaldhallen concert hall in Stockholm.
Directed by British operatic tenor Andrew Staples, the production was conceived and produced under COVID-19 restrictions, with the necessary social distancing for all crew and performers. Instead of playing to a live audience, the performance was broadcast on the Berwaldhallen Play channel, in partnership with Medici TV.
To look after the creation, management, and delivery of the production’s video content, set designer Bengt Gomér contacted Stockholm-based PXLFLD, a specialist in visual design and a long-standing Hippotizer user. Their team, led by Anders Granström, quickly created a visual breakdown of the script and an in-depth projection study before developing actual content.
“As the entire performance was broadcast in black and white, we relied heavily on stark contrasts throughout,” Granström said. PXLFLD artists Per Rydnert and Andreas Skärberg, working closely with Staples, created custom visuals, combining American photographer Franscesca Woodman’s evocative black and white photography with a live camera feed and various pre-recorded sequences filmed during rehearsals.
Because the opera environment is so sensitive to unwanted noise, Granström chose the compact, single-rack-unit Hippotizer Amba+ as the media server for the job, confident in its power to deliver the features and performance he would need. Operating the show’s lighting and visuals from an MA Lighting grandMA3 console was Ishai Mika, who Granström said is “a friend and colleague, a rock-solid operator, and an amazing lighting designer in his own right.”
The team projection-mapped the upstage wall of the venue and used two Barco UDX-4K40 (40,000 ANSI-lumen) projectors, placed on the balcony in sound isolation boxes. All projectors and technical equipment were provided and installed by Vello Hermann of Hermanns Lilla Firma.
“Many factors come into play when choosing a media server system, such as technical features, functionality, workflow and on-site operations,” Granström said. “We always make our design decisions with this in mind and Hippotizer worked out perfectly for this production.
“Hippotizer is a very flexible toolbox that enables the operator to quickly make creative decisions on site. As the final touches to the composition were made on site, Hippotizer’s features, including Livemask, color correction, blending of assets, and in-the-box-effects, are great tools to have.”