Singer Marco Borsato, one of the most successful and biggest grossing artists in the Netherlands for the past 20 years, returned to Amsterdam's Ziggo Dome with his celebrated Symphonica in Rosso concert series. During the video-intensive shows d3 partnered with CAST Software's BlackTrax live tracking and the Notch realtime effects generator to create realtime video effects on the interactive stage floor.
Marco Borsato performs a dozen Symphonica in Rosso concerts annually with a symphony orchestra and guest artists. The most recent series featured six shows in the fall of 2015 and has six more upcoming in February and March 2016 with each date drawing some 17,000 spectators.
The goal of lighting designer Carlo Zaenen was to create "a big theater" look within the Ziggo Dome arena for the first round of concerts. The set design was a clean stage look with LED video banners in front, and orchestra pits to the left and right of the stage. There was also a guitar-shaped catwalk, including a 55 square-meter Kindwin LED floor with BlackTrax interactive video.
d3 has been the media server of choice for Borsato's lighting and video team for a number of years. For the latest Symphonica in Rosso concerts the team deployed four d3 4x4pros with close to 3TB of content.
"We chose d3 for its flexibility to play interactive content, to follow the artist on stage and to trigger timecode and rapidly visualize high-resolution stage views," says Jo Pauly, the d3 programmer and operator from Belgium-based Visual Solutions.
"With d3 we could make the complete output map in our studio then, upon arriving at the Ziggo Dome, we just plugged the fiber cables into the LED wall and were technically ready to go."
Zaenen agrees that d3's "reliability and proven ease of use on a large show with a complex video set up," made it the logical choice for the concert series. "We never even thought about using another media server," he says. "Once we finished the first drawings it was clear to us that d3 would do the job."
Pauly took advantage of Notch (formerly known as demolition), the revolutionary realtime effects generator, which can be used on request exclusively with d3 media servers. Borsato's team wanted to live track the singer on stage to obtain realtime positioning data on the catwalk. The data would be used in d3 to trigger realtime video effects on the interactive stage floor as Borsato moved up and down the catwalk.
"Through BlackTrax and Notch we were able to simulate the live tracking quite accurately in prepro," Pauly reports. "We could see how the content would react, how fluid the effect would be. Since there were a lot of surfaces filled with content, it was very helpful to simulate them in a realtime process that required no rendering."
Pauly says the Symphonica in Rosso concerts marked "the world premiere of BlackTrax and Notch working together on an arena show of this scale. d3 and BlackTrax blend perfectly. We were able to track the artist on stage and reproduce content in position. The use of d3's content versioning feature was an incredible help in making last-minute content changes without having to reprogram our timeline," he adds.
Pauly asked for d3 and Notch support during the concerts to ensure smooth delivery of the large-scale shows. "It was necessary because we were also using d3's newly released r12 software with some custom plug-ins. We worked closely with d3 for six months before the concerts began to find the right solution for our live tracking needs, and it was a splendid cooperation!"
For Symphonica in Rosso Anne-Mari Ahola, Marcel de Vré and Carlo Zaenen did the set design; Jo Pauly was the d3 programmer and operator; Leon Driessen was the lighting operator; Michael Stroobants of Visual Solutions was the d3 and BlackTrax engineer; Fabrique Fantastique created the video content; Marcel de Vré was the show director; Piet Winten of Mundomatic was the technical production manager; Jacky Hommers of Q.be was the stage manager; Ampco Flashlight was the sound and lighting supplier; and Faber AV was the video supplier.
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