Belgian creative entertainment and design practice Painting with Light delivered the full show design, lighting, video and set for four amazing performances by Belgian superstar “Clouseau” at the Antwerp Sportpaleis … a biannual extravaganza staged by the band which was enjoyed by over 80,000 fans.
As always, the pressure was on to produce a fresh and vibrant presentational environment for these arenas, and this year Painting with Light chose Notch software to give eye-catching visuals and graphics a versatile and unique edge.
Painting with Light’s Michael Al-Far, head of video content for the project and collaborating closely with show designer Luc Peumans, said Notch was incorporated at the heart of the video treatment.
In 2016, Painting with Light joined the worldwide family of d3 and became Belgium’s only certified BlackTrax Expert. To achieve the full integration potential of both lighting and video mediums, the company also invested in Notch.
Notch was the “additional ingredient to make up a ‘Holy Trinity’ of definitive digital tools” explains Michael. “Notch, BlackTrax and d3 make the perfect ‘creative threesome’ for live show video content!”
The software is used to delivery real-time video content with instant real time playback without any rendering time, delivering exceptionally high resolution quality.
Clouseau is a ‘live’ band in every sense of the word, using clicks and timecodes “sparingly”. Charismatic lead singer Koen Wauters has great communication with his audience and spends lots of time and energy throughout the set engaging with and getting as close as possible to the fans. He’s renowned for leaping into the mosh pit or climbing up into the seating stands at any time … leaving the band to improvise and extend the track that is currently being played for as long as needed.
In a situation like this, the visual crew also needs to have the same spontaneity to react … whilst all the time appearing seamless to the audience.
This year, the show’s theme was all about dancing, in keeping with 2016’s best-selling album, “Clouseau Danst” (Clouseau Dances) … by harnessing the power and versatility of Notch for key video animation sequences, the visuals could keep pace with the vibe and energy of the show.
“We wanted to blend both visual and audio elements into a single ‘viewing experience’ and Notch enabled us to do this,” stated Michael, delighted with the results.
“Dansen” was one number – out of a set of 36 songs – where it was vital the band had the freedom to improvise and play-out as long as was needed, feeding off audience reactions.
Using Notch, Michael created a matrix of small cubes, spanning the whole width and height of the 30m x 10m LED wall, with a 2D plane sitting in the back to contain the live feed input. The texture of the matrix had a coating of the reflected image of this live feed.
“This would have never been possible with the more traditional methods of blending live feed and pre-rendered geometry. On top of that, the whole set-up was triggered via a live audio feed serving as an activator for the animation of these cubes” explained Michael.
The d3 server setup for the shows allowed the team to connect a MIDICON panel and link Notch parameters to a couple of faders, as the band changed rhythm and pace, they could literally mix the reaction time and scope of the content.
The node-based architecture of Notch is incredibly powerful. “Once you start combining the nodes, the application starts challenging you with questions … rather than the other way around! It’s like the app’s always one step ahead!” he elaborates.
“On the journey to obtaining your goal, you really discover the power and flexibility of this truly multi-layered application. The possibilities are endless!”
“Even making a small alteration to the node network can result in a radical change in what’s seen across video surfaces. The follow-up of the Notch designers is impeccable and if you find yourself stuck, there is always someone at the end of the phone to provide a solution!”
Michael believes that Notch has the potential to completely change the way live event content is produced. “Having real time effects like geometry shapers and shadows at your fingertips is an absolute dream for any content designer,” he concludes.
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