Since 2006 the Dutch singers Nick Schilder and Simon Keizer have been known as the duo Nick en Simon. Originated from the iconic village Volendam they bring songs about love and life. The Dutch public is familiar with their classics like Rosanne, Julia, De Soldaat and Kijk Omhoog.
Over time it has become a tradition for the duo to host a big concert at the end of the year, which turned out to a sold-out week of shows in Ahoy. For these shows Ad de Haan has become an essential part of the team, supplying beautiful images to enhance the vibe of the performance.
With the recent merger of Ad’s company LiveLab with The Unit Showcontrol to Live Legends, he got introduced to the d3 technology. And so did Nick en Simon. First at the 2015 show where video content realized a giant snowglobe at the stage.
This is what Ad’s vision for the Nick en Simon shows entails: Make an environment to situate the scene, use small changes and additions to set the mood for each song. In 2015 the environment was a snowglobe to fit the Christmas theme, for the 10th anniversary of Nick en Simon in 2016 he envisioned a virtual theatre.
Notch – Creative Solution
To set the base for this project a 3D model of the theatre was designed. With the d3 visualizer this model was tested to see if it would work at the venue from all angles. It was essential to do that so early in the project, not just to get clients approval, but to have the basics right.
The show consisted of a lot of songs which all needed their own mood with their own changes and additions. To be able to produce that amount of content a group of content creators was selected, who were all assigned different songs. Therefore they all worked from the same 3D model, with the same camera specifications, so in the end all different elements would line up and match in style.
A new addition this year was realtime content generated by Notch. This was used to fulfill an everlasting desire to do something different with live camera than having it as a flat PIP. The content creators made 3D models of screens which matched the mood they created for the songs. That model was loaded and textured in Notch, so the live signal would stick to the virtual screens. This could additionally be mixed with the original video clips, selected by a Midi controller. The position and orientation of the screens could be sequenced on the d3 timeline. Proper masking inside Notch would make it look like the screens were actually coming from an opening in the ceiling of the theatre.
Ad de Haan claims he always likes how on shows like these, work of so many people comes together. “But with Notch this was brought to another level. As people are used to look at flat live PIPs they couldn’t believe what they saw. I’ve actually had (even technical) people who had seen the show, who afterwards wanted to enter the stage to see that it was just a flat LED screen. I’ve heard audience members being impressed, by how we were able to ‘bring that many stage pieces down from the roof’. “
“This new technology lets us think different about video, the capabilities of a mediaserver and its operator,” says Dave van Roon, Live Legends’ d3 specialist. “This was the second show I used Notch on and it got me addicted. It’s not that you don’t have to render your content, or that you can make content as you go. It’s that you can amaze your audience with some amazing, interactive and responsive content. Besides the 3D screens we also added Notch on 2D elements, such as a spherical live pip on a Christmas ball, as if it was a reflection. Or, as we loaded the model of the theatre in Notch as well, create a virtual projection mapping.”