Project Description

San Holo’s Existential Dance Music Tour 2023 created a set of radiant visuals at the crossroads of meditation and movement for San Holo’s latest tour.

This autumn, Voyage Productions commissioned to create video effects and content for San Holo’s Existential Dance Music tour of the United States–the artist’s biggest tour yet. Creative Director Thorwald van den Akker, Voyage Creative Director Jamie Issuh, and Production Designer Kyle Kegan worked with San Holo to devise the look and feel of the show before passing it on to the team.

The team began by taking inspiration from van den Akker’s art for San Holo’s releases and videos, which follows a simple but beautiful hand-sketched aesthetic. As Screen Producer and Notch Designer Drew Mercadante said, “It’s got a lot of ‘inner child’ in it, which doesn’t really work with more traditional 3D concert visuals, so we looked outside the box to find a way to create visuals on a computer that would match that hand-drawn feel.”

The creative team selected image sequences from the raw sketches–for example, flocks of flying birds and the artist’s signature imagery–and ran them through particle simulations to create fields of sprites in Notch. From there, they used post-FX nodes to add audio-reactive elements to van den Akker’s animations.

They also created a set of heavy video effects using Notch’s Background Removal and Virtual Background features to isolate the artist’s silhouette and form a “being of light” they dubbed “Holo San.” The team used Resolume as their media server. In their review, NYS Music described a ninety-minute set wherein the artist created a nonstop stream of beats from scratch layered with lively guitar riffs and mystical imagery, culminating in “nothing short of an emotional experience.”

“During pre-production, there were a few times San asked ‘are you sure this is going to work live?’ And luckily, we were able to say ‘of course!’ When he arrived at tech rehearsals, we had a camera set up for testing looks in Notch. As soon as he saw himself onscreen complete with effects surrounding and following his form as he jumped up and down, he knew immediately that we really could pull it off.”

Drew Mercadante, Screen Producer & Notch Designer,

Additional press coverage:
EDM Identity, NYS Music.

Client: San Holo
Production Company: Voyage Productions
Production Design: Kyle Kegan
Creative Direction: Jamie Issuh
Notch Designer: Drew Mercadante
Video Director: Jeff Meuzelaar

Video Producers: & Thorwald van den Akker
Lighting Designer: Kyle Kegan
Screen Producer: Drew Mercadante
Animators: Drew Mercadante, John Egan, & Thorwald van den Akker