Project Description

The VMA Awards 2020

Silent Partners and XR studios find innovative ways to recreate the buzz of a live broadcast audience for the 2020 VMA Awards.

The VMA’s was the first major awards show to broadcast in the US since the pandemic took hold. To create the dynamic virtual hosting stage and the XR components for performances from Black Eyed Peas, Miley Cyrus, and Doja Cat, XR Studios produced the XR filming. Creative content agency Silent Partners chose Notch for their design of the virtual mainstage and Miley Cyrus’s performance.

Notch’s live editing functionality allowed for adjustments during rehearsals, staging, and blocking times during the show filming period. Surrounding the presenter stage were virtual billboards that served as additional content delivery during the show. Notch’s robust integration with external video (using NDI), and external triggers through ArtNet produced a structured and dependable virtual system that replicated and mimicked a traditional “real world” setup. Virtual Doors for entrances, virtual light cues, even swapping out pre-filmed virtual audience members all happened in real-time and were easily accessible to the show running team.

“The move to a virtual stage event came pretty late in the process, and we had to turn to tech that we can trust to give us great content on a short turnaround. After the success of the XR performance by Katy Perry on American Idol, Notch was the natural choice for bringing the whole VMA show to life in a virtual setting. Notch offers the perfect combination of high-end real-time rendering quality and usability for designers on tight schedules.”

Scott Millar, XR Studios

“We were able to scale up our Notch workflow by having multiple designers work on different aspects of the same project. With proper commenting and organization, merging changes from multiple Notch designers into the same project was simple and allowed us to get more work done.”

Spencer Sterling, Notch designer, Silent Partners

Additional press coverage:
Live Design, Silent Partners, LSA

Client: Video Music Awards, MTV, Paul Caslin
Production Company: XR Studios
Production Design: Julio Himede, Yellow Studio
Creative Direction: Paul Caslin for VMAs, SPS Content Creative Direction by Janicke Morissette, David Fafard, and Claudine Boulanger
Notch Designers: Spencer Sterling, Brett Bolton, Patrick Goski
Video Director: Sam Wrench

Video Producers: Trevor Burke, Visual Noise
Lighting Designer: Tom Sutherland, Jon Kusner
Screen Producer: J.T. Rooney, Silent Partners Studio
Animator: Claudine Boulanger, Andréanne Dumont, Loic Surprenant
Equipment Vendor: Fuse Technical Group
Media Server: disguise gx2C