He notes that being able to accurately plot the camera view, including set pieces from the production CAD, turned disguise into “a pre production tool for director Hamish Hamilton and the choreographers, too. They were able to see how the audience would view the show from all angles, and it clarified the whole concept of projection mapping for people who might not have known what it is.”
Nicholson emphasises that using disguise for simulation “really streamlines things. It helps us make intelligent choices about how to create and preview media.”
Back at the stadium Rudolph was taking advantage of the disguise QuickCal calibration feature, a revolutionary way to align projectors on site. QuickCal reduces the time it takes to line up a single projector to just nine minutes. A handy feature when 80 projectors are on hand.
Rudolph explains that when the football field surface was removed and the white fabric projection surface installed it was set at a level three feet lower than the football field. “Using disguise QuickCal function we could walk the area with a couple of tripods, set them to the right height and calibrate the projectors even though the projection surface was not there for most of the first week,” he says. “So we only needed to tweak the calibration a little bit when the projection surface came in.”
He also discovered that the steel structure of the stadium shifted a millimeter or two depending on the position of the stadium’s retractable roof and the temperature of the air. That shift translated into “a couple of inches of movement” for determining the throw of the projectors during the show, and “in terms of alignment, that’s a huge issue” – especially when time is short.
So Nehru devised a custom solution, which enabled technicians Matt Waters and Kris Murray to realign the 80 projectors in four batches. “The second we were given control of the field we got ready to adjust the projectors,” says Rudolph. “We’d grab a quarter of the projectors, nudge them in a certain direction to make sure they were aligned, then grab the next quarter and align them to their companions. Matt and Kris did a heck of a job – in less than seven minutes.”
Rudolph and his team also benefited from the disguise Dynamic Blend feature, which eliminates the need to draw blending masks by hand for all the projectors in the grid. “That probably saved two full days,” estimates Nehru. “We just turned on a switch and the blend was there,” says Rudolph. “It was a big time saver.”
J.T. Rooney of Lightborne was responsible for implementing disguise during rehearsals; Eric Marchwinski of Earlybird Design Inc., Katy Perry’s lighting programmer, ran the disguise from the grandMA2 light during rehearsals. Zak Haywood, disguise Technical Manager, worked with Matt Waters to build the system and was the technical support lead.