A Christie Roadster S+20K projector played a major role during the performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Simon Boccanegra at the Grand Théâtre in Geneva and the Gran Teatre de Liceu in Barcelona. Jointly produced by both theatres, the opera was performed during three months in the two cities using exactly the same mise en scène with stage direction by Spaniard José Luis Gómez.
BAF General de Catalunya, a multidisciplinary AV company from Barcelona with over 15 years experience to its credit, was responsible for the screening accompanying the opera performance. A Roadster S+20K provided the projection, screening four HD clips on a moving cube mounted on the stage, which was in fact the only scenery element used.
The cube comprised four doors—two at the front and another two in the middle of the structure—that were closed to form a screen or opened to visually expand the stage. For optimum rear projection the 12x10 metre glass doors were coated in PVC.
During the performance the cube moved forward and backward and up and down, having three different levels of height and two longitudinal positions. Four clips of different lengths were screened on the cube doors, including images of castles, clouds and the sea, among others. Installed at the rear of the stage, the projector was suspended at a distance of 6 metres from the ground and 25 meters from the cube. BAF also provided a second Roadster S+20K for backup purposes.
“When we were commissioned this job, our client requested a solution for playing uncompressed real time HD video over a moving structure (the cube), and the possibility of adjusting the image to adapt it to different sizes/lengths of screens without moving the video projector” recalls Xavier Gibert, from BAF’s Technical Dept, an expert in the management of real-time video and an operator himself during the shows. The BAF production team was rounded off with the collaboration of Carles León and David Larrull, specialists in adapting the Roadster S+20K utilities to any type of large event.
To tell the truth, with this mise en scène the set designer Carl Fillion wanted to create different atmospheres over the cube, placing the audience in several physical spaces. “Our idea was to use the projection as a metaphorical and material cornerstone of the different settings in the show,” points out Gibert.
The Christie Roadster S+20K projector features 3-chip DLP technology, 20000 ANSI lumens and a SXGA+ resolution (1400x1050), making it the ideal solution for the rental market of large events. In this case, the projector was equipped with a standard 1.8-2.5:1 lens receiving HDSDI signals. “With this projector we expected to achieve excellent brightness, resolution and operation, and we did it with flying colours,” says Gibert.
The projector was jointly operated with the ChristieNET network solution which, according to Gibert, “is a simple control system which proves very useful when you don’t have direct access to the equipment but need to make adjustments in real time during a performance. This time it was of utmost importance to have preset memories, as each clip was projected over a moving screen during the performance. That meant that the image focus, zoom and diverse parameters, such as for instance the colorimetry adjustments, varied all the time.”
Clips were screened in Full HD resolution (1920x1080i) with an aspect ratio of 16:9. However, images were masked in real time to adapt them to the location of the screen.
For playing images a Mac Pro G5 was used, equipped with two Intel Xeon quad-core processors (2.8 GHz) with a ATA 7200RPM hard disk, connected to a G-Speed RAID 0 (2TB) and a hard disk Lacie with Firewire. Additionally, a Mac mini was used for simultaneously playing the same images but with a lower resolution (720p), as back-up for the main server. BAF also used the HD-SDI video mixer Panasonic AV-HS400 for feeding images to the Roadster S+20K, and a multi-format scaler Diventix 8022 by AnalogWay for converting signals to HD-SDI.
According to Xavier, the most amazing thing about the projection was its spectacular size and power. “Honestly, the show was a huge success and garnered great reviews. We managed to achieve the results the client was after and obviously all our goals were accomplished,” stresses Xavier.
And he adds: “You have to admit that the brightness of 20K machines is always incredible, and the Roadster series is the best in high-end projectors. With proper maintenance you can achieve incredible results with these projectors.”
Xavier also tells us that BAF had already called on the expertise of high-end Christie projectors in 2007: “After comparing several similar projectors we decided to go for Christie because of its great versatility, its resolution, weight and operability, as well as its control system ChristieNET, among other features. We have already used the Roadster S+20K in several large opera productions such as Duke Bluebeard’s Castle or Death in Venice, as well as in performances, such as the shows of the theatrical group La Fura del Baus, always with excellent results. The Roadster S+20K is our projector of choice for this type of projects,” he concludes.