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Digital Media, Projection Design, and Technology for Theatre

Book Description

Digital Media, Projection Design, and Technology for Theatre covers the foundational skills, best practices, and real-world considerations of integrating digital media and projections into theatre. The authors, professional designers and university professors of digital media in live performance, provide readers with a narrative overview of the professional field, including current industry standards and expectations for digital media/projection design, its related technologies and techniques. The book offers a practical taxonomy of what digital media is and how we create meaning through its use on the theatrical stage.

The book outlines the digital media/projection designer’s workflow into nine unique phases. From the very first steps of landing the job, to reading and analyzing the script and creating content, all the way through to opening night and archiving a design. Detailed analysis, tips, case studies, and best practices for crafting a practical schedule and budget, to rehearsing with digital media, working with actors and directors, to creating a unified design for the stage with lighting, set, sound, costumes, and props is discussed.

The fundamentals of content creation, detailing the basic building blocks of creating and executing digital content within a design is offered in context of the most commonly used content creation methods, including: photography and still images, video, animation, real-time effects, generative art, data, and interactive digital media. Standard professional industry equipment, including media servers, projectors, projection surfaces, emissive displays, cameras, sensors, etc. is detailed. The book also offers a breakdown of all key related technical tasks, such as converging, warping, and blending projectors, to calculating surface brightness/luminance, screen size and throw distance, to using masks, warping content and projection mapping, making this a complete guide to digital media and projection design today.

An eResource page offers sample assets and interviews that link to current and relevant work of leading projection designers.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. CONTENTS
  5. Contributors
  6. Preface
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
    1. FROM FIREPIT TO KINDLE FIRE, THE RISE OF DIGITAL MEDIA
    2. DEFINING DIGITAL MEDIA IN TERMS OF THEATRICAL PERFORMANCE
    3. DEFINING THE ROLE OF THE DIGITAL MEDIA DESIGNER
    4. BASIC SKILLS OF THE DIGITAL MEDIA DESIGNER
    5. DIGITAL MEDIA DESIGN AS A CAREER
    6. JOBS FOR A DIGITAL MEDIA DESIGNER BEYOND THE THEATRE
    7. WHY USE DIGITAL MEDIA?
    8. MEANING MAKING AND THE LANGUAGE OF DIGITAL MEDIA IN THEATRE
      1. A Designer’s Practical Taxonomy
      2. Examples of Atmospheric and Interactive Digital Media
        1. Atmospheric Digital Media
        2. Interactive Digital Media
    9. REFERENCES
  9. CHAPTER 2 INTEGRATING DIGITAL MEDIA DESIGN INTO THE THEATRICAL TEAM
    1. PRODUCERS AND PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT
      1. Budget
      2. Scheduling
      3. Personnel/Crew
    2. STAGE MANAGEMENT
      1. Digital Media in the Rehearsal Hall
    3. ARTISTIC TEAM
      1. Directors
      2. Actors
      3. Rehearsing with Interactive Digital Media
    4. TOWARD A UNIFIED DESIGN
      1. Scenic
        1. Screens
        2. Materials and Textures
        3. Self-Emitting Media Gear
        4. Staging
        5. Floor Treatment
        6. 3D Models
        7. Shared Documents Created by the Scenic Department
        8. Ground Plan
        9. Elevations and Sections
        10. Line Set Schedule
      2. Lighting
        1. Projections
        2. Direction of Light
        3. Projector Placement
        4. Color Temperature
        5. Color Palette
        6. Brightness
        7. Tech
      3. Sound
        1. Who’s in Charge of What?
        2. Audio Playback in the Performance Space
      4. Costumes
      5. Props
  10. CHAPTER 3 DIGITAL MEDIA DESIGN PROCESS AND WORKFLOW
    1. FIRST STEPS
      1. Salary
      2. Negotiating Deliverables
      3. Setting Limits
      4. Working with Budgets
      5. Equipment
      6. Consider the Schedule
      7. Know the Venue
      8. Design Meetings
      9. Production Meetings
    2. THE SCRIPT
      1. Working with Scripts
      2. Reading the Script for the First Time
      3. On the Second Reading
      4. On the Third Reading
      5. A List of Lists
    3. DEVISING
      1. How to Be Productive in the Devising Process
      2. Constraints
    4. DESIGN PHASE I: RESEARCH
      1. To Research Previous Productions or Not?
      2. Finding Your Research
      3. Organizing and Sharing Research
      4. Mood Boards
    5. DESIGN PHASE II: CONCEPTUAL DESIGN
      1. Conceptual Design Statement
      2. Design Presentations
    6. DESIGN PHASE III: FROM SCRIPT TO CUE LIST
      1. Creating the Cue List: Scene-by-Scene Content Breakdown
      2. Elements of a Good Cue List
      3. The To-Do List
      4. Reviewing the Cue List with the Director: Early and Often
      5. Cue Numbering
      6. Looking Ahead to Calling Cues
    7. DESIGN PHASE IV: DECIDING ON SYSTEM AND TECHNOLOGY
      1. System
      2. Stock Equipment
      3. Rental Equipment
      4. Purchasing Equipment
      5. Projector Placement
    8. DESIGN PHASE V: CONTENT CREATION AND SHOW INTEGRATION WORKFLOW
      1. Initial Phase: Roughs
      2. Initial Phase: Firsts
      3. Intermediate Phase: Seconds
      4. Intermediate Phase: Finals
      5. Onsite Phase: Finals in the Theatre
    9. DESIGN PHASE VI: LOAD-IN AND TECH WEEK
      1. Paperwork
      2. Rendering
      3. The Order of Tech and Dark Time in the Theatre
        1. Load-In and System Setup
        2. Alignment/Warping/Blending
        3. Mapping/Masking
        4. Programming/Cueing
      4. Tech Notes
      5. Training Operators
    10. DESIGN PHASE VII: FINALIZING THE DESIGN
      1. Getting Final Sign-Off from the Director
      2. Locking Down Equipment, Cables, and the Media Server
      3. Show Reports
    11. DESIGN PHASE VIII: DOCUMENTING YOUR WORK
    12. DESIGN PHASE IX: ARCHIVING THE PROJECT
  11. CHAPTER 4 CONTENT CREATION 101
    1. 2D AND 3D CONTENT IN A 3D WORLD
    2. CREATING CONTENT IN RELATION TO THE THEATRICAL SET AND FOR SURFACES OTHER THAN PROJECTION SCREENS
    3. HOW MUCH CONTENT DO YOU NEED AND HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO CREATE?
    4. ORGANIZATION OF ASSETS
    5. BACKING UP YOUR DATA
    6. THE BASICS OF DESIGN
      1. Style
      2. Line
      3. Shape
      4. Composition
      5. Rule of Thirds
      6. Negative Space
      7. Unity
      8. Variety
      9. Balance
      10. Color
      11. Texture
      12. Emphasis
      13. Contrast
      14. Scale and Proportion
      15. Repetition and Pattern
      16. Typography
    7. THE BASICS OF DIGITAL CONTENT
      1. Bits and Bytes
      2. Pixels, Rasters, and Resolution
        1. Pixels Are Data
        2. Pixels in Displays
        3. Pixelization
        4. Raster vs. Vector
      3. CMYK and RGB Color, Bit Depth, and Alpha Channels
        1. CMYK
        2. RGB
        3. Hue, Saturation, and Value
        4. RGB(A): Alpha Channels
      4. Digital Color Space
        1. Chroma (Color) Subsampling or 4:2:0 vs. 4:2:2 vs. 4:4:4
      5. Contrast and Dynamic Range
      6. Compositing
    8. TYPES OF CONTENT
      1. Custom Content
      2. Found Content
      3. Stock Content
      4. Still Images
        1. Photography
          1. The Ubiquity of the Photograph
          2. The Basics of Photography and Still Images
      5. Moving Images
        1. Video Basics
          1. Analog vs. Digital
          2. Interlaced/Progressive
          3. Frame Rates and Standards
          4. Video Resolution/Aspect Ratio
          5. Bit Rate
          6. Compression, File Types, Codecs, and Containers
          7. Transcoding
        2. Making Movies: Video Production 101
        3. Types of Shots
        4. Video Lighting
        5. Audio
        6. Video Editing
        7. Linear vs. Nonlinear
        8. Pace/Speed
        9. Looping
        10. Cutting on Action/Matching Eyeline
        11. Montage
      6. Animation
        1. 2D Animation
        2. 3D Animation
      7. Real-Time Effects on Prerecorded Content
      8. Generative Art/Video as Content
        1. The Basics of Generative Art/Video
      9. Data as Content
      10. Interactive Systems as Content
        1. Meaning Making from Interactivity
        2. Live Video/Cameras
          1. Real-Time Effects on Live Cameras
          2. Rehearsing with Cameras
          3. To See a Camera Operator or Not?
      11. Computer/Machine Vision
        1. Tracking Performers and Objects
      12. VJ Style
      13. Video Game Theory and Technology
      14. Hybrid Content/Systems
    9. RENDERING, STORAGE, AND PLAYBACK
    10. RENDER VS. REAL-TIME
  12. CHAPTER 5 GEAR AND TECHNICAL TASKS
    1. SYSTEMS
    2. VIDEO SIGNALS
      1. Video Cables
        1. The Anatomy of a Video Cable with a Single Strand of Wire
        2. Coax
        3. BNC
        4. RCA
        5. S-Video or Y/C
        6. VGA
        7. DVI
        8. HDMI
        9. DisplayPort
        10. SDI
        11. Fiber Optic
        12. Thunderbolt
        13. USB
        14. FireWire
        15. Cat 5 and Cat 6 Ethernet cable
      2. Video Signal Distribution Hardware
        1. EDID Managers, Video Amplifiers, Replicators, Extenders, Repeaters, Splitters, and Distribution
          1. Datapath
          2. Matrox Triple Head
        2. Video Scalers
        3. Video Mixers
        4. Video Cable Adapters and Signal Converters
          1. Wireless Video
          2. RF Modulator
          3. Cat 5/6 Extenders
          4. Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADC) and Digital-to-Analog Converters (DAC)
    3. MEDIA SERVERS
      1. Types of Media Servers
        1. Timeline-Based Media Servers
        2. Layer/Cue Stack-Based Media Servers
        3. Node-Based Media Servers
        4. VJ-Based Media Servers
      2. Common Media Server Features
        1. Built-In Mapping and Masking Features
        2. Max # of Inputs
        3. Max # of Outputs
        4. Max # of Layers
        5. Max # of Simultaneous HD Videos
        6. Notable Supported Protocols
    4. PROJECTORS
      1. Projector Types
        1. DLP
        2. LCD
        3. LCoS
        4. Laser
      2. Technical Specifications of Projectors
        1. Lumens
        2. Resolution and Aspect Ratio
        3. Contrast Ratio
        4. Inputs/Outputs
        5. Fan/Air Flow/Filters
        6. Network Capable
        7. Installation
      3. Projector Lenses
        1. Types of Lenses
      4. Working with Projectors
        1. Focus
        2. Keystone
        3. Lens Shift
        4. Convergence
        5. Calculating Surface Brightness/Luminance
        6. Calculating Screen Size, Throw Distance, and/or Lens Needed
        7. Calculating Pixel Size, Pixels per Square Inch (PPI), and Approximate Perceived Pixel Size
        8. Projection Calculators
        9. Warping and Projection Mapping
        10. Masks
        11. Using Multiple Projectors
        12. Blending
          1. Step 1: Calculate the Overlap
          2. Step 2: Align the Projected Rasters to the Calculated Overlap
          3. Step 3: Adjust the Media Server’s Blend Function to the Same Percentage of Overlap
          4. Step 4: Adjust the Gain, Gradient, or Blend Amount in the Media Server
      5. Projector-Related Equipment
        1. Lamps
        2. Dowsers
        3. Mounts and Cages
    5. PROJECTION SCREENS AND SURFACES
      1. Screen Gain and Viewing Angle
      2. Front and Rear Projection Screens and Fabrics
      3. Sharkstooth Scrim
    6. EMISSIVE DISPLAYS
      1. LED Displays
      2. Monitors/TVs
    7. CAMERAS
      1. Camera Basics
        1. Aperture
        2. Shutter Speed
        3. ISO
        4. White Balance
      2. Digital Image Sensors
      3. DSLR
      4. Video Cameras
      5. Cameras for Live Video
        1. Latency
        2. Lighting for Live Cameras
    8. VIDEO CAPTURE CARDS AND DEVICES
    9. VIDEO PRODUCTION GEAR
      1. Camera Kit
      2. Audio Kit
      3. Light Kit
      4. Miscellaneous Video Gear
      5. Editing System
    10. NETWORKING
      1. Open Sound Control (OSC)
      2. DMX512-A
      3. MIDI
      4. Art-Net
      5. Wired and Wireless Routers/Switches
      6. Network Cable
        1. Cat 5/6 Ethernet Cables
        2. Serial Cables
    11. SENSORS
      1. Infrared (IR) Cameras
        1. Marker-Based Real-Time Tracking of Performers and Objects in 3D
      2. Depth Cameras
      3. Microphones
      4. Encoders
      5. Gyroscopic
      6. Pressure, Flex, and Contact
    12. REFERENCE
  13. Endface
  14. Glossary
  15. Index