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Ai 2 Photocredit David Fell
Ai 1 Photocredit David Fell

Dynamic projection design for American Idiot

Green Day’s explosive Broadway musical "American Idiot" had its Australian premiere in Brisbane in 2017 and took to the road for an Australian national tour in 2018, which included the iconic Sydney Opera House, and was presented by the shake & stir theatre co and Queensland Performing Arts Centre. The dynamic video design for this hugely popular production was created by award-winning video projects team, optikal bloc, who chose Dataton WATCHOUT as their delivery solution.

Optikal bloc's Creative Director, Craig Wilkinson, explains the setup: "For the video design, we projection-mapped the main multi-surfaced 8.5 m wide x 5.2 m high surface of the set – designed by Josh McIntosh – with a single Panasonic PT-DZ21K projector. There are another fifteen individually-controlled 55" TVs, in various portrait and landscape assemblies, integrated around the set. We've also thrown live cameras into the mix with two installed cameras on the set and one roaming wireless handicam."

All content and displays were working at full HD and above and powered by Dataton WATCHOUT running across eight display servers in a redundant system setup. "Special shout-out to production partner – and Dataton premium partner – Interactive Controls for ensuring our vision was technically realised in full and for supporting our vision and requirements for the production" says Craig Wilkinson, optikal bloc.

 "The design itself is an infusion of many conventions, mixing punk rock iconography with various music video, live music concert and animation styles. At times, we've even featured more modern architectural projection-mapping techniques, all created and programmed to dynamically respond, when required, to the on-stage action and music.

"Dataton WATCHOUT was integral in realising the design and making it 'tour proof', utilising such features as the 3D projection tools, as no two venues were the same, as well as virtual displays in order to stretch a single piece of content across multiple televisions and sample parts of the projection content onto the TVs within the surface."

Audiences across Australia loved it – as did the critics.

"Video is heavily featured in this show but is a text book example of how video can enhance the show, rather than upstage it… Part rock concert, part protest rally, part theatre, the show left me on a high and wondering why more modern 'rock' musicals can't be like this" wrote Stage Whispers.

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