WATCHOUT backdrop for Wuthering Heights

“The eerie setting was enhanced by a large set of drapes that provide the backdrop for the always impressive projection designs of optikal bloc.” – AUSSIE THEATRE (2014)

Brisbane-based optikal bloc is an award-winning video projects company that specialises in delivering video technology and services to the arts and entertainment industry. They have provided projection design with WATCHOUT for numerous productions including Shake & Stir Theatre Co's version of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, which toured to 26 venues across Australia in 2016.

For Wuthering Heights, optikal bloc used a WATCHOUT system to provide signal to a Pansonic PT-DZ21K projector that was used to do a full stage projection over a 12 metre width. Creating a map across the entire stage using WATCHOUT's advanced 3D projector feature and mapping tools, the optikal bloc team was able to instantly map to any surface required during the design phase.

"Specifying the system and designing the projection content, we were able to create a seamless presentation from conception to performance, providing a theatrical environment in which our team and director were more than happy to use as a major story–telling element," says Craig Wilkinson, optikal bloc. "WATCHOUT gave the flexibility required to meet the changing demands of a live theatre environment so that our team could seamlessly respond and collaborate with other departments. Elements such as video timing, colour and composition could be adjusted easily and effectively in the space."

With sound and vision being operated by only a stage manager, the WATCHOUT system was controlled remotely via QLab’s MIDI triggers. WATCHOUT, in turn, fired ArtNet to the projector’s shutter and lamp control.

The production was first aired in 2014 and for the tough 2016 tour, optikal bloc decided to upgrade to version 6 of WATCHOUT for its strong focus on mapping. Craig Wilkinson continues: “Moving to WATCHOUT version 6 for the 26-venue tour made sure there was no compromise to the original 2014 projection design. In working with a strict bump-in time with minimal crew, the new 3D objects and projector tools meant that mapping to 26-odd surfaces in a few hours was possible. To also have the ability to previz the show on a monitor in the rehearsal room made sure there were no surprises once the tour kicked off.”

Wuthering Heights was most recently performed at QPAC, Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

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