As part of our discovery process, we explored the relationship between color and sound, drawing on previous studies and a selection of documentation on Synesthesia – ‘the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body’. After we were provided the program of music that the LA Phil would be performing that evening, we delved into the process of associating color palettes and visual stylings to the amazing selection of music that was to be performed. The musical selections ranged from popular, well-known pieces such as Stravinsky’s ‘Firebird Suite’, to the debut performance of a 12-minute atonal modern work ‘Guasamacabra’ by Venezuelan composer Paul Desenne.
Under the direction of famed conductor and the LA Phil’s Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, these and other compositions were performed powerfully and dynamically by the orchestra, who also incorporated the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA) into the performance of Arturo Marquez’ modern classic ‘Conga Del Fuego Nuevo’.
In order to bring the show to the public in a meaningful way, and to be inclusive of mainstream music and performers, the LA Phil invited guest performers Katy Perry, Herbie Hancock (the LA Phil Creative Chair for Jazz), and Kali Uchis to join in and perform some of their popular hits. These performances highlighted the magic of the LA Phil—and with wonderful orchestral arrangements by David Campbell (Joy, Brokeback Mountain, Spider Man, and Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney) brought well known pieces such as Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ to new life in front of the full-capacity audience of 17,500 in attendance. The encore and finale to the evening was the emotional and iconic Main Theme from ‘Star Wars’, with guest conductor and original composer John Williams wielding his (light saber!) wand.
Our production approach integrated real-time visuals, reactive to both audio and the conductor’s wand motions, pre-rendered CG material, and live performance controls via Midi/Osc, XiteLabs created the most robust real-time visual mapping show ever done at the Hollywood Bowl, re configurable to any venue or scale of show in the future. With the interactive tracking data of Gustavo Dudamel’s performance feeding into Touch Designer and passed to Notch via OSC, and 8 discrete channels of submixed audio from the orchestra driving our pre-programmed looks for pieces such as Star Wars, it was evident to attendees that this was no ordinary projection mapping show!
Our chief technical artist Matt Guertin designed our show system using the Luminosity framework created by Keith Lostracco in Touch Designer 099. Luminosity allowed us to save presets and cue the generative system in a very advanced fashion. We had a 3D 4k previz view of the stage and a complete UV mapping pipeline with real time tracing and chasing geometries.
For ‘Star Wars’ our programming in Notch accounted for any given section of the orchestra, e.g., ‘Hi Strings’ to illuminate and animate certain areas of the the arch or ‘proscenium’ of the Hollywood Bowl, which, for the John William’s masterpiece theme for ‘Star Wars’, was skinned to look very much like the interior of the iconic Millennium Falcon ship that Han Solo pilots in the Star Wars films. In this way, XiteLabs fostered a direct relationship between the musical performance and composition and the audience’s visual experience of the music, while incorporating themed elements that spoke to the originality and beauty of the original IP. We were in awe witnessing The Master John Williams conducting this timeless epic, as our visuals surrounded him and the LA Phil orchestra in fields of asteroids, and onward through a warp-speed tunnel that bridged the past and future!