During my last visit to Brussels for the Cimatics Festival we were taken by our friend François from Starloops to see an ongoing installation site in an event space called Claridge. I met with Marco who is the director of the space. He explained the importance of Brussels in that it is the administrative capital of the European Union. Because of this many large organizations are also based there. Claridge provides these organizations with a space and full range of services to host events such as presentations, parties and ceremonies. The goal of Claridge is to constantly find new and innovative ways to enhance and maximize the use of the space. To appeal to the olfactory senses of the attendees by providing a fully immersive experience. For Marco modul8 was a key step in accomplishing this goal.
Initially Starloops was hired to provide visuals for the events at Claridge in the form of projections of fractals. However once Marco was introduced to Modul8 and its multi-projection capabilities he, along with François and the Starloops team were able to accomplish an idea that had been in their minds for some time. Along both sides of the walls of Claridge are inset arches. An elevation is situated just below these. With the multi-projection Starloops was able to have a projection in side each arch on both sides of the space. The dream was to be able to project a panoramic still image across the screens so that the images in the arches were continuous and provided the illusion so that the space could transport people into another place on the globe without having to travel there.
Examples of this experience are enhanced by using various materials for each type of panorama. For example to provide the experience of a beach sand and deck chairs were brought in to compliment a panorama of a sunny sea side. For a forrest setting a carpet of real grass filled the floor and a setting for a picnic. For a mountain range the lesser yet still effective fake snow. This combination of image and material can be quite thrilling for audiences. Marco used the word ‘surreal’ to describe the experience.
Some cool tools so you don’t have to run around with a remote control.
From the success of this idea new solutions emerged. For awards ceremonies it was commonplace to use the stage as the focal point of the evenings presentations. Instead Claridge borrowed the fashion industry approach of a catwalk placed down the center of the room. This change yielded two advantages. The first was that that the time needed to announce all of the nominations was cut in half because the images of the nominees could be presented simultaneously inside each arch instead of one by one on a single screen. The second advantage was that the audience was seated facing each other at all times preventing people from falling asleep when realizing how embarrassing it would be if anyone saw them.
With these capabilities fully realized the Starloops and Claridge partnership is looking to new achieve new goals. Instead of just still panoramic images they want to have full motion video panoramas in order to deepen the sensation of immersion. The current obstacle is obtaining such footage that would fill all the screens without having to stretch the image. At this time there few if any companies that offer stock in these sizes. The solution the are currently looking at is to use a camera from RED that would allow them to shoot 4k. Starloops can shoot original materials to be used at Claridge and also provide them as stock for their online store that has been providing quality loops for the video and event industry for several years now.
A collaborative client like Claridge that is open to new ideas has been a real treat for a company like Starloops. Having a shared vision between the customer and the client has allowed Starloops to do experiments in a space that Claridge has clearly benefited from. Once you have a proving ground based on concrete projects it is easier to present these projects to other existing customers.