For ‘Digital Playground Festival’ in Bern, Switzerland, we had five days to prototype a new, immersive theatre piece. ‘Interferenzen’ is a about technological isolation, contact and the comfort in community. The guiding idea: how can we use VR not as a stage, but as one part of the play, making the basically one-person focus of VR into an interesting feature for a larger audience. Or short: to not only put theatre into VR, but to take VR into theatre, put it on stage.
Working on optimizing our pipeline to transfer 3d-pointclouds from laserscanning to realtime-VR. Take a virtual stroll through a pointcloud, Schumannstrasse in Berlin-Mitte:
First glimpse at VR models for Theatre Dortmunds award-winning “Borderline Prozession”. In May 2017 in Berlin:
Schauspiel Dortmund’s ‘Die Borderline Prozession’ is one of ‘the 10 ‘most remarkable theatre productions’ of this season and will travel to the Theatertreffen in our hometown Berlin this May. A well earned award, congratulations! It is somehow fitting that our Borderline VR experience will be ready at the same time…
Premiere ‘Faust to go’
Premiere of ‘Faust to go’ from Robert Lehniger is on January 21st in Düsseldorf. Break a leg!
Stagesets for virtual eternity
Milimetre-scale digitization and reconstruction of complete stagesets with laserscanning and photogrammetry
Today, most stage designers already use 3d models to plan their stages, mostly to plot construction drawings. Few use Virtual Reality to ‘walk’ through their creations before they are even build.
To digitize existing stages for digital reproduction, you need to scan them, for example with a laserscanning device. The laser is able to survey sub-millimetre differences from 10 m distance, taking in details up to 200 m away. The survey data is subsequently turned into pointclouds, which are enhanced with photos to add surface and textures.
We used this method for our ongoing project for Schauspielhaus Dortmund’s “Die Borderline Prozession”. One compelling aspect of this wonderful play is the vast stageset. It is a static construction at the “Megastore”, containing 14 partial stages, outside spaces and a roof garden. The real minivan in front of a little shop is merely a prop…
This immense data set creates lots of artistical and technical opportunities: you can explore the stage in VR long after its deconstruction, you can isolate single elements, change, rescale or delete them, or add new ones, telling new stories in old or re-cycled stages.
We ourselves are fasciniated by all the options and opportunities the combination of laserscanning and virtual reality promise. Like Schauspiel Dortmund says: “We’re in the middle of an explosion…!”
Using virtual cameras
Directors turn cameramen, their gaze replacing technology
We record actors holographically. Meaning: we scan their bodies surface geometrically, just with 3d scanning, only this time while they’re moving. Once recorded, we are able to use them like any other 3d model, watching them from all sides, manipulating them, etc. It is now possible, to really record a performance and to replay it in 2d or 3d.
You can choose the position, the cameras perspective in real time, change the viewing angle, rescale objects and actors, design camera flights, drive through bodies, try crazy stuff…
We use a system that enables the director to become the camera and do everything on her own, no coding required.
Working with this, the enthusiasm of participating artists and the curiosity of our visitors have produced a lot of new ideas and approaches. The technology is developing fast, we are looking forward to the new.
And the award goes to…
Marcel recieved the 3D Guild Award of the International 3D Summit in Liege, Belgium, in the category 3D VR Animated for his project ‘Pitoti Prometheus’ in December.
Work in progress (current status: December 2016)
- ‘Die Borderline Prozession’: VR-Installation for Schauspiel Dortmund (director: Kay Voges), May 2017
- ‘Der Geisterseher’, coproduction with Schillertage, Mannheim, and Kunstfest Weimar. June and August 2017
- ‘N.N.’ (director: Daniel Brunet), in co-operation with English Theatre Berlin.
Abschlussbild Dreharbeiten ‘Die Borderline Prozession’ im Schauspiel Dortmund, November 2016 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA