This week, part of our assignment was to design a “fantasy machine.” Mine is an interactive variation of some of the hologram technology that already exists.
I work as a director and designer in the theatre. One challenge is always seeing a show’s design will actually live exist together in space. To try and aid this, scenic designers often build model boxes to 1/2″ or 1/4″ scale. This proves to be labor intensive for scenic designers, and requires a very different skill set from the actual demands of design. Moreover, it does not really allow a director to see how designs such as video or lighting can function in space, until the set is built and installed.
To help fill this gap, my fantasy machine is a small hologram box. The box is built to 1/4″ scale, set up to replicate most stage shapes and variations. The LED lights simulate small projectors that will be imbedned into the walls. And the open holes signify places where small amounts of ‘fog’ can be pumpted to create a floating projection surface.
Scenic designers would be able to import floor plans, sections, and shop drawings. A program would then compile that date to create a 3d projection. Additional elements can include video/projection design mock-ups as well as simulations of how lighting would function in the space.
Of course, an important part of seeing designs in 3d is the ability to change and play with them. To see, for example, what it looks like if a table moves, or if the curve of a wall is at a different angle or placement. Sensors and cameras within the box would allow users to reach inside, and “pinch” elements of the design to move them to new locations. At the end of a design meeting, these changes would go back through the program and instantely update the light plot, ground plan, shop drawings, etc.
Here is an example of the design for a show I recently directed called “Artifacts of consequence.”
Below you will see the scenic designers drafts of the set. (Ground plan, sections, etc.) Then you will see my box, the mockup of my fantasy machine. Lastly, you will see final photographs of the final set (with various changes, including lighting and video) that could be accurately mocked to scale within the “fantasy machine.”
And last, but not least, picture of my Adruino lab where I was playing with different ways to fine tune the sensitivity of the potentiometer’s effect on the LED’s brigtness. (Sadly, it did not photograph too well.)