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Using a visualiser as a live effect


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I've got a customer who is hiring a cinema to put on events. They have an enormous screen, the width of the room, which isn't really needed for any actual visual content. Meanwhile they are trying to put on something not unlike a typical rock show. The usual concert lighting approach is drastically curtailed by the complete ban on any smoke or haze. They are really keen on the look of beams behind the performers, which of course isn't going to be possible.


It would make sense to use the cinema screen as a video backdrop, and if it matches the look that they are aiming for, then so much the better. What I'm wondering is if, rather than just using stock footage, they could use a visualiser program to essentially have a "virtual lightshow" on the screen. The main advantage that I can see is that it could be triggered from the same console as their regular lighting, so everything matches. Of course, this will only work if the visualiser can render quickly enough to keep up with the lighting op stabbing flash buttons etc.


I've only really dabbled with visualisers in the past, and am quite out of touch with what current offerings are capable of. Does this sound like a feasible idea, or would we be better to look at something else?

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I've done similar in the past but created motion graphics of beams which were then triggered along with the real rig.


I've also used a huge projection of a visualiser along with real kit to teach RnR busking. When it comes to that, depending on the computer specs obviously, there can be noticeable lag in bumps on a low spec machine but this gets better with either a less intensive vis or a faster computer.


The main thing is the design needs to balance the projector output to a load of real lights blazing away, otherwise the effect starts to get lost. And obviously keep light off the screen. I've done this on pieces of set and not just dedicated screens (way before projection mapping was fashionable ha).


It's a good way to get more beams with a small rig. The choice is either to use the vis live, or make the content and nail things down a little more.


With MagicVis and MagicHD for free, Cham Sys would be a great way to try all this.

Edited by indyld
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There's also a demo version of Capture which is free to try - I don't know what MagicVis is like but capture is pretty realistic with a reasonable spec computer including showing gobo/colour wheels rotating into position etc. As with all renders it does slow down as the resolution goes up so you'd probably not want to use the full resolution of the cinema projector.


Capture demo has full features but you can't save and it only runs for an hour (I think).

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