Franco Dragone: Splendor

A saga spanning three millennia. Honored by a spectacular immersive experience.

In Splendor, Franco Dragone incarnates the 2500-year-old tale of warrior hero and great beauty Xi Shi in the very city where she is said to have lived. The show transports today’s audience to another time, another world, while making clear that this place is their place, that this story is their enduring heritage to treasure.

Our array of 11 Photon servers controlled a dozen Panasonic laser 20K-lumen projectors plus a ring of LED screens comprising 50 million pixels, transforming the minimalist theatre into a series of otherworldly locations.

To truly immerse the audience in the world of Xi Shi, the high-resolution graphics needed to interact seamlessly with the few physical elements: stage, floor, and a central, rotating lift. Every camera, projector, and screen had to be impeccably coordinated and calibrated.

Photon’s new Multi-view Calibration workflow made it not only possible, but blazingly fast to set up 3D stage positioning and tracking. Photon combined visual input and infrared signals from a dozen in-stage Copernics (our proprietary IR optical markers), six underwater Copernics, and a handful of calibration poles, generating a detailed, ready-to-use 3D picture of the vast space in under ten minutes with about half the equipment a single-view system would have required.

Multi-view operates using new algorithms we developed in the VYV Lab to enable this rapid calibration for multi-projector projects. Wide-angle cameras read black and white projections, convert the input into pixels, and render it into a 3D map of the space. The secret ingredient is calibration priors – information about cameras and projectors such as lens shift, field of view, and throw ratio – that feed the algorithm and make mapping large areas like stadiums and arenas a breeze. And once the equipment specs are in the system you can reuse them again and again, saving time every time.

After the lightning-fast calibration, the iterative creation process flowed smoothly too. Thanks to Photon’s NDI connectivity and color correction modules, Splendor’s creative team, including long-time collaborators Drop the Spoon, were able to see their designs instantaneously leap off their computer screens and onto the actual set – and our programmers could integrate immediate adjustments directly in the software to further accelerate development.

Less time fiddling with tech means more time to create. That’s an absolute must for a multidisciplinary show like Splendor. “And that’s what drives us,” explains VYV Project Manager Gabrielle Martineau.“Our job is to accompany and support the artists.”

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  • Creative Director:

    Damien Long

  • Show Director:

    Amy Tinkham

  • Associate Show Director:

    Chris Childers

  • Set Designer:

    Bian Wentong

  • Kinetic Set Designer:

    Patrick Larsen

  • Costume Designer:

    Yang Donglin

  • Casting Director:

    Cecilia Arnaud Rachner

  • Choreographers:

    Anthony Lee & Yabin Wang

  • Human Performance Designer:

    John Brady

  • Movement Director:

    Phenix Lin

  • Martial Arts Choreographer & Supervisor:

    Jaden He

  • Aerial Choreographer:

    Johanna Sapakie

  • Sound Designer:

    Sebastian Hammond

  • Composer:

    Michael Brennan

  • Video Content Designer:

    Patrick Neys (Drop the Spoon)

  • Lighting Designer:

    Olivier legrendre

  • Opening:

    December 22th, 2019

  • Where:

    Wuxi, China