In this post, Scott Montgomery describes the consultation and design process behind a new video projection system for a local theater’s production of Mary Poppins.
Often times we only think of video projection as a movie or TV content viewing device. The world of video projection is an ever growing medium expanding to a wide range of use and applications such as retail display, commercial video walls, product display, video mapping, live performance, art installation and much more. Recently TYM was approached to help with a unique project that required very specific video projection requirements.
A Modern Approach to a Beloved Tale
CenterPoint Legacy Theatre in Centerville Utah, is a beautiful performing arts center located just north of the Salt Lake area. CenterPoint approached TYM about building out a video projection system for them that would fit the unique needs of their upcoming production of Disney and Cameron Mackinstosh’s Mary Poppins, capable of video mapping.
Additionally they wanted a projection system that would serve them for years to come with other theatrical and entertainment productions, bringing them into the 21st century with available video technology.
As in many theatrical productions, Mary Poppins requires quick change of locations throughout the show as well and hefty technical elements. Often times in the magical world of Mary Poppins the stage must change from roof top to street, winter to the bright wonderful spring of Jolly Holiday, or the dreary streets of London, all in the same scene or song.
CenterPoint wanted to be able transition quickly and seamlessly through these changes without major scenery piece changes throughout the show. They also wanted to enhance the flying sensation of Mary above the rooftops. Video Projection seemed the most logical choice to achieve these varied and desired results. Projection would allow them to create, almost instantly an entirely new world, atmosphere, and even emotion on stage.
Their set design incorporated a curved projection surface that was 44 feet wide and at times 12 feet high. This created another challenge. Rear projection would be optimum rather than front to avoid image loss from theatrical lighting and avoid projecting on actors. However, the projection distance is only about 14’ from the rear wall of the stage to the projection surface.
When choosing projectors for this project we had to consider ambient light from stage lighting and throw distance. They also needed overhead projection. We recommended that they use the RoseBrand Grey IFR rear projection material as it would reject ambient light, blend into scenery, and could be ordered by the yard.
We also needed to find a projector with enough lumens to counter ambient light and project on varied surfaces. The projector also had to be flexible with installation positioning. Considering future use as well, we needed something that could also be installed in the back of the auditorium and still be strong enough to project on the stage. Budget was also a constraint.
“After reviewing various options with the client we selected 4 Epson Pro G7905 projectors from the Epson Large Venue commercial series.”
A Spoonful of 4K
After reviewing various options with the client we selected 4 Epson Pro G7905 projectors from the Epson Large Venue commercial series. The Pro G7905 includes 7000 lumens, 4K Enhancement, and 3 LCD chip technology. This projector also has full 360 degree installation flexibility allowing for greater application meaning it can be mounted any number of ways and doesn’t have to sit flat.
We opted for 4K Enhancement to help counter potential contrast and color loss that can be common with higher lumen projectors. The Pro G7905 also features advanced edge blending for seamless panoramic, multi screen edge blending on horizontal or vertical walls and has curved surface and corner wall support making it ideal for use with scenic and unique installations. It also features interchangeable lenses, which again provide additional flexibility. In total the install included four Pro G7905 projectors with 4 standard lenses, 4 short throw lenses, and 2 long throw lenses.
Epson became the standout choice for this project because of is reputation for being a robust work horse projector, its amazing color and brightness, and it met their budget. Epson provided the most bang for the buck and the end result is really quite stunning. As you can see from the production photos it’s quite magical, and practically perfect for Mary Poppins.
…And somehow through all the work on this project I got roped into taking the role of Mr. Banks. I thought this was just a consulting gig not a preforming one as well.
Project Equipment list
Rose Brand Rear Projection Screen by the Yard – Grey IFR
Epson Powerlite Pro G7905U 3LCD with 4K enhancement – including standard Lens
Epson Short Throw Lens
Epson Long Throw Zoom Lens
Scott is co-founder and VP of Marketing at TYM. His early career began as an Executive TV Producer. He’s produced and directed live events, theater, TV and Media campaigns.
Scott is a marketing consultant in the Smart Home space and creates international marketing campaigns and Media content for industry partners. He is an avid skier and snowboarder, foodie at heart, and loves traveling.