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Projection in Live Theatre

By: Joseph Sanford


Creating a projection for live theatre is quite a challenging process. The reason being a number of different factors that come with it. Recently, at the NWU theatre, I learned this as the projection engineer for the production Curious Incident of a Dog in the Nighttime. One of the biggest lessons that I learned from this show was the more projectors, the more challenging it becomes to make it work. For this production, we used four projectors. Three behind the stage with three screens hanging in front of them and one projector hanging from the ceiling projecting onto the floor of the stage. Each projector was connected to one computer on the opposite side of the room. Most of them had to run over 75 feet of cable, which we did by using what is called an HDMI extender. You plug an HDMI cable into the computer, the other end of the cable in one end of the extender, and an ethernet cable into the other end of the extender. There is another box just like the extender on the other side of the ethernet cable that you plug an HDMI cable into which then plugs into the projector. This is also the signal for the computer to reach all the way to the projector. The next challenge was finding a computer and software that could control four images at once. For Curious, we used a program called Isadora. Isadora is used for processing projections, other images, and sounds for live theatre. If you can find a computer, that has the processing power for four separate displays and the Isadora software, it can create an incredible spectacle to a theatre production.


Here are some images below.