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In May 2010 the State Theatre asked us to develop backdrop projections for “Snow Queen”. This stage play is the flagship of the big house. 55 000 visitors yearly see that Christmas staging.

12 projections in size of a cinema screen arose over 9 months. The backdrops on stage have been picked up and spatially widened by digital paintings.

On this screen we break the limited room of the stage… and open the view to wide landscapes…
 
 
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One of the main dangers is when the painting doesn’t get integrated into the scenery and the spectator then senses it solely as wallpaper at the end of the stage…

We bypassed this problem with a visual trick: The foreground of the paintings mostly remained in the shadow. Only in the background a light appears to lighten the scenery.
Thereby the visual access to the picture is easier for the spectator. He gets deeply involved into the painting, to the brightest light. The spectator looks to a far-off point which seems to be far behind the canvas screen…

 
 
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The theatre has got a surprise for us, which we don’t expect. At the cinema, all the spectators sit in front of a big screen. Every single one has the whole size of the screen in front of him. At the theatre, it’s not like that.

The stage is three-dimensional. Some stage designs partially obstruct your view. Depending on the seat place, the perceived field of view of the spectator changes dramatically. For example, the spectators in the upper lodge places have a very strong top-view over the stage – but for them, the screen quickly disappears behind the curtains...

Although we have to fill a huge projection screen with a gigantic landscape, the area which all the spectators perceive at the same time, is vanishingly small…  
The designing of the paintings at the theatre proceeds according to completely different rules… The motifs are constructed very centrally.

 
 
 
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During our daily job we have to make sure meticulously that the pictures look real – at the theatre we are confronted with the opposite of that: too strong realism would cause a separation between the stage backdrop and the projection.

Therefore we constructed the motifs as an extension of the stage design…From plain to plain. As a carton-theatre of our own childhood… We reinforced the silhouette-character in order to strongly express the impression of a proper theatre-backdrop.

The basic picture material consisted of over 3000 photos taken of the Yellow Mountains in China during a 2-weeks-shooting at the end of 2007… The mountains had something fabulous.

 
 
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The chessboard-grid gives us an idea of which parts of the painting will later be visible for the spectators…
 
 
 
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The projectors have a power of 4000 watts each. This strong light performance makes it possible to floodlight the stage with the painting - even though the actors are in full illumination. The testing foils may be laid only a few minutes in the projector frame before they start to burn… The final pictures were produced on special heat-resistant foils. Nevertheless, also these motifs will have to be changed ten times in fifty shows…
 
 
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The paintings are constructed modularly. We don’t replace the whole picture but only small parts of it. Thereby the spectator doesn’t experience any hard break but he gets sucked into the landscape. It is, as if the standing projection gave us the possibility to show a movement, a journey…
 
 
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During the production, the pictures of „Snow Queen“ required in average 8 to10 days per motif to completion... When we are asked whether all these small details will be noticed by the spectators at all, we always say: "No - of course not, but they would notice if they were not there ..."
 
 
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