With its exquisitely light and airy Neo-Renaissance forms, the Nicolò Bruno-designed Politeama Rossetti theatre affords excellent views from each of its 1,531 seats. Regardless of where visitors find themselves in the historic venue, however, they can only see the stage from one angle at a time.
No such limitation exists for livestream viewers, though, and that, believes Crt Birsa, changes the fundamental trajectory of a lighting design. “The live audience has just one point of view,” he explained. “But in a livestream each camera is a new point of view that has to look good. The viewer sees things from all angles, so your design has to present a very consistent image from one end to the other.”
Birsa provided a breathtaking example of this principle in December when lighting a one-hour livestream at Politeama Rossetti for the Trieste-based guitar quartet 40 Fingers. Covering the stage with a seamless and tightly woven pattern of gobos and beams, his 15-universe, 110-fixture show enveloped the four artists in an all-embracing panorama that reflected their lively performance.
Powering his preprogrammed show was a ChamSys MagicQ MQ80 console and PC Wing. “The show was designed in WYSWIG and run on my MQ80 with the Wing for backup,” said Birsa. “I have been using ChamSys for 10 years, ever since a retailer in Slovenia convinced me that the company’s consoles would do all that I want faster and more logically than an alternative. His advice was certainly true.
“The MagicQ MQ80 was a big help in this show,” continued Birsa. “It is powerful with enough universe support for a show of this size. (It’s capable of handling 48 DMX universes.) Plus, it’s fast to program, and fast in editing cues. By simplifying things, my MQ80 frees up my creative side.”Birsa’s creativity was on full display during the 40 Fingers livestream. Pulling out all the stops, he served up an explosive array of bold immersive looks, showering the quartet with flood of split beam and gobo patterns one moment, then directing a quasar-like torrent of intense rays out to the empty theatre seats the next.
“Because there was no audience, and the show was made just for the camera, I could do a lot of looks that I would normally stay away from out of fear of blinding people in the seats,” said Birsa. “This opens up a lot of creative possibilities and the chance to push things in bolder directions. I am fortunate that Vigna PR believed my crazy ideas and helped bring them to life for this show and that the Event Lighting crew did such a great job setting up the rig.”
By creating sweeping looks, Birsa ensured that his design would present a smoothly flowing image to viewers from every camera angle. “Being aware of all the cameras, we wanted to cover all the main backgrounds with light,” he said. “Of course, we also used the very nice ambience of the venue itself as often as possible.
In addition to creating his big picture vistas, Birsa ensured that each song had its own look.
“This was still a concert and light must support the music,” he said. “I think that in a livestream setting, because there is no audience, concerts are becoming more and more visual. The looks we create can be stronger, as long as we don’t lose sight of the music.”
Supporting the performance on stage, must always be at the heart of any show, affirms Birsa. But for now, while working livestreams, he is free to push his designs in directions that are bolder and more comprehensive than ever.
Photo Credit: Simone Di Luca.