Technology Takes The Stage

Technology of Events Entertainment.

We have come a long way in digital technology with developers and engineers enriching the world every day with algorithms and software that keeps propelling us further into the world of digital art and imagination from one side to hardware and gadgets that translate this advancement into what can be sensational and interactive for our minds and our consciousness to enjoy.

In this article we will be exploring the technology that has brought us to this new age of virtual entertainment and made almost everything possible, from bringing back legends to perform for thousands in arenas to making buildings move and shapeshift while still standing tall in the biggest cities of the world.

Prior to this digital era entertainment depended more on human acts, performances that involved high skilled acrobats or performers that trained for years and developed concepts exclusively related to the types of shows they deliver or the props they use. Musicians and dancers were the biggest performers and magicians, athletes, stand up comedians, stunt performers and acrobats were occupying the second tier leaving the third step of the ladder for circus shows, parades and street performers. After technology developments were infused into the world of events entertainment this hierarchy was replaced by a more agile format where a simple juggling act that is loaded with led lights and animations of huge digital screens can be as big as any other performance and also introduced new shows that require artists and developers from behind the screens which became the massive acts that the industry can provide.

In today’s world of entertainment technology is involved in several acts and in different ways and through versatile tools. The technology used today in the events industry includes:

LED technology (illuminated performance art/ Glow Poi)

Light Emitting Diodes, an invention that was introduced to the world in 1907, 1927, 1961 and 1962 where it was first produced but for limited use and for specific devices as they were extremely costly and basically used to emit infrared signals. But it wasn’t until lately in the year 2008 where LED light became mainstream and used in houses an in screens, this development gave a lot of artists and developers and manufactures great creative ideas exploiting the fact that LEDs are bright, can be manipulated in so many patterns were they can go on and off for hours without burning out like the regular bulba that were used before and can be shaped and stacked in so many forms, this paved the way for what we now today as LED Poi or Glow Poi performances that we consider now as mind blowing as there are no limits for creativity and usage of such technology alongside laser beams and other effects. Shows based on LED have won talents shows and got millions of hits on the popular video-on-demand Youtube platform where many artists integrate the fresh colorful lights into their acts; dancers, jugglers, circus performers, acrobats and so many others gave their acts a new flavor of futurism and made their acts astoundingly more interesting and interactive and for sure impressed more people and grew a bigger audience.

Multimedia Screens (Video Walls):

The advancements of the swiftly color changing LED did not stop with light, thanks to several manufacturers and developers; the likes of Hawlette Packard, Samsung, LG Electronics and more; LED moved from lights to screens, the bright diodes now power the glass panels that we spend most of our time looking at with several technologies including LED, OLED, MicroLED, QLED and so on where each is developed by a manufacturer and with every breakthrough the competition get more and more ferocious where the scenes get bigger, wider, brighter and more vivid as the resolutions kept growing from SD to HD to 2K to 4K and the 8K. These developments impacted every aspect where screens are needed and introduced screens to fields that have never considered using screens, this led to the introduction of the "Video Wall” which is where several big screens come up together to create a super big screen that can vary in height or length to cover a whole stage or even an arena, you have probably seen one of those on the news behind some analyst or in a sports show, and just like they were utilized in tv for animation and infographics, 3D artists and performers took the use of such screens to a further level, a level where animation and performers come together to perform simultaneously as the performers trigger animations and effects that go beyond and physical borders creating a whole world of illusion that can take the breath of the audience away and leave them sighing in awe.

Holograms (Mixed Reality):

The development in LED screens that created space for higher display resolutions paved the way for more powerful computers and rendering engines to exist and elevated the whole CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) and VFX (Visual Effects) scene, allowing artists to go above and beyond when developing computer generated scenes for movies and constructing interactive 3d models for TV broadcasting and smart devices and handsets which in turn allowed for the development of a new way of display that takes this LED technology, the most developed of it, and display it on a very new medium that combines both physical reality and CGI in the same place opening an endless stream of possibilities that allowed all time late greats for example to perform on the stage once again in live shows with live bands and other alive performers and superstars, the likes of Maria Callas, Whitney Huston, Roy Orbison, Umm Kulthum and Tupac Shakur, in a nostalgic throwback that created a huge buzz in the media and the world of business technology and amazed millions of people that were lucky enough to watch it live and those who had to stream it later on on their devices through various video outlets. This technology is called Mixed reality and through such technology you can mix two realities, a computer generated one with the help of CGI and VFX artists and the real physical world where your audience is seated and waiting to be amazed.

Virtual Reality (VR):

The rise of advanced CGI and VFX does not stop at animating a certain character to integrate it in a live show or simple 3d elements for the audience to interact with regardless of how mind blowing that could be, but furthermore it has lead to the creation of totally imaginative virtual words that the audience can experience through a lensing technology put inside a headset that is called a VR headset which enables a certain user to get totally immersed into a fully imagined world and interact with it, a world that you can totally design and shape based on your vision and objectives, and you very own personified events. This world can be anything as long as it is consistent and has elements to it that an explorer can interact with it. In 2020, and as the world was suffering an outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, VR helped in hosting 28 completely virtual events where the audience had the chance to interact with each other and with totally imagined worlds that they were transferred to through the help of VR headsets and he power of the internet.

Light Painting (Light Art Performance):

As screens and light developed they didn’t leave out their all-time friends, the cameras; and when all these friends are put together in one show they create wonders, from slow shutter speed to grasp a relatively long shot to a low aperture to let more light into the camera sensor to low ISO so the sensor is sensitive to a single light source glowing in the moving hand of the artist as he paints in time  while everything is displayed on a high definition video wall. The results are mesmerizing as artists letter and draw patterns and artistic strokes that seem to be coming from the future.

3D Projection Mapping:

Projection has always been the typical, a projector reflecting an image on a flat surface with pale light and distorted proportions, but today, and thanks to the massive projectors and again the advancements in LED and CGI and VFX projection has been redefined and even has new brand name because to day those massive projectors and with the help of specialized computer software can project on any irregular surfaces of industrial objects mimicking them in reality and bringing them to life as their remodeled image that is projected over their real existence can be animated and moved, not just that but other elements and colors can be added also and animated as well to create scenic illusions that have proven they can amaze everyone.

Drone Display:

After All these advancement that we have mentioned previously, LED have become an element of almost every tech-based event entertainment display, from lights to screens to mixed reality, to projectors and camera sensors, and it continues to be an element of every existing technological show and every technological advancement when utilized as an element of display or entertainment, and recently LED has joined forces with the unmanned quadcopters that can fly in sync to paint the dark canvas of the night sky with vivid wonderful imagery that is so amusing. Drones have become a very practical tool of our everyday lives, from delivery, to photography, to saving lives through carrying medical supplies and kits, and as they became very involved in our daily routines they also became very involved in display and entertainment as they can turn the sky of any event into an illustration pad where thousands of images and meanings can be constructed and conveyed as hundreds and thousands of drones take they sky in sync carrying with them the almighty versatile LED.