We asked The Electric Canvas, who
specialise in large-scale projections, about their creative process and how
they create the illuminations.
1. How do you create the illuminations?
The starting point
is always the building itself, as it’s the architecture that informs our
technical solution and it also inspires the creative illumination we design. Our
team surveys each building to develop a 3D model or a series of architectural
templates for the building, the backbone onto which the creative illumination is
everything from static illuminations through to shows that resemble mini
animated features with 3D characters. We also compose and produce custom
soundtracks or soundscapes for our work.
During the content
production phase of a project, our logistics team takes care of constructing
site infrastructure, allocating our technical crew, organising freight and
travel requirements, preparing site schedules, as well as ensuring that health
and safety of our team – there’s a lot that goes into each illumination.
After weeks, if not
months, of lots of hard work and planning, the big moment finally arrives and
it’s finally “lights on”!
2. What’s your favourite new technological advance in architectural projections?
looking out for new advancements in technology, both in terms of equipment and
creative tools, so we can continually improve the public experience.
we’ve been exploring more and more of lately is interactive projections.
Interactivity can provide a fantastic experience for participants – we really
love our photo booth installation on the National Portrait Gallery, where
visitors can snap their portrait and see it hung on the wall of this iconic
gallery. How many people can say there selfie has been featured on the
National Portrait Gallery?!
3. What’s your favourite design from past Enlighten Festivals?
We’ve created and
adapted many, many artworks over the years for Enlighten Festival – probably too
many to remember all of them. We turned the National Library of Australia into
a giant bookcase one year and it really looked stunning.
Our artists always
have a lot of fun creating the “Behind The Lines” political satire treatment
onto Old Parliament House each year. A favourite from Questacon was the
creation of a crazy Rube Goldberg machine onto the building.
One year onto the
National Portrait Gallery we recreated a treatment featuring famous portraits,
but the humans were cheekily replaced by rabbits. And then, there are
favourites that The Electric Canvas didn’t create, like the candle treatment
that Ken Done designed last year for Australian Parliament House’s 30th
4. What’s the most impressive building you’ve projected onto in Canberra?
All of the
buildings are impressive in their own right. It’s truly an honour to project
onto Australian Parliament House, however we need to treat the visual content
carefully due to its numerous columns and abundant amount of negative space.
House’s sheer size of and architectural intricacies provide challenges with
scale and proportion. The brutalist architecture of the National Gallery of
Australia contains dozens of complex angles and corners that the images need to
be seamlessly wrapped around.
For Questacon we
cover two façades that meet together at a right angle, so we can use that
geometry to create some great transformative content. The low-lying form of the
National Portrait Gallery creates a new set of challenges, but we’re really
pleased that the interactive projections have been such a hit with the public
and are excited to take visitors on a new experience this year too.