Theatre Production students at Bath Spa University were recently treated to a demonstration of how a new technology can be harnessed for use in theatre, when they had a visit from Preevue to show how their virtual reality system can be used.
And they even got to view and walk around the set of their next production using the Preevue kit. This also included walking around the split levels of the set. Particularly impressive considering it was done using a standard show drawing file from one of the students that was imported and set up on the day, as part of the demonstration.
One of the lecturers said:
“A lot of my third year students have already chosen to follow virtual reality topics for their dissertations so this was a subject they are already engaged with. Interestingly, to them this is just normal. It’s not surprising new technology, just useful”
And there was me thinking it was all whizzy and being impressed. I think I’m showing my age. But then I do remember when knowing how to use Basic to program your BBC computer to sing Happy Birthday was something to feel chuffed about…
A word from Ryan Metcalfe, Founder and Managing Director of Preevue:
“At Preevue we’ve developed VR visualisation technology that allows creative and production teams to work in virtual environments that have exact replicas of a production’s set design and the venue in which it’s opening. Using VR headsets, the producer can be checking sight lines and setting ticket prices, the set designer can iterate their design without needing to build physical mock-ups, directors can work on blocking on a stage design that won’t exist for months or years, and so much more. It’s incredible how something that I initially created as a tool for set designers has found a use for nearly everybody involved in the production process. Some of the biggest shows on Broadway and in the West End are setting ticket prices years in advance of the get-in through using our technology, with the confidence that what they see in a headset will be exactly what’s there in theatre.”
This sort of technology also has scope to give greater flexibility over working times and locations as discussed in previous articles Accessibility and Location, and could potentially help with some of the issues raised in So, what are better working conditions then?
Ryan shares his experience of this:
“It’s also a great collaboration tool as it’s possible to network multiple VR systems together from around the world – if you’ve got an internet connection and a Preevue system, you’re able to jump into a production meeting in the actual venue but virtually from wherever you are. With some of the largest commercial theatre happening on either side of the pond, cutting out the need for quite so many flights for recces and meetings by instead viewing a laser scan inside a VR headset is an amazing tool for the team, saving money and more importantly time.”
Who knows, it might even save Yer Man from having to repeat himself quite so often!
Well I think it sounds pretty cool. What do you think? Can you see how you could use this technology? Have you already used anything like this?
If you have something you’d like to say, we’d love to hear from you!
Either comment below, or email us at our Desk [at] Voices Off etc.
Image based on work by Nicholas Erwin on Flickr