To meet the rising audience demands for production design and dynamic storytelling in live theatre, the Roxy Theatre went in search of projection technology that would check their “must have” boxes. They needed equipment that was cost-effective, while still achieving high quality image and colour brightness, and the ease and flexibility of installation to accommodate everchanging production requirements within the space.
The Roxy Theatre faces artistic challenges as audience expectations change, and in turn, drives new demands for visual equipment that will enhance the quality of production and
storytelling. Production design in a small live theatre presents distinct considerations for projection; the size, weight, sound and cost of the equipment are all critical decision-making factors.
The Roxy Theatre Company turned to Panasonic dealer, AVI-SPL, for consultation on the right projection needed for their upcoming live productions. Ultimately, the theatre made the decision to purchase and install two Panasonic PTRZ660BU 6000-Lumen laser projectors a solution that checked each of their “must have” boxes.
The projectors’ laser technology and 6,000 lumens of brightness provided the best quality for their artistic vision, and fulfilled their expectations for durability, installation flexibility and price point. Additionally, the theatre’s projection design has garnered significant audience and critical acclaim.
A Standing Ovation for Projection Design
Meeting audience expectations for production design has emerged as a distinct challenge for live theatre production companies; The Roxy Theatre Company in Edmonton, Alberta have felt the demand for technology that enhances production value firsthand. Artistic & Executive Director Bradley Moss, and Production Manager Scott Peters say projection technology has become a remarkable ally to storytelling on stage. “Projection design has become a common expectation of our professional craft,” says Bradley. “Our productions rely on projection for more than just background design. The equipment becomes an integral part of the style of the play itself.”
However, a live theatre setting comes with a unique set of challenges for projection technology. Bradley and Scott cite cost, size, weight and quiet operation as four critical decision-making factors. In small venues (The Roxy Theatre seats 150), the units need to be virtually silent so as not to interfere with the performance. The projectors also needed to work in tandem with QLab® software that controls the theatre’s sophisticated – and often complex – audio, visual and lighting components.
Bradley and Scott turned to Panasonic dealer AVI-SPL and were immediately impressed with how Adrian Bullock took interest in their distinct production design needs and advised them on the right technology for their budget. Further, they reference the exceptional service, saying, “The deal was made in large part due to the service representatives that were actually interested in what we were trying to do artistically, and helped us get the most out of our projectors.”
What sets a theatre setting apart from other live event venues, are the variety of uses (and therefore, requirements) for projection technology. The Roxy Theatre needed to find the best projectors to use as sources of light on stage, backlighting for puppetry, and for scenes where the production required special backlighting for cut out images. For Roxy Theatre, the right solution was the installation of two PTRZ660BU 6000-Lumen laser projectors. These highperformance laser projectors featured superior image colour and brightness, quiet operation, easy and tractable installation options and reliable longevity. Designed to be totally flexible, these projectors are installed on a free 360-degree axis and feature a wide range of interchangeable lenses that stream crisp projections without image distortion in temporary or permanent applications. Its 6000 lumens of brightness and 10,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio are specially designed to overcome light in even the most unique of settings and provide exceptional detail in dark areas in any image. This gave the theatre an adaptable technology solution without compromising image quality in a unique stage setting.
This solution also featured a built-in digital link connection that effectively simplified installation, reduced cumbersome cabling, and associated costs. A major decision-making factor was also the promise of a zero-maintenance laser solution; choosing Panasonic projectors ensures that the theatre can rely on their technology to set the stage for incredible visual performances, every time the curtain rises.
Perhaps the most prominent use of Panasonic’s laser technology projection units was seen in the Roxy Theatre’s World Premiere of the production Irma Voth. Projection was used for visually stunning shadow play and for displaying a short film in the final scenes of the play. The reception was glowing from audiences and critics alike. Roxy Theatre Media Production Designer Ian Jackson has won back-to-back Sterling Awards for his projection design work on Irma Voth and Infinity this season.