An approach to using digital technology in scenic design for low budget performance
AuthorBowland, Simon John Edman
AffiliationVictorian College of the Arts
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2019 Simon John Edman Bowland
This practice-based research is an exploration of current, accessible, digital technology and the impact it is having on visual-based scenic design for live performance. This is examined through my freelance art and design practice, which includes areas such as, props, sculpture, set design/construction and model making. This project considers visual-based digital technology in the process of creating scenic design solutions for low budget performance productions of less than $20,000.00 in total production costs (excluding personnel costs), taking typical profit share productions as the template. It focuses on accessible projection hardware and interactive visual software. Drawing from a range of digital based theorists and performance practitioners, I review the current use of digital technology in providing visual scenic design solutions for performance. This includes examples of recent productions that use visual based digital solutions in performance. Cost effective, accessible options inspired by these examples are then investigated through my practice and discussed here. The staging of an exemplar low budget performance ‘Absolute Uncertainty’ (less than $12000 allocated costs, including in kind support and donations) is documented in the accompanying video files. This includes unedited video of a dress rehearsal (titled: Absolute Uncertainty 480p.m4v), and video samples of three rehearsals, two at the start of the rehearsal process (May 2017) and one toward the end of the rehearsal process (August 2017). These followed three months of preproduction and experimentation. The final outcome of this project is the development of an adaptable, lightweight, easily configurable projection system that may be used as the core element in scenic design for low budget performance productions. The processes involved in this are discussed and evaluated through the staging and presentation of Absolute Uncertainty, and two other performances I worked on prior to ‘Absolute Uncertainty’, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Latecomers, where I developed and experimented with concepts. The focus of this discussion is on the usefulness of digital projection in different environments, digital projection and other visual technologies ability to effectively create a performance environment and the quick adaptability of these technologies in the development and staging, including blocking for low budget production.
KeywordsTheatre; Digital projection; Low-budget; Scenic design
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