The Capitole de Toulouse National Opera hosted Mefistofele, video was central to the staging of this opera, with a projection on a conch shell installed on the Théâtre du Capitole stage. The Capitole de Toulouse teams called on various Modulo Pi solutions, including its projection study tools and video-projector auto-calibration module.
With a base width of 15.75m, a top width of 8.70m and a height of over 9m, the imposing quarter sphere occupied the entire stage space of the Théâtre du Capitole, serving as a backdrop for the artists on stage. While such a set offered immersion in the heart of the work throughout the 3-hour opera, the AV production team faced several challenges with its installation and calibration.
Pierre-Emmanuel Triffault, Head of Audiovisual at the Capitole de Toulouse Opera, explained: “The main challenge came from the shape of this projection surface. How can we get sufficient light power to evenly cover such curved surface, and how can we position the projectors knowing that there are singers on stage and the projectors must not be too noisy, nor project onto the singers’ faces?”
On the advice of Renaud Gindre, video consultant on the project, the Capitole de Toulouse Opera’s AV team turned to various solutions developed by the Modulo Pi company, Triffault explained: “Thanks to Modulo Kinetic’s simulation tools, we saw that we could free ourselves from many constraints. What started out as very complicated would ultimately become simple.”
“By importing a point cloud of the theatre into Modulo Kinetic and simulating our projectors, we realized that we could finally place our 4 VPs aligned on the truss, at the highest part of the set, and that the auto-calibration tool would then do the warp that we technicians were not capable of doing” commented Triffault.
The projection study led to the selection of four Epson EB-PU2216B projectors with a power of 16,000 lumens, to produce an image of 3144 by 1200 pixels.
The other challenge was to project a uniform image onto the quarter sphere and its curved surface. To avoid time-consuming manual calibration and obtain a homogenous image with no hot spots, Modulo Pi’s multi-projectors auto-calibration solution was used with the Modulo Player media server which the Opera has been equipped with since 2017.
Thanks to the auto-calibration module available as an option in the media server, the overlap areas and warping work were automatically calculated by Modulo Player in just a few minutes. This enabled the projection system to be set up and adjusted in time.
“We have to deal with very tight set-up times involving different trades. When it comes to phasing in opera, the machinery and set teams are involved first, and then lighting, and video comes last. Thanks to the projection study carried out beforehand, the projectors were installed in one afternoon. The auto-calibration tool enabled us to adjust the mapping in 4 minutes, rather than spending a whole day on it” noted Triffault.
During rehearsals, the video creation work could be tested and evolved live thanks to an NDI stream received by Modulo Player, Alexis Gérard, Production Manager for the show, comments: “The NDI previewing from After Effects is an argument that struck a chord with the videographer. I was given over 30 different versions of the same video. If we had to export them all, it would have taken forever.”