Monday, March 19, 2007

 

Virtual and Live Actors on Stage Together

In a theatrical first, actors working in real time from remote locations recently were beamed onto a stage where they performed with live, in the flesh actors for an audience that experienced one seamless, three-dimensional show, according to the University of Central Florida.
The technology could mean future theatergoers might attend plays where one or more actors are working outside the venue, even in a different country or from their own homes.
We are not talking about holograms yet or the kind of imagery that requires funky glasses, UCF professor John Shafer, a member of the cast, told Discovery News. (But) what we have done for this production has indeed pushed the envelope significantly. The production is a small historical step forward on several levels.
This past weekend, Shafer was hooked to a receiving and transmitting broadband-connected computer that can pull as much as 130 megabytes of data in an instant. Although he performed in Florida, his body was "beamed" onto a stage at Bradley University in Illinois, where he performed "with" live actors there, as well as with actors beamed in from the University of Waterloo in Canada.
Both 3-D and 2-D sets consisting of multiple screens and special effects lighting helped to give the impression that all of the actors, remote or not, existed in a single space. To further link the performances, the actual live actors were also sometimes featured on screens. At one point, a virtual actor even appeared to hand a live actor a cigarette
(from Discovery Channel News).

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