April 17, 2020
3 min read
The Industry, an independent, artist-driven company, was tasked with creating an experiential, immersive production that would expand the definition of opera. To create a production that fuses visual artistry and musical ingenuity, The Industry created Sweet Land, an opera which serves as an experiential procession through the Los Angeles State Historic Park. Given the opera’s unconventional outdoors environment, The Industry needed a reliable partner who could deliver technology to transform the LA State Historic Park, blending the real world with stunning visuals with a variety of projection effects across multiple backdrops including scrims, landscapes, cityscapes and even walls of mist.
The Industry collaborated with Panasonic to provide the necessary projection mapping technology to develop an entirely immersive opera experience that presented both audio and visual elements – a non-traditional approach when compared to typical opera performances. Together, Panasonic and The Industry created Sweet Land by deploying 11 of Panasonic's projectors – one PT-RZ21K Series 3-Chip DLP® SOLID SHINE Laser Projector, six PT-RZ12K 3-Chip DLP® Series Projectors and four PT-RZ770U 1-Chip DLP® Fixed Installation Laser Projectors – and utilizing projection mapping techniques, pairing visual elements with musical components throughout the LA State Historic Park.
By deploying Panasonic’s laser projection and lens technology throughout the LA State Historic Park, guests progressed through a one-of-a-kind opera experience. Sweet Land, which ran during March 2020, told the narrative of American identity with diverging perspectives, through a series of displays and musical elements.
Performing on an Unlikely Terrain
The Industry is an artistic company focused on pushing the limits of productions and taking creative approaches that expand the traditional views of the opera. Founded by Artistic Director Yuval Sharon, The Industry reinvented the opera in 2012 with the Los Angeles debut of CRESCENT CITY, which according to Out West Arts, changed “the face of music-theater in this town overnight.” Nearly a decade later, the creative group is continuing to showcase its artistic abilities. Taking on one of its largest creative projects to date, Sweet Land challenged The Industry and Panasonic to create an immersive outdoor opera experience outdoors, rather than in a traditional opera house.
“We were dealing with unconventional surfaces, different textures and a space that’s significantly larger than a typical opera house, and therefore our decisions on the technology used and where each projector was installed was a strategic one,” said Hana Sooyeon Kim, a LA based projection and set designer who helped create and launch Sweet Land. “As this opera was outdoors, it was critical the projectors accommodated our unique environmental requirements, while being durable and could last for extensive periods of time while outdoors and on uneven terrain.”
A New Definition of “Opera”
Panasonic's projectors were essential to help redefine the opera experience. Beginning as a procession through the LA State Historic Park, the opera separates the audience onto diverging tracks to experience different perspectives of history. Spanning across 32 acres of open space, Sweet Land audiences were welcomed to walk pathways and take in the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Los Angeles, while witnessing an immersive musical display. Guests experienced projection mapping and music working together to showcase artistic elements projected onto various pieces of the park, including a bridge, billboard and even a water display.
“The way projection mapping enables guests to walk through a story, while simultaneously listening to opera music is what makes Sweet Land so unique,” said Hana. “One of the most popular exhibits was the water display, where visuals were projected onto the water’s mist. Due to the layers of the mist, and Panasonic’s ability to execute on such a unique surface, the audience was captivated, and thought the image was a 3D hologram, rather than projection mapping.”
Due to the compact size, flexibility and durability of Panasonic’s projectors, along with their filter-less design and virtually maintenance-free features, the projectors not only performed well in this environment, but Hana, along with the team at The Industry were able to easily install the technology at the beginning of each day, and break it down at the end of the night. Panasonic’s projectors were up for the challenge and despite being placed in outdoor settings and projecting on non-traditional surfaces, guests could expect stunning, exceptional image quality with consistent performance throughout the entire show.
“When we hear the reactions from guests as they walked through the park and commented on how amazing the exhibits were, that’s the most rewarding part of this entire process,” added Hana. “Panasonic’s projection mapping technology played an essential role in executing such an incredible experience.”