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Corona: Jean Michel Jarre virtual show controlled with ChamSys

Corona: Jean Michel Jarre virtual show controlled with ChamSys
Corona: Jean Michel Jarre virtual show controlled with ChamSys

Electronic music pioneer Jean Michel Jarre’s virtual reality show on New Year’s Eve, entitled “Welcome To The Other Side”, garnered 900,000 views on YouTube within a week of its release and, according to Sony Music International, over 75 million views on all outlets (Facebook, VRC, Weibo, Tik Tok). Jarre’s creation swirls high-tech sights and sounds around a reimagined (and virtual) nine-centuries-old Notre Dame cathedral.


During its 55-minute run time, conceived to celebrate the arrival of 2021 in the French capital, animated geometric forms rise and fall within the historic church’s nave, keyboard instruments melt with color, and light patterns run up stone columns to play off stained glass windows. The lightshow was created by Jvan Morandi of Placing Shadows using his ChamSys MagicQ MQ80 console.


Run along triggered timelines within the Unity game engine, the lightshow is divided into two parts: interior stage element and architecture sequences created via the ChamSys but then run directly by the Unity engine, a series of exterior architectural sequences, involving lights and lasers as well as camera moves played back via the lighting desk thought ArtNet and software.


“We programmed the cues with a ChamSys MQ80 in my studio”, notes Morandi. “All the cue lists come from ChamSys and were translated into a set of Unity animation triggers on a timeline. When I say ‘translated’, I mean that Victor Pukhov used the visualized lighting cues to create shader animation that then got triggered by Unity custom scripts by Antony Vitillo.”


During the show, Jarre played live from TV Studio Gabriel in Paris. He was lit only by a video projector and portrayed in vivid colors and shapes coming directly from the same video content that was UV mapped on the inside of the virtual cathedral. Lending another touch to the show was the virtual rendition of Notre Dame’s interior. The 3D model and the game engine programming were optimized by Lapo Germasi and Victor Pukhov of Manifattura Italiana Design. “Once we received the interior of the cathedral, we worked with our studio software and the game engine to find the right looks”, explains Morandi.


When designing the stage set in the middle of the church, Morandi envisioned a “modern version of Stonehenge”. He viewed the circular stage as a reflection of the shape of the big stained-glass window at the front of the cathedral. The stage columns that animated the scene were video mapped and received streamed content from a cue list on Vimeo.


“The stage lights are actually not real light but volumetric shaders that were animated by Victor Pukhov to mimic my ChamSys programmed lighting cues”, says Morandi. “Vincent Masson created the 3D animations. He used our 2D content as starting point and created the 3D versions of it.”


Louis Caracciolo from VRroom was the VR Producer. Antony Vitillo of NTW looked after the scripting and game engine functionalities. Jonathan Klahr worked on the 2D video content mapped onto the interior walls. Stephan and Jeroen from LaserImage of Amsterdam programmed the initial laser sequences. Georgy Molotsdov, Maud Clavier and David Montagne (Global TV broadcast) filmed the show all in VR. Exemplifying the scope of the project, one camera director was in Moscow (Georgy Molotsdov), while another was in Paris (Maud Clavier). Each of them controlled up to eight remote VR cameras and drones.


Filming of this live VR gig was completely in VR within the VRchat platform, an accomplishment that would have been unimaginable not that long ago, but one that will become commonplace not that far into the future, according to Morandi. “Once we have tested and solved various technological issues, I see tours in the future travelling with a VR/AR component in the crew”, says Morandi. “Each show will be attended by real audience as well as VR/AR audiences. It will be just another way to enjoy entertainment.”



(Photos: ChamSys)




Corona: Jean Michel Jarre virtual show controlled with ChamSysCorona: Jean Michel Jarre virtual show controlled with ChamSys

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