Video Designing

Video design or projection design is a creative field of stagecraft. It is concerned with the creation and integration of film and motion graphics into the fields of theatre, opera, dance, fashion shows, concerts and other live events. Video design has only recently gained recognition as a separate creative field. Prior to this, the responsibilities of video design would often be taken on by a scenic designer or lighting designer. A person who practices the art of video design is often known as a Video Designer. However, naming conventions vary around the world, and so practitioners may also be credited as Projection Designer, "Media Designer", Cinematographer or Video Director (amongst others). As a relatively new field of stagecraft, practitioners create their own definitions, rules and techniques.

This is a very wide skills base, and it is not uncommon for a video designer to work with associates or assistants who can take responsibility for certain areas. For example, a video designer may conceptually design the video content, but hire a skilled animator to create it, a programmer to program the control system and a projectionist to choose the optimum projection positions and maintain the equipment.

Concert video design is a niche of the filmmaking and video production industry that involves the creation of original video content intended explicitly for display during a live concert performance.

The creation of visuals for live music performances bears close resemblance to music videos, but are typically meant to be displayed as 'backplate' imagery that adds a visual component to the music performed onstage. However, as the use of video content during musical performances has grown in popularity since the turn of the 21st century, it has become more common to have self-standing 'introductory' and 'interstitial' videos that play on screen on stage without the performers. These pieces may include footage of the artist or artists, shot specifically for the video, and presented onstage with pre-recorded music so that the final appearance is essentially a music video. Such stand-alone videos, however, are typically only viewed in this live setting and may include additional theatrical sound effects.

The earliest concert video visuals likely date to the period of the late 1960s when concerts for artists such as Jimi Hendrix and The Doors featured psychedelic imagery on projection screens suspended behind the performers. Live concert performances took on more and more theatrical elements particularly notable in the concert events put on by Pink Floyd throughout their career.

Laurie Anderson was among the earliest to experiment with video content as part of a live performance, and her ideas and images continue to be a direct inspiration to performers as diverse as David Bowie, Madonna and Kanye West. Meanwhile, in 1982, Devo integrated rear-projected visuals into their concert set, choreographing themselves to match and interact with the action on screen for several songs. But the rock show that made video content 'standard practice' was U2's Zoo TV Tour conceived and designed by Willie Williams - who has, interestingly enough, recently collaborated with Laurie Anderson.

This is a very wide skills base, and it is not uncommon for a video designer to work with associates or assistants who can take responsibility for certain areas. For example, a video designer may conceptually design the video content, but hire a skilled animator to create it, a programmer to program the control system and a projectionist to choose the optimum projection positions and maintain the equipment.

Roles of the video designer

Depending on the production, and due to the crossover of this field with the fields of lighting design and scenic design, a video designer's roles and responsibilities may vary from show to show. A video designer may take responsibility for any or all of the following.

The overall conceptual design of the video content to be included in the piece, including working with the other members of the production team to ensure that the video content is integrated with the other design areas.

The creation of this video content using 2D and 3D animation, motion graphics, stop motion animation, illustration, filming or any other method.

The direction, lighting and/or cinematography of any film clips included in the piece.

The design of the technical system to deliver the video content, including the specification of video projectors, LED displays and control systems, cabling routes and rigging positions for optimal video effects.

The management of the budget allocated to video, including the sourcing of display technologies and control technologies, their delivery, maintenance and insurance.

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