The Glassbox project, realized by 4U2C, is a good example of what can emerge from a pure R&D process. It is a new visual environment made of multiple layers of graphics and video that surrounds an artist with 5 video surfaces: Transparent LCD panels in the front, LED walls on each side and on the floor.
How does it work?
By controlling the contamination of the ambient lighting and the public’s point of view, we can create interesting visual and interactive 3D effects giving the impression of a mixed reality.
The LCD panel can be alternated as opaque or translucent. Three types of content can be included in this new environment: Layers of interactive visuals, live captures and selected visual content.
The Glassbox is made of 3 layers:
LAYER A: A transparent screen on the first layer, from the viewer’s point of view. The transparent LCD panel is a fairly immersive technology and has almost never been used in this way before.
LAYER B: An “ambient” layer, covering a performer / object / effect between A and C (lighting and projections).
LAYER C: A traditional surface (LED / projection). It is the last layer visible from the spectator’s point of view.
One can see through the screens or not according to the density of what is projected on them.
We first tested this technology at C2 Montreal in 2016 with an artist dancing inside the cube. We then pushed the concept a step further by switching the artist for an acrobatic performance.
No direct light should come from behind the LCD panels because it creates an RGB reflection. To counter this undesirable effect, it is necessary to place the lights way above the screens or to use methods that diffuse the light source.
It would also be interesting to put the semi-transparent panels on several faces of the cube or even on a cylindrical form using the ceiling and the floor as the main light source.