Electric Shadows

Electric Shadows $44.95

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Nick Moran

Published by Entertainment Technology Press

Electric Shadows aims to guide the emerging video designer through the many simple and difficult technical and aesthetic choices and decisions he or she has to make in taking their design from outline idea through to realisation

The main body of the book takes the reader through the process of deciding what content will be projected onto what screen or screens to make the best overall production design

The book will help you make electric shadows that capture the attention of your audience, to help you tell your stories in just the way you want


If a Picture Paints a Thousand Words The Poetry of the Image; Bad Poetry?; What is Video Design?; A Few Definitions; A little bit of History; Projection as an Element of a Production Design; What Makes a Video Design?; More on Screens; The Lure of the Screen; Why use Projected Images on Stage?; What Projection Can't Do (and what this book can't show you); Holograms; Fully Interactive 3D Environments


Intensity and Brightness; Screens, and Aspect Ratio; Screen and Content Shape, and Projector Aspect Ratio; Projectors: Light, Brightness, Angles and Shadows; Light and the Laws of Physics; Intensity of a Projector; Projector Lenses; Working with a Fixed Throw; Zoom Lenses, and Finding the Beam Angle; Keystone Correction; Priorities; Screens and Image Brightness and Contrast; Screen Colour white, black or grey?; Coloured Screens; How bright is bright enough?; Practical Set-Ups


From Painted Backcloths to Video a short diversion; Documentary Content News-Screens; Projected Scenery and Screens; Question One: What do we need these images to do for the production?; Question Two: Will you be using projected scenery throughout the piece?; Question Three: How 'real' do you want the projected scenery to appear?; Believably Real? (another Brief Diversion); Screens that are always screens; Cyclorama Cloths; Brick-Wall Cyc; Screens that disappear; Video Projection Mapping; Gauze Screens (or Scrims); Screens the Actors Walk Through; Fire-proof? I hope so!; Conclusion


Technical Compatibility and File Formats; A Note on Software; Keeping Everything Technically Compatible; Make sure you have enough pixels; Check what file formats your playback software and computer can use; Check your editing software outputs files your playback system can use; Check the images you want to use are compatible with the editing software; Check the video format of the output of live cameras; Video Connectors and Cables a brief note; Quick Technical Check List; Hardware; If you are using live camera; Software; If you are using live camera; Aesthetics or 'Visual Compatibility'; The Aesthetics of Stage Design; Making choices in stage design is about more than just getting period detail right; Working with the aesthetic of the rest of the design; Colour Palette; A Case Study from It Must Be Madness; Brightness and Contrast; Histograms; On Line and Off Line Adjustment; Rendering; To Make It Yourself or To Find It?; Projecting Backgrounds; Making Digital Scenic Backdrops; Point of View (PoV); Including cast members in content; Abstract content if you can make it digital you can project it; Next Steps


Fit-Up, Technical Rehearsals, Dress Rehearsals, and Performance; The Purpose of Technical Rehearsals; Cues and cueing; Before the Tech Starts: check that all your kit works!; Expected Colour vs. Projected Colour; Playback Machines; Presentation Software; Disable Screen Save, Back-up, and other Background Activity; Keeping it simple; QLab; VJ software; Experiments with a Light Organ; Media Servers; Layers and Transparency a Brief Diversion; Layers and Image Control on Media Servers; Media Servers and Object Tracking; Isadora; Vision Mixers and Cameras; Working in the Tech; First Dress Run Preparing; Dress Runs; Notes; Celebrate, Relax and Reflect


The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works; Multinational Corporations; Fair Use; And if I take all my own pictures / shoot all my own video?; And this brings us to a reality check; Images of People; Copyright can work for you too; The expense of going to law


Video Signals; Analogue and Digital; TV Standards; Composite Video; Analogue Component Video; VGA Video Graphics Array; Digital Video Cables, Links and Expansion Modules; SCART and HDMI; Conversion from one Video Standard to Another; Interlaced Scanning vs Progressive Scanning; Interlaced Scanning (i); Progressive Scanning (p); Projector Types; DLP; The Colour Wheel Rainbow Effect; LCD; Fill Factor; Green Flash; Rigging; Projector Control Options; Planning Prevents Poor Performance; Master & Margareta System Drawing


Nick Moran's design and production experience ranges from large scale arena operas to experimental fringe work. He has toured with major music acts and lit plays, musicals and operas all over Europe and beyond. His design work for theatre has been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum and in the catalogues for World Stage Design 2009 and 2013.

Throughout his career Nick has combined an interest in technology with a passion for good design on stage. As digital technology made projection on stage more accessible it was natural that he would become interested in both the technology and the aesthetics of this important stage design tool

Electric Shadows draws on Nick's experience as a practitioner and an educator. Since 2003 he has taught lighting and stage design at Royal Central School of Speech & Drama in London. As well as realising his own designs, he has worked alongside talented students to help them produce video designs in a range of styles using many different techniques

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