Innovation and Cinema 4D Part One: William Dudley and Peter Pan 360°

Mark Christiansen
By Mark Christiansen 07.28.10

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The SIGGRAPH conference is a week in which groundbreaking, innovative and inspiring uses of computer graphics are celebrated. Curious about the variety of uses that are found for Cinema 4D these days, I profiled a couple of innovators whose stories fit this theme.

The first of these is Peter Pan in the "threesixty° Theatre, currently being staged at the foot of Market Street in San Francisco under an enormous Cirque du Soleil style big-top tent, with a twist: the circular tent top doubles as a surround-projection environment, so that when Peter flies Wendy and her siblings to Never-Never Land, the scene around the audience also transports them high above London. It is used to create the surround environment-the scenery-for this theater-in-the-round production. For the truly curious, KGO-7 television has a full half-hour special on the production.

The visionary production designer behind this concept is William Dudley, who is no stranger to using computer graphics, projection and theater together; in fact, with Matthew "Mash" O' Neill he is among the world's leading experts creating an immersive virtual set for real actors.

I recorded a chat with Bill earlier this summer, presented here in two parts. In this, the first part, he talks mostly about this particular production and the preceding experiences that led to it. In the fascinating second part, he discusses the role of projection and computer generated spectacle in 21st century theater.