A blood-and-sand show featuring holographic video effects, light and sound at the Colosseum in Rome makes use of the wysiwyg lighting design and previsualisation suite from CAST Software.
The Colosseum in Rome was the world’s most popular tourist attraction in 2018, according to Tripadvisor, and received 7.4 million visitors. Once a venue for gladiatorial games and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, under the management of archaeological park director Alfonsina Russo it has once again become a venue for all kinds of events. Last year, visitors to the Colosseum were treated to a spectacular show at nightfall. Entitled Sangue e Arena, it translates as Blood and Sand. This show offered in English and Italian, put lights and holographic video effects at the heart of the ancient monument. At the centre of all the action was wysiwyg lighting design software, which comes from the same CAST Software stable as realtime tracking technology BlackTrax.
The Sangue e Arena project was developed by Italian company Electa Editore under the direction of the Parco Archeologico del Colosseo, working with immersive multimedia experience company Graphics eMotion and LED lighting house Lumin-ART. Lumin-ART is an avid user of wysiwyg, and has also worked with Cirque du Soleil, Celine Dion and Moment Factory.
Simon Gauthier, director of lighting design at Lumin-ART, took care of the design, programming and rendering of the lighting aspects of the production through wysisyg. Gauthier teamed up with Graphics eMotion to project historically accurate animated pictures and 2D/3D models reminiscent of the era on the outer and inner walls of the Colosseum, as well as on a see-through, hologrammatic screen. The experience is compounded by lighting and sound effects.
This historical show projects visitors back to the ancient Roman era for 30 minutes of breathtaking action, featuring gladiators, ship battles, ferocious beasts and mythical characters. The script is based on scientific and archaeological research by a dedicated team of specialists, recreating the experience of the great Roman Games of the first century AD, after the construction of the Colosseum.
Working with so many stakeholders, it was important that everyone be on the same page for the production. wysiwyg not only saves time, but it also allows lighting directors to make important decisions before investing money. As is imperative for large productions changes can be made on the fly, when necessary.
“The software has many tools, but the more importantly for us, it’s a big time-saver. wysiwyg reduces the time and energy needed to work with a fixture manufacturer and then test and reproduce the exact same result. This is because CAST Software has already done it, and frees us to reproduce our cues, calculating with precision the effect we want, confident that the software giving us an accurate picture. It allows us to fully validate our decisions before any negotiation. Our mastery of the software has allowed us to develop methodologies to deliver massive productions within a short timeframe,” said Gauthier.
This collaboration allows Lumin-ART to continuously improve and develop new skills and processes. For this exhibition, extensive collaboration was required between the museums and exhibitions division of the Italian publishing house Electa, the management of the archaeological park and a research team of historians, artists, architects and archaeologists.