Video Design for Live Performance and Experience: A Cross-Disciplinary Practice

12:05pm in Studio B

Whether a Video Designer or a Design Studio, creative work in live entertainment requires a vast understanding, awareness and appreciation of a number of creative production environments. Project to project, we find ourselves producing creative work for film, broadcast, animation, design and materials. With an arguably small pool of talented people and companies in this field, we have the opportunity as designers to explore many different uses of our art form.

At Luke Halls Studio, we pride ourselves and take great joy in designing for a huge range of live experiences; exhibition and installation design, theatre, opera, dance, fashion, art, concerts, game shows, award ceremonies, to name a few. Our practice crosses continents, from London to Los Angeles, and carries a fresh perspective on the differences in our industry from one place to the other, and one discipline to another. I will discuss the trials and benefits of collaborating across these different art forms as a studio, how the difference in projects affects us as a team, and how we adapt and use one project to inform the other – all with the common goal and desire to tell a story.

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J.T. Rooney  00:12

Thank you for hanging out at framework, please ignore my Madonna mic. It’s just what’s happening, but it’s fine. There’s a session going on in a at the moment. And now today we’re going to start our sort of split sessions like Laura was saying, so there’ll be some in here, the some in there, if you need to go to the restrooms are down through that hallway, or the exit signs are and also from this point on, we won’t access a through those doors will access it through that back hallway. So just little housekeeping. Coming up. Next, we have a speaker, who is Charlie Davis from Luke Hall studio. And she’s going to give her presentation. So please listen, and at the end, we’ll have some q&a. So everyone give it up for Charlie.

Charli Davis  00:52

Hi, everyone, can everyone hear me okay? I’m Charlie. I’m a video designer at Luke Hall studio. I’m basically just to talk about my experiences really, of our role as a video designer within live performance, specifically reflecting on the different applications of our art form, and how they vary and influence each other, I think quite a lot in my experience. Before I get into local studio and all of it, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about me first, just to share a little bit of my background. I began a career, my career I didn’t go to university. I don’t know if there’s lots of people like that here. But I started just running gunning interning at East London production houses, you know, interning to onset work Camera assisting and then eventually I found post production, I tried a bit of that. I then moved into fashion, film photography, this is all stumbling. I started incredible directors and filmmakers, I created title cards, I was people’s ad I made behind the scenes, videos, anything I could and every single part of the process I fell more in love with whether it was the beginning or the end, the middle, the bit that didn’t matter to someone else. I found all of it coming together. Incredibly exciting. So I started producing, still editing, still trying things out. But I loved production, because suddenly I realized you can because I think personally, production is incredibly creative role within the video design community. You are quite I think you hugely advise and help the creative development process as a producer. So I have huge love for that role. And then, obviously, I kept going back and forth, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. And suddenly my fashion work found itself dribbling into life. Whether it was a tiny installation, you know, for a dance film, or suddenly the Hugo Boss wanting to turn that ad we made for them into an actual white LED billboard in their store. And I realized, oh my god, there’s this whole other world that I’m unaware of and has another layer, light scale, all this exciting stuff. The product that really sold it for me, this is the this is Ron, our ads, curtain calls. It’s a I think it’s actually annual installation at the Roundhouse in London. And it’s essentially, you know, it’s a, it’s a cylindrical installation made of silicone rods that takes Projection really beautifully. The outside is just as good as the inside. And I totally fell into this project. I didn’t mean to get into it. I was looking but I didn’t know anything about production, to be honest at that point. And I absolutely loved the challenge of it. And then, you know, stumbling stumbling, and then I finally, I found new calls. And if you don’t know Luke’s work, he’s an incredibly worked, he said admired film designer, video designer within our field, lots of theater and opera. And together, we made the studio bigger and became new calls studio. So just new calls. So yeah, so we’re a video design studio working within live performance were founded and creatively directed by Luke. We’re based in London, but now Los Angeles, hence my being here. And we’re fortunate enough because of Luke’s breadth of work and his background, I have the opportunity to work on an incredible range of projects that I think really inform each other. And there is a specific reason why we still do cool studio because actually I think and Luke thinks that the theatrical and operatic mediums are they do like a single vision is a film director is a theater designer, it is specific roles. So although there’s lots of people at local studio, we call ourselves a local studio for a very specific reason you are treated a little bit differently within theater maybe than one of our practices and that studio helps you with what I call the more commercial projects where you need to expand that everyone wants to trust that you can handle this huge show. So I think it’s a nice balance that we’ve attained and and we don’t mind all hiding behind Luke’s name. We’re totally fine with that. I’m going to I’ll go through a few projects of our own, the focus of my talk is about well, I just, I think our work is so cross disciplinary in so many different aspects. So I’m going to start just by showing a few of the works that we’ve made that are so different. You know, we create visuals all of us do as video designers. For pop shows. This is Dr. leapers future nostalgia Tour, where we dove into 80s and 90s, pop culture references, you know, workout videos, very 80s inspired. And then we do small scale theater productions, the contemporary theatre, new writing, this is girls and boys, which was at the Royal Court Theatre. It’s written by Dennis Kelly, completely brand new script, not one we’ve already heard before. And it was directed by Lindsey Turner, and the stage was designed by as Devlin the stories of a woman who loses her children. Tragically, it’s a monologue. It’s a one person show. And it’s her telling her story. The set is obviously cold blue, devoid of materiality, or any other color kind of representing her, you know, her loss. The concept for Projection was that we would bring back the life and the color in her memories as she described them when her children were alive. And I’m sure everyone is aware of the room how annoying it is to make something like this and how long it takes. Because it was painstaking. But what a wonderful effect, because I overheard viewers in the audience after the show saying, Oh, that was really smart. They, they must have just projected it blue. And I thought, well, that’s brilliant. They didn’t see the tech field, the tech know what the tech is coming from. It just appeared and disappeared, which was super exciting. But I have to admit, you know, despite all that hard work that went into it, it was only 25 seconds of Projection in that show. So it felt like quite a lot of tech for quite a little amount of time. But it was incredibly poignant. And it did seem to really stay with people. So there you go. 25 seconds or not it it seemed to do its job. Then we can move into larger scale theatrical and operatic experiences. This is Meredith monk’s Atlas, which only had like three or four shows at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which is crazy, because the size that set it was directed by you though Sharon, and the set design was as Devlin as well. I don’t know if anyone knows Meredith monk’s work, but she this specific piece Atlas, it doesn’t actually have any language or words. It’s all sounds it’s completely made up. So Projection plays an incredible role in setting the scene helping the audience to understand the story, which is the goal for everything we’ve seen so far. This is another larger scale show. But this is actually a one off event. So we’ve done all of these different types of projects. And then oh yes, there’s one off of huge events that people create bespoke, that don’t fall into a category or a genre. This is the UAS 14th, National National Day show where they celebrate the the joining of the seven emirates, and in that they celebrate, you know, it’s a newly directed and written piece, celebrating modern culture, their modern cultural apologies whilst honoring the country’s past and their founders. And the Content here, it’s storytelling, but it’s also it’s emotive. It’s, it’s trying to feel that emotion of that moment. It’s not telling you where they are or what they’re doing or anything like that. It’s not narrative in that manner, but it’s still contributing towards the story. It’s also incredibly tight to the set and all the Content was derived from the apertures and the physical, you know, the physical holes and cut ins in the set. And then we go small, again, exhibitions about this is epic Orion at the v&a Museum in London, where we Projection Mac relics so that they can look like they did when they were originally you know, new. And we then we hired drones and we shot all of the beautiful landscapes around to show people it’s colorful side as it may not be received that way. And then we go all the way back to fashion now. So we’ve we’ve just been in Iran and now looking at art and relics. And now we’re we’re looking at fashion but there’s similarities. We’re going back to sculpture art. This is the Bottega Veneta show, I think it was 2019 where we changed the well we design it from top to bottom, but essentially we wanted to transport all the audience into a plat so of sculpture and stone. I’m just gonna take a minute I’ve just created a few bits of all those shows. And just I know it’s an obvious thing but I think we need to say and take a moment to reflect on the on the interdisciplinary nature of this work and all of our work because it’s not just local studio that’s doing all this different types of work. You know, with everyone within our industry and video design is character animating, directing, shoots and editing them. interior designing, apparently in some instances, directing live cameras on set creating live effects already compared to If the to any more traditional film workflow, we’re doing everything. And that’s only within one industry, because we all know you can do a pop show, you can design a show. And you can use all of those mediums within it. It doesn’t need to necessarily need to be different categories of the genre that that defines this workflow, we have so many tools that we need so many tools to be able to tell these stories. I’m going to tell you a little bit about our team and how we’re able to do the big shows, the small shows, were actually a really small team of nine people. The full timers are what we call the core roles are the team. So we’re 3d 2d designers, producers, animators, and technical directors. Every single person in our team has a different background. Luke taught us all the fundamentals of his craft that he’s developed over the years. And but he didn’t look for all those skills in us, he found something else that was interesting, and then brought us all together, like a big hodgepodge, all to help each other learn about all these different skills that we spoke about. So you know, what, how we treat our studio is very small as one designer will lead and one producer will lead a project. But those two people don’t then just run off with freelancers and just make that project, we all sit down and talk about it with each other, even if you’re not involved in that project, because I want to consult Mark who’s on our team’s advice, because he’s got loads of experience in motion graphics for brands and my, you know, client really wants to try and make it feel that way, or whatever the case may be. But everyone’s advice is key. And we do everything as a studio as much as humanly possible. The benefits of having a small studio is you get to do loads of fun stuff. So you know, we stay nimble, we can usually expand and get small again, depending on the climate, the industry COVID, which is a huge advantage, I think, I think there’s a huge amount of benefits, by the way to having a bigger studio. But these are the benefits of smaller one. So when we want to do a beautiful project, but it doesn’t have a huge amount of money, we don’t have a huge amount of people that would need to pay bills and need to do things and we can sit and we can spend a while shooting ourselves and having a nice time. We also have a dedicated team in house technical team in house. So our technical director Zack Kane, is a incredible knowledge in production hardware software, we all use disguise, we all use whatever’s coming out, we’ll try it mapping matter. Because that really leads that he understands materials incredibly well. And so we have a huge amount of confidence in our decision making process because we test and we try and we enjoy it. And we don’t have to source that expertise out of our studio. Then obviously, when if you want to do a big project, a huge picture, you have to get big. So then we hire loads of incredible freelancers, permanent answers much of the time, because most of these people we’ve been working with for six years minimum. And we get big, nice and quickly. And it puts us in a unique position to be able to balance our workload because it allows us to do smaller scale projects with one or two of us and then another producer and a creative director, come on off, get 12 animators together and try and do a big show at the same time, which I think is really exciting. I’m going to talk a little bit about the workflow. I’m sure lots of you already know this workflow, but I think it’s quite interesting to just go over it again. One question I want to ask everyone is how much should? Or can we even adapt our workflow for different types of projects? I almost think it’s almost if you’ve got a tried and tested workflow, you should probably stick to it. I mean, at the end of the day, all we’re trying to do is create a journey for our audience to tell a story. So why should we approach it any differently, whether it’s a pop show, or it’s a theatrical production, and maybe those two different applications can help inform the other? I also think maybe trying I don’t know how easy this would be so I haven’t done yet but trying to encourage production teams maybe to employ some of the better processes within theater and more commercial projects like music tours. Obviously loads of factors stand in the way there’s budget, this timeline, you know, you don’t know the people as well and all this but I think if we all keep keep a good grounding or what how we want the process to go, maybe we can influence it a bit. So I think you all know this, but you know, the first point of call is research. You know, read the book, listen to the music, watch the movie. contextual information around the piece, the time to replace the social climate may hugely inform your design to further enhance the setting and context of the show. Understanding the material as well. It gives you huge amount of confidence. If you really trust and what you’ve learned, then you can feel really confident in what you say and what you want to represent the story I think from for a music artist, for example, like a pop star, having a tall, I’m not sure that it’s much different, actually the research phase because you read the lyrics, you watch the music videos to see what they originally represented, whether you want to recreate that or not, you know, it all feels relatively similar. We recently did a project where the artist kept mentioning that they, they didn’t feel that the Content was bespoke, which is such an interesting word, because bespoke means so many things, so many people, but it will cause all of our Content was designed for the stage. And it was, you know, it wasn’t a loop. Nothing about it was not bespoke in our eyes. But what they meant was it didn’t feel bespoke to their feeling their personal personification of that song. And, you know, a big thing about the research phase that maybe falls into a different phase is how do we, how do we know that personification? And so we do as much research as we like, but we didn’t write the song you did? How do we communicate with our client or the artist in a music tool? For example? How do we encourage that so difficult? It’s a question I asked to everyone. Because a lot of celebrities really don’t don’t want to respond that way. They want to sit with their pool of talented people. And that’s great. But I think the exciting work in a music tour or a television series or anything like that, that’s a bit more commercial. The more you collaborate with that person, the better and better it gets, because then you start to learn what they want and what they need. And they start to trust you a little bit more, and you get more out of it. I don’t know how to make this better. I’m just putting out there as an observation. So then there’s the second stage of workflow, which is creative and technical development. This is the stage of the production, in our experience changes most dramatically in theater, opera installations to rock and pop shows and award ceremonies. Because we believe as a studio, that our job as video designers is to hold the creative and the technical intention. It’s impossible to make good work without an understanding of both of them. But you don’t want one to override the other. No matter what the scale is, if you feel the tech, you’re pulled away from the story of the show, and you’ve you’ve kind of failed. I know it’s interesting because in, in a lot of music tours, television shows anything. Bigger productions. More often than not, in my experience. Video designers haven’t actually been asked about materials the sets already built, the equipment’s already done, you’re being brought on to do the Content, which is an interesting way of doing it, but it’s not the same in every form of the industry. This show that’s pictured here is Bottega Veneta, which I showed earlier. We were invited into the creative development conversation really early on the the agency that was producing the show for Daniel Lee had an idea they wanted to execute, but they collaborated with us to execute it. And because we had the technical, know how to be able to do that we really enjoyed exploring it with them. It doesn’t nearly as much happen in a lot of other contexts, because of lots of different factors. But I think being able to do this yourself, gives you a huge amount of confidence when you walk into a room and and understanding of the materials that you’re using very well. Speaking of materials, includes in depth material studies were in this specific instance, for Bottega Veneta, the client really wanted to see to see or was environmentally conscious, and really wanted to use biodegradable, recyclable materials bow, that’s not something we’ve normally done, but it was really enjoyable learning what we could do with those parameters. And how it would affect our brightness or transparency, we want the viewers to be able to see through one layer to the other, if we use this material, it will get less brightness, but it will look really good. And people will see through etc, etc. We Oh, well, this is just the process. We pre visualize everything, obviously throughout process of technical development. But both ways because, you know, lots of clients will find it really hard to understand, for example, oh, is that the Content? I don’t understand is that the lines and the grids is that what we’re making? No, we’re not we’re making this but this is where the Projection is hit. And this is where the shadows are, etc, etc. And yeah, and I think when you’re a part of the process, like this project for the Deger, Vanessa, everyone, because you’ve had this long process of going back and forth through previous and talking about materials, and then seeing Content is huge advantage of the creative development of the actual Content as much as it is the actual installation because you’re learning. As the Content creator. You know so much about the materials that you’re using and These are some projects Sully’s for Curiouser and curiouser, which was an exhibition about Alice in Wonderland. And through the looking glass, it was an exhibition that v&a in London. For this, it was similar to theater. We wanted to do a big Projection map table, obviously, because of the Mad Tea Party. But every single decision was made is a collaborative process, we helped the exhibition designer with the heights of the props, how full to make the table do to shadows, that occlude, you know, other objects to ensure that everything was clear and and that type of Content we wanted to make would read well. So even you know, the size of the pixels, how far away the Projectors are, and all the rest of it would have affected if we wanted to ask a question to the audience, if we wanted to protect on there, etc, etc. And it included, what color do we paint it, you know, if you want to get a huge range of color, then you can’t have a white surface or a black surface, as we all know. But we were advised and asked, and that meant that the project was better for it. Obviously, this stage, this whole research and development stage has huge amount of revisions, problem solving and creative can promise. This may be due due to budget restraints, material availability, but also artists tastes people change their minds. And our iteration is key, and it’s not final stage. Then we get into Content reduction, right? We’re finally there. We’ve revised 1000 times, everyone seems to have frames up the wazoo. And we everyone likes the idea and everyone’s happy. But now we actually need to get into making it and spend all that time since. Obviously, as we all know, the this process again changes very dramatically and kind of blends into on site whether or not you’re doing a theater project, or you’re doing a more I keep saying it’s a terrible word commercial project. What I say when I say commercial, what I really mean is a project with money, I think is what I really mean. And whether I think the main factors that change has, we probably all know is that it can either be like months on site, and therefore the production processes shifted. So you don’t pre prod and you don’t make all the Content before you get there and then quickly slap it on the screen, go go go, it’s been two weeks. Instead, you have a hugely long rehearsal process where that on site and product Content production phase starts to blend because you wait till you can see the surface you start but you don’t finish everything perfectly, you polish everything. Because when you get there, you can learn a huge amount you’ve got time to fix it. So I mentioned already, so the production obviously process hugely changes, depending on the budget of the project. And the reason that we’re a small studio and we like being a small studios, because when we have a project with no budget, we just do it in our studio and tiny little film setups filming hands and rolling out clay with a bottle of wine as pictured there. And this was actually for the mask by wishes as Devlin’s artwork at Somerset House was one of our own art pieces. It was an ovoid sculpture of London from an aerial view. And I mean, what we explored here was it was human intervention, environmental impact. And we basically project it as his hands. And she peeled away layers and layers to reveal the city underneath, which was lovely. Or it could be a much larger scale project where apologies, my finger slips. Or it could be a much larger scale project where we’ll do huge big shoots will travel to New York to do them huge led setups, green screen shoots, where we’ll employ entire film crew because we need to, we’ll have 12 animators on board generating character animated Content, you know, everything you can think of it and the scale is that ranging, and we enjoy that because, you know, even with the, I think they will inform the other with this project for doer. And, you know, we’ve just we did have a sheet when we loved it, and we learnt loads of things. And now if you’re hanshi, where you’re going to put hands in a big bowl of fruit, we’ve learned all that stuff. And we feel really confident about making it and we’re going to enjoy even more and make it even better. And we’re developing as, as artists. The on site, which as I already mentioned, bleeds because if you’re in theater, you might have been doing a lot of that production phase in the actual theater. Whereas on more of a more commercial project, you’ll be probably, so it does range within but I think two weeks size probably quite normal for maybe a music tool. I think on site is often the most fun, but it’s also where as we know, we might have to throw away a lot of ideas and start again. So the theatrical way of doing it where you spend a lot of time there’s probably preferable to all running around with heads cut off trying to work out how to change the show and how to tell the story despite not having During the month to prepare. And obviously the environment itself can really change. This was a really fun production where they put us in a catering truck for rehearsals, which is really fun showed us loads of respect for our craft. And instead, so to sum up and installation work, the time is often much longer. There’s, there’s testing, these are Projection, tests, programming, tests, everything, you know, all this time while everyone’s building things, and you’re working. And I think we should try. I don’t know if everyone does work within theater, opera and as many of these different crafts but I think we should try to, and also take some of those incredible aspects of creating theater and move them into all the other aspects of our industry. Because, you know, for people that don’t work in theater, they make schedules for every day, you sit and talk about questions and things that you love to make and oh issues you’re having. And then they go okay, well, would you like some time on stage for half an hour to do that the next day? And you go, Yes, please. And I don’t think that’s ever happened in a music tour or where you just get told to turn up and you have to make everything and I don’t know how we change this. But it’s something that I think if you do both, you end up feeling more confident to ask for what you need in the other situations. Yeah, we just did a project with a with another designer who a lighting designer, sorry, who also works in theater. And there was two of us, you know, there was Content and lighting, both had theatrical experience. And suddenly, we were asking the artist and the production manager on a music tour. No, we don’t want to do a run through tonight. We don’t want to do it, we don’t need the time, we need to focus this or do that. And when you had two people, instead of one fighting for time and changing and asking for what you needed, the production process totally changed and became much more enjoyable. The other thing I will mention, I don’t have a slide to represent it is that our role as video Content creators, and the technical being quite separate, as we know, and I feel that more here in America, I think, than I do. And in the London and UK. And I that’s just my experience thus far, I’ve only been here for a year. So I can’t suggest that I’m completely right about that. But it’s our relationship to tech is our relationship to programmers and video programmers. And I think it’s super interesting, because in theater, you actually ask for a specific programmer to work on your show, because they are a huge part of your collaborative process. They are controlling your video on a huge surface. And what I find really interesting is that I my experience so far is that programmers seem to be treated like operators, very separate there with the video supplier, they’ve got their own agenda. I don’t understand how that’s happened because they hopefully all like each other to get on really well. And I think that role should be treated with huge amounts of respect and as a collaborator, and they should be showing the creative ahead of time and hopefully become more invested in the show that you’re trying to make. Because I’m not sure why I’ve noticed that the role seems so disparate. And they’re not as collaborative as they are in theater and opera. And I think it’s really important that we we make them more collaborative. And that’s the end of my talk.

J.T. Rooney  28:23

Questions Check, check, check. You won’t have any questions for Charlie? Sam, down in front.

Sam Cannon  28:40

Thank you. Wonderful. Talk. Thank you so much. I guess my question would be, given how you kind of spread across all of these different worlds, if you could, like i in the sky, pick two disparate roles and forced them to trade positions for a month to make everyone’s lives better. Who would you like to swap

Charli Davis  29:02

disparate roles within the production?

Sam Cannon  29:04

within any point of production, like, like I would, as a director, I would love to make every director edit something long. So what would you do to make everybody get on better and help with the Pro?

Charli Davis  29:15

I mean, I if unless recent experience prevents me from saying lighting and video to switch that I usually would quite have enjoyed that with specific lighting sliders. That’s that’s a really cool question. And I’ll be giving it more thought. I have no I have no idea. It’s a great question. I’ll have to find you and come up with my answer. Sorry.

J.T. Rooney  29:39

Another question.


Thank you for the talk.

Charli Davis  29:45

Thank you.


So you said you’ve been here for about a year. I think this might tie in to the count about programmers. What’s your response to working with unions?

Charli Davis  29:55



US versus in the UK? Yeah.

Charli Davis  29:57



unions, unions.

Charli Davis  29:59

Unions. I heard you now I’m so sorry. Yes, that was actually a very interesting process. I did a, a show at the LA Opera House, which was unionized. And my wrist got slapped a lot, which was enjoyable and very strange. In the UK, obviously, because we will my den and we actually program a lot of the shows ourselves. It was incredibly interesting experience. And I found it very slow. A little, it was enjoyable, because we got to collaborate lots of different people. And you’re kind of forced not to get very hands on not direct to shoot on stage at all. But I wasn’t allowed to do that I wasn’t allowed to hold light. Someone else had to hold that light. And I was like, that’s totally fine. If he’s good at holding that light. I’m up for it. But I did find it. It was just so different from what I’d ever known before. But that’s actually the only show I’ve worked with in the Union here. So far. That was the new chair dilemma more, perhaps? Yes, good point.

J.T. Rooney  31:04

And yeah, once we have an online question, so exciting. The Internet, we got a question from Chase. How do you how do you manage client expectations of the complexity of creating Content, especially in today’s AI generative, instant, Content creation expectation?

Charli Davis  31:27

That’s a great question. You can’t everyone wants everything immediately. And for it to change, I think my personal and asked as us as a studio, we tried to be so incredibly honest, from the get go and let our emotions I mean, I think it’s fair to say, Are you absolutely joking, that can’t happen tomorrow, you’re mad? I think, why not? We’re all human beings try. We’re not AI. We’re not bots that can not sleep throughout the night. And I think being realistic and honest about what people are asking for is the only thing that you really can do. Obviously, the other thing is great organization, and making dates and creatives incredibly clear to the client from early on as humanly possible. But from anyone that’s worked on the music tool will know that happening like that gets listened to once you’re on site, or changes.

J.T. Rooney  32:19

You get one back, maybe

Ben Nicholson 32:23

Hi Charli it’s been Hi, Ben. Hi, I’m gonna re ask the question that was first asked no different way and a different way. I’m gonna say how I help people who aren’t video Content creators. That’s my world where I come from, and some others in here, help lighting departments or other departments understand sort of what, what gives you joy and your process. But also what is some of the hardest things that you have to deal with? Right? So what brings you what makes you really happy about what you do that may be different than a lighting designer? And what what is like the hardest thing that you have to do almost every time when you’re on a production,

Charli Davis  33:00

okay, the hardest thing I have to do every time on production is throw away beautiful work. And we have no, we try as a studio, not to hold, you know, hold on to it too much. Because it is a it’s an iterative process and things get thrown in the bin. And that’s fine. But it’s actually more than that all these incredible collaborators I work with have worked so hard on something and we’ve polished it together, and then it didn’t work and it gets thrown away. That’s probably the hardest bit for me, even though should be second nature, but at this point. And then the other question was, what about my role specifically, versus a lighting designer, a set designer makes me really happy. I mean, I think we’re far superior to lighting there because of the pixel. So I think it’s the slideshow, I was just joking. I think what I love about what we do, we can tell stories, both literally and abstractly. With much like lighting, though, sadly, with light and color and pace, but also showing human emotion. Whether it’s an animation, or it’s just it’s the range of tools to tell a story. We have so many options. And I think that’s incredibly exciting and loads of fun.


Hey, Charlie, thanks for everything. That’s great. You talk a lot. You’ve been doing this for a while now. And you talk a lot about how new technologies have helped and changed. You know, the process. Ai made me think about other challenges and dramatic shifts in our industry in recent years. Have new technologies throughout your career always helped. Have you found that certain things actually make it harder for us as designers and how do you deal with those changes? and managing the client when they want them.

Charli Davis  35:03

I think that’s pretty cool question. I think AI is possibly the most relevant Technology adjustment that we’ve recently experienced because our studio, I mean, we use AI internally, but we never show an AI image to a client. We, I know lots of students are really pioneering AI. And it’s not at all to them. But I think iteration in our line of work is so important for you as much as for the client. And if you take the AI and all the other technologies are speeding things up so much, you don’t get a time to iterate and change as much. And I worry that if everyone becomes too reliant on it, people will think less and do less. And maybe that human experience should be made by humans, and, you know, AI as a tool for to help create that human experience. There was lots of layers to a question. I’ve definitely forgotten about four of them. But I think most technologies have helped us some, maybe we’re on the cusp of it being a bit hindered some of the new technological advances, potentially.

J.T. Rooney  36:17

One more I think.

Ryan McAllister  36:20

Thank you, Charlie, good to see you. Excellent work. Thank you. Fantastic. I guess I just wanted to see if you could talk a little bit about is there are there any insights, because you you guys have worked with very creative like artists, or, you know, on the theater side or installation side, sort of like your client is a creative person versus in that’s also true in like the music industry side, too. But I, you know, I think some of us have had the experience that they’re, like wildly different kinds of creative and if you have any insights or like, things that you’ve learned from doing, the different sorts of industries and like what you apply, or what you have learned and applied to either one.

Charli Davis  37:03

Yeah, I think I think just yeah, you’re very right. I think there’s a huge breadth of stuff, I think the communication things super interesting, because, as you say, working with as Devin, for example, has made shows, she makes shows all time, that’s what she does for a living. And so her creating her art with her is, is a dream, because she understands the craft of everything that we’re doing. And she wants to make the best possible thing. And she knows we’re all human beings. And we’re all here to because she’s the other person sat next to you in a rehearsal. So it’s a wonderful experience. And the only thing that I can think that we can try and take for her, which I’m trying to mention earlier is this communication thing, because I think with a music musical artist, or recent project, we had a big issue with communication. It was really we were set along a path. That was not right. And we felt a little bit like we had we it’s completely out of our control. We ended I think what’s really tricky is it’s an ongoing relationship. I think that will solve that. So I think we all have to be in the ship just once and then maybe it’ll get better and better as time goes on. Especially for music artists. I think specifically. Maybe just experience I guess, trial and error

J.T. Rooney  38:17

Amazing. We are going to move on to lunch. So thanks so much to Charlie from get another round of applause.


project, work, projection, content, designer, experience, production, theater, people, ai, studio, materials, shows, video, creative, question, wanted, shoots, veneta, charlie


Charli Davis, J.T. Rooney, Sam Cannon, Ryan McAllister, Ben Nicholson

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