DS looks to the future for Google

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By Louise Stickland

Google commissioned DesignScene to help present a special screening of the UK premier of Barry Ptolemy's incendiary documentary, "Transcendent Man" at London's Science Museum IMAX Cinema.

The film charts the life and ideas of Ray Kurzweil, inventor, futurist and author of "The Singularity is Near", presenting his vision of 'technological singularity', the point in the future at which technology is advancing so rapidly that humans will have to enhance themselves with some sort of artificial intelligence to keep up!

The brief was to ensure that all the appropriate technical production was in place to stage the screening, the first night of which was hosted by Google for special guests, staff and those who had worked on the film's production.

This was followed the next day by a public screening evening.

There was a Google-specific introduction to the first screening, and a 5 minute preface to the actual work by director Barry Ptolemy. The movie followed, and then afterwards, the audience could engage in a 45 minute Q&A session with both Ptolemy and Kurzweil himself, which was moderated by Peter Barron of Google.

The cinema's in-house Christie CP2000 projector was used and DS provided a Sony JH3 HDCam to show the movie, however DesignScene made sure there was also a backup machine in place, which was a Panasonic PT-DZ1110 DLP Projector sourced from Creative Technology, a regular DS supplier.


A D&B sound system - a ground stacked line array - was also sourced and installed in the cinema to cater for all the non-movie audio requirements i.e. the intros and Q&A session.

The IMAX's house stage was set up and utilised for the event, covered in a charcoal grey carpet that was part of DesignScene's visual package for the event, along with the cladding of the metal railings at the back of the stage, which were covered in smart stretched black PVC fabric. This looked great and matched in with the surroundings.

DesignScene created a straightforward ambient lighting/visual design for the space, consisting of twelve PixelPAR 90 LED wash lights, which were positioned around the bottom of the IMAX screen, washing upwards. A 'holding slide' was put in place for when the movie was not playing, providing a more visually interesting and comfortable environment. Key lighting was also installed for the speakers and presenters onstage.

The set used for the Google event was removed overnight by the DesignScene team, and the technical production left in for the following night and public screening of the film.

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