Cello emerges as star of BBC Proms

Read the story on the CAST Blog.

The skill of multimedia artists, 59 Productions, the musical talents of internationally acclaimed cellist Sol Gabetta, and the magic of BlackTraxrealtimemotion tracking system have come together to create a spectacular and memorable film for the BBC Proms to date. 

It encompasses cellist, Sol Gabetta prior to her highly anticipated Proms debut when she will play Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor on the first night of the season. 

A world first, the artwork that is presented on the cello was designed by 59 Productions and Gabetta’s 300-year old cello is the smallest surface area that the team has ever mapped. This particular project was a challenge because the surface area of the cello is tricky to map out, especially since Gabetta wanted to be able to move the instrument as she normally would when playing. 

Small and discreet BlackTrax Beacons were placed on the cello in hidden places so its position could be calibrated and surface mapped on to the cello and track its movements, which are then submitted as data using BlackTrax IR cameras to the production’s media server. Thus ensuring that when the cello moved, the projected image also move, thus ensuring that the images are perfectly imprinted on the intended surface area with complete accuracy.

What was traditionally an aural spectacular, the element of video has now been brought in with astounding and spectacular results. As Andrew Caspari, head of digital for Speech Radio and Classical Music at BBC, said in a behind-the-scenes video interview: “Things that might be going on in the minds of the listener are all encompassed in how you view the musical instrument itself.”

Read the press release from 59 Productions.

Image caption: Sol Gabetta and 59 Productions © BBC and Sarah Jeyne