Son & Lumiere
France 7th August 2010
I am not sure who invented the sound and light shows, but the fact that they are also commonly known as Son & Lumiere does give thought that it may have been invented in France. The French can be very creative… I would have to check out the history on this one.
Last night I went to see a S&L in an old Manor about 10 mins away from where I am staying. Of course I could not leave without having seen it as it was billed as a really good one. It is quite common in France to have S&L shows organized during the summer holidays to entertain the tourists. Often with old historic castles as background. This old manor (400 years old) was the home of a famous French discoverer (Jacques Cartier) who tried to find an western route to China and discovered Canada in the process. The S&L tells his life story through breathtaking imagery projected on three buildings that use to be his home.
What makes S&L shows so spectacular these days is that technology has so much evolved that it no more is a dynamic show of changing colours from floodlights but a complete intelligent multi screen projection. In other words, using the buildings as the frame for projection, the latest projection techniques allow you to project anything you can imagine on a computer. In this case they used 3 synchronized projectors which seamlessly showed the story in “wide screen”. It had the same sophistication as what was seen at the recent opening ceremony for the winter Olympic Games for instances. Ships and stars projected on the buildings or people projected as moving behind windows, very realistic, yet the colours and imagery were magical and like a dream.
I have been involved in old conventional S&L shows with Philips 25 years ago, like the ones on the Pyramids of Gizeh, which where using standard floodlights with color filters. At the time it was one color, one floodlight! How far have we progressed! Whatever we can imagine can now be created. Our minds are our own limitation, the technology is there to translate our dreams….