Jonathan Hamilton is a senior lecturer and researcher in Graphic Design at Nottingham Trent University, UK. Hamilton’s major past projects include; April 2018 to present Hamilton, commenced work on Paul Brown “Communities of Design project “co-leading with theatre design expert Kate Burnett. The Paul Brown project to date has focused on Brown’s studio practice; the studio practitioners; the artefacts made in the studio. Hamilton used emerging and established technologies, including 360 video, photogrammetry, laser scanning for VR and close-up macro video to capture these three themes. The first 3D captured VR version of one of Paul Browns model boxes “Pelleas et Mellisande”, Glyndebourne Festival of Opera 1999, was presented by Hamilton to the OISTAT Research Commission at the Prague Quadrennial 2019. Hamilton has also been collaborating with John Winters, Project Draughtsperson National Theatre, UK, on 3D capture methodologies and techniques for theatre and opera model boxes, a toolkit for production professionals and archivists. Hamilton produced the first VR prototype of Browns Studio from 3,000 high res photographs of the space. The full-scale VR user walkable space was tested by 49 theatre professionals at OISTAT@50 international conference Cardiff 2018. This VR studio was presented at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London as a contribution to London Craft Week 2019. Video and audio works from the project formed part of the project selected to represent Wales, UK, in the Prague Quadrennial 2019 Fragments exhibition. In the 1990s Hamilton was one of Europe’s leading collage illustrators combining 3-D elements, paint and 5 x 4 film photography. Producing work for a large range of Illustration commissions; magazines, advertising, book covers & poster designs for a range of national and international clients. These collage artworks had many material similarities to the work produced by theatre/opera designers’ model boxes, giving Hamilton a unique insight into capturing these artefacts.
Abstract title: THE MODEL BOX IN VIRTUAL FOCUS
Theatre and opera professionals frequently express the importance of the physical 3D model box for its absolute encapsulation of the designers’ vision (Margolies, E. 2018. Playing with Scale: London, exhibitionNational Theatre). Model boxes become an important design reference point especially for two audiences;
The various professional departments inside a production team
Those wanting to study an archive to understand a designer’s body of work
For the various departments in a professional production it is not always possible to access the often large, fragile and financially valuable 3D model box as a reference point to work from. For students, researchers and emerging designers, access to professional model boxes for study is extremely limited. The model boxes are usually held by commissioning production companies for reference in their revivals or future productions. Rarely are they retained by the designer, instead stored in different cities across the globe. For both these audiences photographs featuring dramatic lighting do exist of the model box designs, but they only show limited two-dimensional viewpoints of the three-dimensional design, limiting the communicationof the 3D form. This paper outlines a project the author co-led with a project daughtsperson at the National Theatre, London. The investigation sought to help these two audiences by using contemporary 3D capture of opera and theatre model boxes for viewing on virtual reality platforms for wider access to model box designs. Two methodologies were used; firstly, to capture the structure and material qualities in an authentic and sensitive way to faithfully record the designer’s textures, surfaces and wide variety of materials. Secondly to find a method of capture that was of high quality, of low cost and with ease of use, so capture could be made by anyone in a professional production team. These two approaches create new ways to experience a model box archive and seek to help opera and theatre companies in their production processes. The paper focuses on 3D capturing a number of model boxes created by the recently deceased international opera/theatre designer Paul Brown, and arises from a project, “Communities of Design” lead by theatre design expert Kate Burnett and the author.