From San Francisco studio Bot & Dolly, this has got to be a new standard in projection mapping. Robotic arms move projection screens around, creating very convincing 3D illusions. The whole time I was watching it I kept thinking of the Arthur C. Clarke quote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” and there it was on the screen at the end.
There is a recursive real-vs-reproduced phenomemon at work here. The illusion works, mostly, because the camera is also on a robotic arm, allowing the point of view to align with the projection’s perspective. Standing anywhere else would break the illusion (like in magic). So while we are in awe that this work of art is being captured 100% “in camera” (no post-processing), the whole work of art does not in fact exist outside of the camera. When you compare it to a magic trick–a fair comparison given the quote they show at the end–it actually comes out looking a little weak. If Lance Burton‘s tricks only worked if you stood in one place, would we think he was so great? Not conceptually any different from David Copperfield making the Statue of Liberty disappear. I felt swindled when I watched it live on TV and have always hated him for that.