The White House celebrated Halloween with Trick or Treat festivities for close to 5,000 military families and area school children and the first projection mapping of the landmark residence. WorldStage was honored to participate in the event supporting the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in illuminating the South Portico of the White House.
"We do a good bit of work with UNCSA," says WorldStage project manager TJ Donoghue, one of two UNCSA alumni from WorldStage who took part in the show. "Norman Coates [director of lighting Design at the School of Design and Production and the founder of the Winston-Salem Light Project called me and told me about this opportunity with the White House, so of course we jumped at the chance to be involved. It was great to work on this groundbreaking project with the UNCSA team of faculty, students, and alumni, and with event producers Jonathan Deull and Philip Solomon of Way2Much Entertainment."
The Trick or Treat event began after school and continued until early evening. President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama distributed treats as 85 costumed acrobats and entertainers transform the South Lawn into a magical Enchanted Forest.. As darkness fell, the White House was illuminated with holiday-colored lights and gobos and a 4.5-minute video loop was mapped onto the iconic columns and balcony of the South Portico.
Created by UNCSA alumni, the video consisted of fun graphical content that played in a loop until 11 pm and was visible to passers-by Frankenstein-style electricity crawled up and down the portico's columns; sparks made the columns appear to sway. A gigantic full moon rose and set; ghosts darted back and forth and huge black cats stalked the White House. Tumbling Jack O'Lanterns piled up between the pillars. Skeletal bare trees were outlined against a purple landscape where bats flew and spooky eyes glowed. Even presidential dogs Bo and Sunny made an appearance before the orange, white and blue star-spangled ending.
The WorldStage contingent of Donoghue, fellow UNCSA alumnus and senior technology specialist Michael Kohler and senior projectionist Dennis Alfonso traveled to Washington on Wednesday to join the UNCSA faculty and students in setting up equipment for the Friday event. WorldStage provided a pair of d3 4x4pro with VFC card option for the five-output show. d3 Technologies sent specialist Zak Haywood to man the media server. Nationwide supplied five Christie HD20K-J series projectors, which were mounted on scaffolding on the South Lawn.
"Everything went well and everyone was very appreciative of the lighting and projection mapping," Donoghue reports. The team got a treat of their own when they had a brief opportunity to meet the President and First Lady before the event got underway.
WorldStage Inc., the company created by the merger of Scharff Weisberg Inc and Video Applications Inc, continues a thirty-year legacy of providing clients the widest variety of entertainment technology coupled with conscientious and imaginative engineering services. WorldStage provides audio, video and lighting equipment and services to the event, theatrical, broadcast and brand experience markets nationally and internationally.
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