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Project Type: Ceremony 
Category: Event

Client: 3AQUA Entertainment  
Year: 2019
Location: Taiper Arena


#Laser
#rollingshutter
#audiovisualization

#webscraping
#opticalflow
#stagesimulator

G.E.M. - 30th Golden Melody Awards


In 2019, which happened to be the 30th Anniversary of the Golden Melody Awards, we were very honored to be invited by 3AQUA Entertainment to participate in the performance production this year. They hoped that there’s the possibility for Ultra Combos Team to import some technical elements.

The theme to be carried out in that segment was “Streaming,” where Chinese superstar G.E.M. interpreted the current TOP 10 most-viewed Chinese music videos on YouTube. With streaming as the theme, there’s no doubt that “Digital,” “Technology,” and “Internet” will be used as the main imagery. The music styles of these ten songs are quite diverse, where a larger proportion is love songs. Having to properly arrange technology as the core form and style into the performance is a subject matter that needed to be well thought out and delicately designed.

Golden Melody Awards (GMA) is an indicative “Ceremony,” where its nature is very different than a “Performance” and a “Concert.” There are a lot of details and restrictions to be aware of and the schedule is quite tight. Fortunately, through communication with Visual Director Guozuo Xu and various collaborations with 3AQUA, in addition to getting advice on visual designs for the performance, we also maintained room to play with technology.






Before having begun the project, we hoped that through the production process, what we see is what we get


── the construction of a tool that is closest to the live experience
The stage used large wavy LED frames as its theme and its irregular form makes it hard for the production personnel to imagine how it looks from different locations. In addition, the resolution is equivalent to seven Full HDs, so any modifications would cost the visual personnel a lot of time. Therefore, it was necessary for us to have a way to effectively cut down on the number of back-and-forth adjustments.

Therefore, we designed a simulator, where the content produced by After Effects is immediately transmitted into the 3D game engine Unity, where, similar to playing a first person shooting game, the visual worker can walk around the GMA site and view how the visual presentation looks like.







Twilight

You Exist In My Song


── Composed of diffused light in the air
  • Laser Projector + Rolling Shutter

A strong visual effect filled with digital attributes, which also matched the style of the song, was needed for the opening. After various researches and discussions with 3AQUA, in the end, we decided to use a relevant technique, “Laser Projector” + “Rolling Shutter,” to produce a light screen that surrounds the performer in the space.

This effect is a combination of two principles, one of which is the method of producing graphics with a laser projector and the other is the rolling shutter.



To avoid misunderstanding, here, laser projector refers to the laser projectors that are used to make light shows for general performances, because projectors that use lasers as their light source are also called laser projectors. It operates by a combination of shooting laser beams through mirrors rotating in different directions to achieve high-speed horizontal and vertical movements. Therefore, when we see the laser drawing out a horizontal line, it is actually a persistence of vision produced by a point moving at a high speed back and forth from left to right.

As for rolling shutter, when the photosensitive element of a digital camera is CMOS, one way of using shutter is by controlling the photosensitive element with electronic signals. It would sense row by row, so it would produce the time difference between the top and bottom. This type of electronic shutter will produce a distorted effect when filming fast-moving objects.

With these two attributes and the fine design of the camera and laser content, this effect which can be seen only through “digital transmission” is produced.

In addition, if rolling shutter lacks pre-stage testing, its final effect is completely unpredictable. We are especially grateful for the planning and coordination of 3AQUA, the testing facility and equipment assistance of ERA Television, and technical revision and equipment assistance of laser consultant 陳逸明.





以後別做朋友


── Instant visual effect using optical flow calculations
  • Optical Flow

First, we’d like to thank 3AQUA for assisting us in producing the visual effect for these two songs, 演員 and 以後別做朋友, when we were in a terrible fix, so that we could focus on working with laser and the rest of the songs.

During this song, the director has set for the monitor to show the on-set live broadcast of G.E.M. and hoped to layer some effects that have the same texture as the background visuals. After studying the performance of G.E.M., we realized that she is quite expressive with her body and imagery produced by detecting motion would suit very well. However, there are numerous performances on the GMA stage and the mechanisms are quite complex, setting up any type of sensor would be a huge burden; therefore, we could only process it directly from the live screen. We felt that the Optical Flow calculation method would be the best solution. However, because we were unable to predict the clothing, background, and camera position during the actual ceremony, so, during the early stages, we tested using the other performance segments from YouTube. Fortunately, we obtained pretty good effects during GMA Ceremony.

Using performance segments to test the optical flow effect
Credit: KKBOX






Love Confession


── Collect huge amounts of data from the Internet
  • Web Crawler

This song is a segment where the change in the music style is a lot more obvious and, up until the production, it was also the song with highest views on YouTube. The director designed for the distinguishing feature of these 10 songs having over 100 million hits to be presented in this segment. In addition to the very direct and massive rise of running numbers, another important trait of this new media, the streaming platform, is the participation of the comments from the audience. In the design of the image, we hoped to layer a barrage of comments.

The technician designed a program that could convert and save comments as pictures, which greatly shortened the production schedule of the visual production personnel.




The team took the 11,480 comments up until June 11th, 2019, and the information is automatically arranged, converted, and saved in a picture format.




癡情玫瑰花


── Reassemble fonts
  • Variable Font

In this group of songs to be performed, this “癡情玫瑰花,” which has an extreme connection locally, is a song with a special existence. It made everyone face the vulgar and amorous force. This was also the first time G.E.M. performed a song in Taiwanese at GMA. Due to the aforementioned many unique qualities, we decided to place the vulgar yet powerful lyrics onto the background of the stage and to use the most complicated and vivid color scheme of the entire performance, so as to maximize its vulgar and amorous nature.

Under the original font technology, to produce brightly-colored text animation, a lot of work hours were needed to break down the strokes and components. However, the JingXiHei VF font used was developed by Arphic Technology, and we could freely adjust the width and weight of characters, among which the strokes were pre-broken down, therefore, we were able to quickly make fine adjustments to the content of individual strokes and assemble them into the ever-changing dynamic display, putting together the approachable and brightly-colored performance effects that were seen in the end.






Stranger In The North


── Accurate perspective and audio visualization
  • Accurate Perspective

This song came after 癡情玫瑰花 and the change in emotion was quite huge, so, visually, we needed a larger turn. Therefore, we picked laser that would penetrate the venue, break the space barrier, and connect with the imagery, while also kicking off for the following “Inner World.”

The concept of “Inner World” comes from the text that we got the keyword streaming from in the beginning:

Carefully understanding and imagining, streaming is a concept that is both beautiful and crazy. In ancient times, when someone wants to communicate his idea, the fastest way is probably with a pigeon. Nowadays, idea comes in a new form. It no longer is a figure drawn by hand, but is often undistorted image and sound. Idea takes a new stance. Through the flow of non-visible information, it moves forward in the speed of light, like a portal which infinitely compresses the distance between two places. And next to you and me, we just need a device that can connect to the Internet, and this door can be easily opened to connect each other. There is a new city, a new world, behind the door.

The primary task of establishing the world behind the door is that certain cameras are able to film the correct perspective and effect. The simulator is once again used. Inside the simulated Taipei Arena venue, we set up a camera in the same position as that during the actual broadcast. The visual personnel only needed to design the images in this perspective and the simulator will automatically convert the images onto the LED monitor in the correct layout.




  • Audio Visualization

For this song, “Stranger In The North,” G.E.M. will be rapping by herself. As a mentor in a recent famous hip hop show, this segment will inevitably need to make the audience go wild. We decided to import audio visualization to enhance the connectivity of the visual and auditory perceptions, so the dimension of the performance can reach a higher level, while still being hooked on to this year’s theme “I SEE MUSIC.” Because the subtle changes in sound within a millisecond is very sensitive, so in order to make the connectivity between the visual and music more obvious, through filtering methods, such as Low-pass, Band-pass, and High-pass, we decomposed the sounds before using them.

In addition, we set from the beginning to import her on-site voice and produce corresponding real-time effects, so as to make her live voice even more vivid.




Video of Entire Performance







30th Golden Melody Awards



Ceremony Chief Producer: Isaac Chen
Ceremony Producers: Evan Wu, 莊佩禎, 彭佳玲
Performance Visual Coordinator: 3AQUA Entertainment
Visual Supervisor: Guozuo Xu

G.E.M. - STREAMING


Performer: G.E.M.
Visual Director: Guozuo Xu
Production Coordinator: Hsin Yi Kuo


Interactive Visual Designer & Technical Integrator: Ultra Combos
Producer: Nate Wu
Project Manager: William Liu
Creative Director: Jay Tseng
Art Director: Lynn Chiang
Visual Designers: Hauzhen Yen, Ting-An Ho, Kejyun Wu, Glenn Huang, Chianing Cao, Yohji Chen
Calculative Visual Artist: Kejyun Wu
Technical Artist: Hoba Yang
Technical Assistant: Wei-An Chen
Lighting Designers & Lighting Simulation: Dachai Chen, Xiaocheng Kuo
Laser Photography Instructor: 林寶財
Laser Technical Consultant: 陳逸明
Laser Photographer: 陳柏全
Filming Technical Consultants: 劉昇峰, 郭東洲, ERA Television



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