The New York Times Magazine: Balancing Act with Lakeith Stanfield

The New York Times Magazine: Balancing Act with Lakeith Stanfield

Project Goal:

Every year, The New York Times Magazine highlights the year’s most captivating and groundbreaking performances in their series, “Great Performers.” The series features several choreographed shorts with the performers shot in traditional 2D media and published on their website. For the December 2019 issues, instead of solely 2D media they also released a hologram of actor Lakeith Stanfield dancing on an I-Beam high above Manhattan. The hologram was made available on The New York Times app, streaming in mobile AR through the user’s camera phone.

What We Did:

This was Metastage’s second project with the New York Times, so we already had a foundation for understanding the NYT app’s technical needs, and a supportive working relationship with their team. This project had the added complexity of being integrated into a virtual micro-environment that breaks through the viewer’s floor to reveal Stanfield, dancing on an I-Beam miles above Manhattan. To accomplish this effect, we gathered the exact measurements of the virtual I-Beam and made a runway on the floor of our capture stage with green tape for Stanfield to remain within. Assets were optimized for mobile streaming, small enough to play over mobile network on a smartphone.

The Result:

Bringing a performance to life in mobile AR speaks to the impression it can leave on us, and celebrates the art form as an homage to the immersion of theater. The release continues to make an impact as an innovative and fanciful forum of theater, dance, and environment altering technology.

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The power of human presence, in virtual 3D space.

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