High Brightness Projectors Create Spectacular Water Projection Display at Bellagio Hotel Event

Last month, a spectacular live Kabuki performance took place at the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. The event was the first in a two-part series that aim to celebrate the 400-year-old tradition of Kabuki, while introducing the art to new audiences. The next Japan Kabuki Festival is slated for May 2016 at Las Vegas’s MGM Grand.

Of course, putting on a show that would be impressive against the famously spectacular Vegas Strip was no easy feat. Shochiku, a renowned global Kabuki producer and owner of the Kabukiza Theatre in Tokyo, tapped experts ranging from fountain designers, choreographers and visual experience designers to concept and create a dazzling display that would marry the classical Japanese dance-drama with new high-tech elements. Tokyo artist collective teamLab designed the content for the 30-minute presentation.

One aspect of the creative vision was to use the Bellagio Fountains as a screen. However, to do that, they needed projection technology that could create bright images onto an unconventional backdrop: moving water. Panasonic, which has supported some of the largest scale blending and projection mapping events in the world, had the perfect solution.

The scenery was created using water screen projection, a high-tech visual technique in which an illusion is created from light beaming through an imperfect wall of water making it suddenly appear multi-dimensional. The ambitious imagery was created using 15 of Panasonic’s PT-DZ21KU 3-Chip DLP™ projectors, the same model used to light up the 2012 London Olympic Opening Ceremony. The powerful, compact 20,000 lumen projector has a 10,000:1 contrast ratio and WUXGA resolution, meaning it was capable of creating vivid, clear imagery against the enormous backdrop, which reached nearly 60 feet in height and 984 feet in length.

The final show featured larger-than-life animation and water choreography in the Kabuki masterpiece entitled “Koi-Tsukami,” or “Fight with a Carp,” during which imagery of the large fish and turbulent sea were projected onto the Bellagio Hotel Fountains in a battle scene. The event starred famous Kabuki actors Somegoro Ichikawa and Yonekichi Nakamura, who performed on a 165-foot staged constructed inside Lake Bellagio.

Massive crowds gathered to watch the jaw-dropping performance, and both social and traditional media buzzed about the spectacle. Viewers who wanted to see the event were even able to tune in remotely via a Periscope live-stream.

Get a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes setup, exclusive partner interviews and the final show in the below video!