When one thinks of a music festival, the main attraction is generally the live sounds generated by the act(s) one wants to see and hear. That may not be the case at the extraordinary Electric Forest Music Festival – a four-day event held at Rothbury, Michigan’s Double JJ Ranch and the repurposed tree farm known as Sherwood Forest. Thanks to the work of New Vision Productions’ Jasper Mosher and the Epson projectors his team employed, Sherwood Forest was transformed into a whimsical wonderland of psychedelic light and color highlighting more than 10 hand-painted installations custom-designed to accentuate performances and atmosphere.
“Our attraction to the Electric Forest production as well as the projection mapping field in general, is that it’s a unique opportunity to create something special and present it in a way that most people never thought possible,” said Mosher. “There is no atmosphere more hospitable to this inspirational feeling than the staging area of this particular event. In the weeks leading up to the festival, the forest is full of super interesting artists from all over the world, all working together to set up their installation and bring the forest to life. This collective energy seems to amplify everyone’s creativity, and it just makes a really cool space for everyone to do their thing. How we choose to choreograph our effects is based largely on how we perceive the personality of the artwork within each individual installation. Our intention is to create a digital soul that complements the original art while maintaining the magical vibe the forest already has going on. Our use of the Epson brand projectors has been our best means of bringing these goals to fruition.”
In addition to scrapping closed wireless networks after competing with signals from 50,000+ cellular devices, Mosher and his team were faced with the challenge of mounting more than 40 of those projectors onto swaying trees over 50 feet in the air with no surrounding infrastructure. After dedicated trial and error, everything was successfully set up to run New Vision’s digitally rendered original content controlled by Resolume software in the wilderness of the Sherwood Forest for one entire month. Mosher believes it to be their best results yet.
“We have used many brands of projectors over the years, and nothing seems to hold up as well or deliver the same final product as Epson does,” he added. “While I could speak volumes on the technical advantages of Epson over other brands, the main factor is the vibrance of their projected colors. We have learned the hard way that when other brands advertise their projectors as having 3K, 5K, or even 10,000 lumens of light output, what they are referring to is their measured output of white light. Epson measures their light output in color brightness, and the resulting difference in image quality is night and day. This was our first year being able to use exclusively Epson brand projectors at Electric Forest and the results were nothing short of incredible.”
And although the 2020 Electric Forest Festival was canceled due to COVID-19 along with a host of other in-person events, 2021 is still on track to continue raising the bar for digital installations and imaginative projection mapping. Check out the video below to see the projections in action: