Goo and the living chain – beehive theatre engineering

As we countdown to rehearsals, the production team are in a huddle of deeply technical discussion about set design, including our beehive honeycomb cells.

Drawing of the Bee Detective set with hexagon shapes containing bee images.

Three of these hexagon-shaped cells will screen the animation and subtitles (to help bring the hive alive, and tell some visual jokes, but also to make it accessible to deaf kids and deaf mums and dads)

The team have discussed whether to paint the hexagon surface with “goo”, a specially made reflective paint for projecting onto. But of all the surface options, Bob, the Audio Visual Builder reckons, “matt white ply seems to be the production manager’s weapon of choice.”

The animation projection talk is VERY technical. Here’s an example (look away now if you are allergic to maths):

“The 2 hexagons need to be combined into a 2048 x 768 file (see hexagons 2s up) as that is what is played out of the show mac then split to the 2 projectors. I have tested pro-res (LT) @80 with 5 uncompressed audio channels @ 44.1 and it runs smooth of the show mac so 2048 x 768 pro res LT @80 are your magic numbers.”

Ok you can look again now. Woohoo! Easy peasy pal, no problemo. I’ve got my pencil in my mouth and my finger on the calculator. I’ll have that sorted for you in a jiffy.

This deeply technical collaboration and set design chatter reminds me of the way bees build a new hive. They form a “living chain” that looks a bit like a dangling daisy chain. It’s like a web of bees all standing on each other’s shoulders, holding hands, and doing a circus trick, whilst building a honeycomb live-work complex. Some are like engineers, and some are like gymnasts.

The start of this ace bee documentary shows how bees construct a hive.

The YouTube subtitles are pretty good on it. Don’t forget to check out our animated trailer and share the buzz far and wide!

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