Le Puy du Fou relies on Modulo Kinetic for Le Mime et L’Étoile, its new flagship show
For its 2023 season, the Puy du Fou park has inaugurated a 2,000-seat theater, host to its brand new show Le Mime et L’Étoile (The Mime and the Star). Created to celebrate the beginnings of cinema, Le Mime et l’Étoile is an exceptional production taking place in a mobile Belle Époque style decor, with +120 actors and dancers on stage. A state-of-the-art audiovisual system lies behind the park’s new super production, with video projection on mobile sets, lighting, spatialized sound and Modulo Pi’s Modulo Kinetic media server solution.
Inaugurated at the beginning of April and the latest production at the Puy du Fou, Le Mime et L’Étoile is a show of all superlatives. More than 20 million euros were invested by the park in this new creation paying tribute to the beginnings of cinema.
A 16m-high, 3805sqm Belle Époque building was built to meet the requirements of the scenography. In front of a 2,000 spectators grandstand, an early 20th century film studio is being recreated. The director of a black-and-white silent film dreams of bringing color and sound to his creation. Throughout a love story between Garance, a cinema star, and Mimosa, a gypsy mime, the audience witnesses the artistic and technical breakthroughs that marked the seventh art at the beginning of the last century.
To give the show a true cinematic aspect, the creative teams at Puy du Fou wanted Le Mime et L’Étoile to be perceived as a long tracking shot. With spectators seated in a fixed grandstand, it is the stage and its sets that move throughout the 30-minute show.
The building was specially designed to accommodate this reverse tracking effect. While the public faces a 30m stage opening, nearly 2km and 140 tons of scenery pass before their eyes. In front of moving house facades and store fronts, the characters of Garance and Mimosa perform on moving walkways invisible to the audience, surrounded by 120 other actors and dancers.
To complete the immersion in the world of the time, a state-of-the-art audiovisual system has been installed with video projection, lighting, and spatialized sound, all synced real-time with the movements of the sets and characters on stage.
Charly Landreau, Video and Special Effects Manager at Puy du Fou, explains:
“The brief was to have a complete mapping of the sets over 30m wide by 10m high, but all on moving sets. We also needed to project the texts of the show in the style of silent films, as well as track the actors like a follow spot so that the video effects would be in sync with the staging.”
To project onto the massive set, 4 x Insight 4K video projectors from Digital Projection were installed delivering a total of 80,000 lumens. The projectors are powered by Modulo Pi’s Modulo Kinetic media server, used to ensure perfectly synchronized mapping with the moving sets on stage.
Charly Landreau comments: “As users of the Modulo Kinetic system since 2016 on Le Dernier Panache show, which is also running in the Puy du Fou España park, right from the start of the project we called on the experts at Modulo Pi who had the answers to our questions and the responsiveness needed to develop new features useful to the project”
The Modulo Kinetic system set-up consists of a main Kinetic Designer workstation and its spare, and 2 x Kinetic V-Node servers equipped with 2 x 4K outputs, with an additional spare unit.
The 3D model of the sets was imported into Kinetic Designer to create the dynamic mapping required for the show. “The moving sets represented nearly 2km in length, making 3D modeling a real challenge for video tracking” notes Charly Landreau.
The media server and its 3D calibration tools were used to map the 3D decor. In addition, Modulo Kinetic receives in OSC the position information sent by the machinery used to move the facades and storefronts. The media server is therefore able to know the exact position of each set element in order to calculate mapping and soft edge in real time and ensure perfectly synchronized projection on the moving sets.
Furthermore, particular care was given to the colors to ensure that they reflect the imagery of the period as closely as possible. Careful work was carried out on the nuances of black and white, and the emergence of color throughout the story.
Puy du Fou’s artistic and technical teams were able to rely on Modulo Kinetic’s compositing tools. “The Graph Editor made it possible to add old film or mask effects, for example” explains Charly Landreau. Thanks to these functions embedded in the media server, it was possible to enhance the projected film to the desired rendering directly on site.
In addition, the movements and position of sixteen of the main actors and dancers are tracked in real time throughout the show using Naostage’s tracking solution. This way, a link is established with automatic light tracking, the L-ISA spatial sound system from L-Acoustics, as well as video. Modulo Kinetic retrieves position information from Naostage in PosiStage, enabling it to “track the actors like a follow spot so that video effects are synchronized with the staging.”
To harmonize all the technologies used on Le Mime et L’Étoile, the show is timecode- synchronized.
Modulo Kinetic‘s show control tools were also used to control elements of the audiovisual system, in particular the video projectors, the matrix switcher, and the lighting console. Thanks to Modulo Kinetic’s UI Designer function, custom user panels were created: “The panel part makes it easier for show operators to handle the system” adds Charly Landreau.
Familiar with Modulo Kinetic since 2016 and supported by programmers from So Warp, the Puy du Fou technical team was able to rely on the media server throughout the project and be ready for the grand opening in early April.
“Modulo Kinetic offers the advantage of being a comprehensive software with a vast range of possibilities thanks to its many functions. The 3D part is a major asset which allows us to program offline and save precious time during the programming phases” underlines Charly Landreau.
“It’s always a pleasure to work with the Modulo Pi teams, not forgetting So Warp, who are always on the cutting edge and striving for perfection.”
As for all its shows, reliability was a must for Puy du Fou, as the park broke its attendance record with 2.5 million visitors as of September 5, 2 months before the end of the 2023 season. “The hardware part of Modulo Kinetic is another important element in the chain and offers reliability already proven on previous installations” reports Charly Landreau. “With this show set to be performed up to 8 times a day and almost 900 times this year, it’s crucial to count on the stability and reliability of the entire system.”