The other day I stumbled across something that simply blew my mind. A multiscreen setup using old projectors and multiple screens from 1959! That’s crazy. In turn it ended up to be the first multiscreen setup!
The event was the American Modernism the National Exhibition in Moscow and they setup a display that was called “Glimpses of the United States” which I think is quite comical that the first multiscreen was actually another country trying to show off the technical advancements of the Uited States.
The first multiscreen setup ever:
It was accepted with massive praise. Over three million people eventually saw the display and Time Magazine, along with the Wall Street Journal said it was just the hit of the expo. Using 7 projectors they images represented the life and times of the American life and gave people around the world a glimpse into what it was like to live, work and be in the United States.
The team behind the whole thing was Charles and Ray Eames. They were skilled furniture makers and artists of their day. They thought well ahead of their time and they pushed the envelope in the film world. His premiere design, as it would soon be recognized and emulated throughout the world, was the seven 20’x30′ screens you see in the picture above.
This first multiscreen setup set the stage for filmmakers and the like to attempt using multiple camera angles in film at the same time, to think differently about how film was presented and to explore new and fresh ideas to invite people into an environment.
Throughout the performance, various video clips would appear and disappear, giving you a glimpse of an environment of the united states. That’s the thing… the first multiscreen setup involved inviting people into a story much bigger than themselves… it started with the cosmos, and ended with images of families and communities. IT’s like Eames took the people at this expo around the world and into the homes of the people in America.
Here you can see the rough sketch of the scrip the videos they used during the production:
So there you have it. In fact MTV awards did a setup not too different from this one in 2006. They used 6 screens at Radio Music City hall. Front projecting onto various picture frames. Ideas circulate, and it’s neat to look back into 1959 and see that it’s not that different from something someone did in 2006. So you can see how excited I was when I stumbled upon this first multiscreen setup a few weeks ago.
MTV Redesigns First Multiscreen Design: