If you’re anything like us, you were excited to see what the 86th Academy Awards would look like from a visuals and production standpoint. While the production appeared simple, it created an environment of class and sophistication that lent itself as a nod to years gone by. The ceremony took the audience back to the start of the Oscars when the night was all about the actors, directors, writers, and those that make the movies happen and not simply about the wow factor of a well rehearsed show.

Simplicity – how to use technology to create an environment that doesn’t distract

We talk a lot about environment and technology. One of the big challenges is using technology to support and enhance a production. More often than not, technology is, whether knowingly or unknowingly, used in a manner that distracts or diminishes the production. What we loved about this year’s Oscars show was how the production elements were simply a supporting role to the main show. The producers and directors made a conscious decision to include quality technical elements that framed the focal point of the event: the nominees and winners.

When they did use an element (the main video wall for example) as a prominent piece, it tied in perfectly for that moment. It was used to tell a story.

The scene above during Pink’s tribute to the classic film, The Wizard of Oz, was perhaps the most detailed and fast paced video of the evening. It introduced a new element to the show, a scrim that was being projected through that gave the allusion of the artist actually being in the movie with the characters. It was simple and subtle, but it made the story the focal point at that moment and not the artist. In a night all about films and movies, this was a brilliant strategy to keep that theme consistent during a powerful song performance.

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Color Theory – Frozen (the cold moment of the show, for temperature not mood)

One of the big things that I’ve learned over the past few months of being here at TripleWide Media is the effect that color has on everything. Think about it, a cloudy overcast grey day just doesn’t feel as warm or inviting as a bright sunny day. I always feel colder on the overcast days then I do on bright sunny days, regardless of temperature. If you’ve noticed, for the most part, the first few images in this post have been bright colors with hues of orange, yellow, and gold. And then we came to this. Emotion and energy is enhanced through the use of color. For some this was simply a cooling of the overall temperature of the night. But for others, like the 5 year old girl who’s favorite song is being performed, this is the highlight of their night and the emotional connection is magnified.

It literally made me feel cold last night watching the show. Of course this was exactly what the producers were aiming for as the artist belted out the hit song from the motion picture Frozen. Color theory works. When used properly to help steer the audience where a producer or director wants them to go, well placed and timed color changes can make a good production great.

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Technical Aspects

  • LED Walls
  • Media Servers – Green Hippotizer
  • Moving incandescent light panels
    • 1826 lights
      • combo of 150 and 200 watts per bulb
    • 394 Dimmers
    • 800 Amps
    • Unsure of exact automation, but we’re leaning towards it being done with a Kinesys Automation system
  • Projection
    • We believe they were either 20 or 30k Christie or Barco PJ’s


Power of social media – Ellen’s tweet literally broke twitter!

Before we go, I would be amiss if I didn’t discuss the magnitude of social media. We are huge proponents of using social media and using it well. The host, Ellen, literally broke twitter with her desire to break the all-time retweet record. At over 3.1 million retweets, this smashed the previous record by nearly 4 times that of the previous record holder. Why do we bring this up? It was another moment of connecting the audience with the focus of the night, the nominees and winners. With a simple photo, the show became personal to over 3 million viewers. The audience became engaged and connected in a deeper way.


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Tim Southwick

Author Tim Southwick

Tim is the Brand Manager for TripleWide Media. He has 10 years experience in the event management world and has a strong desire to see visuals and media used to increase the user experience.

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