The Wiz: ESJ

Performing Arts at ESJ are unparalleled. The school boasts a state-of-the-art theatre, complete with fly system, orchestra pit and best of class lighting and audiovisual equipment. As such, the theatre program often makes use of video project effects in its scenic designs.

In 2017 for “The Wiz”, Claymaker took on the task of developing a complete visual architecture that supported the visions of Director Taylor Lee Horne, Technical Director Megan Elsila Hunt and Scenic Designer Johnny Pettigrew.

Keeping with the show’s ethos, we used the urban core of downtown Jacksonville for our principal photography of background plates.  Alleyways, industrial parks, graffiti murals and textured walls all found their way into our “land of Oz”. 

A favorite element of the show was the animated twister.  As the sun sets over the plains of Kansas, a sinister vortex of wind and debris slithers forward from the distance.  We used an existing fluid simulation we had, created with Fume FX, and we composited some stock elements of dust and debris.  We also added multiple layers of particle systems with standard Adobe After Effects plugins.

One of the more interesting challenges for the special effects was the timing of The Wiz head.  We filmed the leading man on blue screen, distorted his head and tinted him green in post.  The real challenge however was coordinating the timing of the video projection, practical set pieces and the live cast and orchestra.  To solve that, we embedded a click track in the video and fed it the conductor.  With that and the perfectly timed calls of the show’s Stage Manager, we had a spectacle before us!

ClientEpiscopal School of JacksonvilleServicesVisual Architecture, 3D Animation Year2017Linkwww.esj.org

The Wiz

how Claymaker created visual architecture 

how we helped an audience become mesmerized

3D Animation

one of the most exciting projects for ESJ’s ‘The Wiz’ was creating an animated 3D twister to transport the audience back to Kansas

visual architecture

Claymaker’s primary role for ‘The Wiz’ was to focus on creating visually-stunning, digital architecture to compliment the quality of the overall production

blue screen

to bring an extra dose of magic to the design, we implemented blue screen technology for complex projections throughout the play


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