Indie Band Love in the Circus Explores Now-Inexpensive 3D Imaging at CES

Music can be as much about the visuals as it is about the sound. Among the more intriguing demonstrations of this at this year's Consumer Electronics Show was a video display in the Sony booth from an independent band called Love in the Circus.

Forget holograms. The Los Angeles based band used projection imaging to create a live stage that evokes a Cirque du Soleil-esque setting, wrapping custom animations around a physical stage set.

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The technique, called 3D projection mapping, has been used by electronic dance musicians, including Amon Tobin during his "ISAM" tour last summer, to turn the live stage into a psychedelic, futuristic metropolis. It involves using computer graphics to create a three-dimensional map of the stage environment, much like in a computer game. The designer then makes computer graphics textures and animations for the stage, treating stage surfaces like polygons in a video game.

Click here to check out a video that the group made to explain how they did it.

Love in the Circus took the process a step further by repurposing the visual assets created for the stage into their new music video, "Inside." You can see the results of their experiments in the following video.

Chris Brickley, the band's guitarist, said the whole process took three weeks and would have cost $150,000 if it weren't for Sony, which donated the cameras and video editing software, and Pearl Media Productions, which helped the band design the visuals.

But as technology rides down that cost curve, and professional grade cameras come within reach of regular consumers, Brickleyexpects that 3D projection mapping could become a standard tool for performing artists in all genres.

"It's a very powerful technology that didn't really exist five years ago," he said. "Within a couple of years, the cost will be low enough that just about anybody can do it."