Gary McCann

Exquisitely detailed backdrops making My Fair Lady boom & bloom

How Big Image helped make the craftsmanship of opera house set design modern without losing any sense of quality.

Imagine making something like this map so big and beautiful with attention to details so intricate that every street name could be read and no seams could be seen.

Celebrated set and costume designer for theatre and opera Gary McCann has been incorporating printed elements and drops in his designs for ten years, explaining that the role of the scenographer has evolved. The instances when every centimeter of anything on stage is handmade throughout, is still marvelous, but the possibilities for a modern scenographer embracing new technology are also endless. And often, time is a constraint. Digital is possible without compromising the need for perfection in tone and depth of color.

No detail is too small when making it big. 

Creativity with no boundaries

McCann often finds himself working on up to ten productions at the same time. He explains that being able to execute some of these without the need to travel minimizes the amount of time he needs to spend on each. On occasion he works on a timeline that has him designing a scenery and seeing it installed in the theatre – all within three weeks. In projects like these, when timing is crucial and deadlines short, his whole process might be altogether digital.

“My design process has been revolutionized, all through 3D digital modeling and photoshop, so having the option to keep the creation of the design digital throughout means that use of print technology is consistent. It’s logical to use print to execute the design when it’s been an entirely digital process. With Big Image I know I will get what I want, I know it can happen in a compressed time frame and with no need of traveling.”

Perfection visible in even the tiniest detail

For Teatro di San Carlo’s production of My Fair Lady, McCann had found an extraordinarily detailed map of London that was printed in full size (18 metres by 10 metres) the resolution was detailed to the point where one could read the name of any street. For a scenic artist, the process of creating this would take three years.

“There are no limitations as to what I can design, I can create something that’s covered in some sort of 1960s optical art, with tiny little squares all waving around in a swirl, and you print that in a day whereas a scenic artist would go crazy with a design like that. Printing means the artwork can be anything. Anything you can create digitally can be reproduced. Today the world is my oyster and I consider Big Image part of my team.”

To learn more about our work with set designers for theatre and opera, or how we can help take your idea from imagination to installation – get in touch!