How real-world play shaped Sony’s CES

As Sony pres­i­dent Kaz Hi­rai spelt out the com­pany’s vi­sion for the fu­ture dur­ing Jan­uary’s CES in Las Ve­gas, few in at­ten­dance re­alised that the an­i­ma­tion play­ing out on a gi­ant screen be­hind him was be­ing cre­ated in re­al­time. But be­hind the scenes, that was the chal­lenge the com­pany’s mar­ket­ing team had set it­self – and all it needed in or­der to make it hap­pen was a mo­torised 4K cam­era rig, a very long ta­ble, scrolls of paper, piles of props (pic­tured on these pages), and some fast-mov­ing brains and hands to make it all play to­gether nicely.

“As we worked through the scrolls, and matched it all up with Kaz’s speech, we jammed to­gether on ideas that would bring the art­work to life and re­ally make it a live per­for­mance,” ex­plains Rex Crowle of Me­dia Mol­e­cule, who worked with events com­pany Stungun Pro­duc­tions to make it all hap­pen. Watch­ing it play out, it looked like a job ex­e­cuted with pre­ci­sion from start to fin­ish, but Crowle ad­mits that the team ran into a few mi­nor hitches. “Be­ing at the artis­tic end of the scale, it wasn’t un­til just be­fore the fi­nal event that we no­ticed the word ‘ex­pe­ri­ence’ was mis­spelled!” he laughs. “So a quick bit of real-world cut-and-paste with scis­sors and paper had to hap­pen to add that into the art­work. But we didn’t try to hide the edit – we made it de­lib­er­ately bold and stuck-on, [be­cause] it was more in keep­ing with the over­all ap­proach.”

The re­sult? A unique CES key­note that felt as much hand­crafted as it was fo­cused on hard tech. Dare we ask for some­thing as in­no­va­tive for Sony’s E3 press event in June?

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