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Interview: disguise Media Server Expert Naoki Ogawa

These days, audiences want everything to be more cinematic, even events that have nothing to do with cinema. In particular, live music has become highly competitive in its visuals, especially with regard to industry-leading acts.

Yes, the music needs to be played perfectly every single time, but audiences also need to be absolutely wowed by the lighting, media, and visual effects that complement the music.

This is complex work, and it often requires some heavy-duty computing power.

In the case of Naoki Ogawa, that power exists in the form of the disguise media server, an entire system dedicated to creating seamless real-time visual effects for concerts and other live performances.

Ogawa is a certified disguise operator, programmer, and trainer, previously based in Japan. He’s often acted as a kind of ambassador for disguise, showing others all the fantastic things the server can accomplish.

Our brief conversation with Ogawa was the perfect opportunity to pick his brain about what disguise is able to do and how it has changed his entire view of live music, both as a technician and an audience member.

We’d like to hear what it’s like to work directly with disguise. What do you spend most of your time doing when using the server?

Working with a disguise media server includes a lot of processes, including a pre-vis function. I spent a lot of time with the CAD software to build 3D sets and import them into the disguise media server.

What was it like to become the first licensed Japanese-speaking disguise trainer?

I believe disguise is the best media server of this generation. It was a pleasure to teach high-end technology. In addition, it was a big opportunity to enter the worldwide entertainment industry, as my disguise mentors are always in other countries.

Through learning and teaching disguise, I have met a lot of people, and that has been the real gift.

Do you attend the concerts designed with disguise or do you work with footage in post-production?

I have worked as a disguise programmer and operator. In addition, disguise can generate live effects using third-party software called Notch. I’ve programmed some live effects with Notch.

How important is it to have a skilled team behind you when using disguise? How do you facilitate team communication and cooperation?

Disguise is a part of the production. It has a unique process. It is important to explain how it works and understand everyone’s work to help our plans become a reality.

Are performers typically involved with the design of their own shows?

It depends on the show. Some artists have strong design concepts. Some artists don’t.

Has working in the realm of live music affected the way you experience live music?

Whenever I attend live music shows, I learn something: what they are using and how they are using it. It might be a bit different from the time when I attended shows before working in this industry.

But I always enjoy the power of the music anyway. That has not changed since the very first concert I attended.

by Giorgio Chang

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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