If you’ve been to a concert in the last decade, you know that artists no longer just plug in their instruments and play. Audiences expect exciting visuals to accompany their favorite tunes, pushing musicians to think way outside the box when it comes to stage presence.
Artists like Washed Out, Alison Wonderland, and Lost Kings have worked with the Kinect in the past to create custom visuals based on their movements on stage. Now, with the release of the Azure Kinect DK, new artists are discovering ways to upgrade their live shows with help from this advanced technology.
Interscope Records brought two of their up-and-coming artists to the Microsoft Lounge in LA to experiment with the new Azure Kinect DK. Alt-pop singer/songwriter Elah Hale and hip-hop MC/R&B crooner The Last Artful, Dodgr each tested the limits of the unit’s body tracking capabilities at a private party thrown in honor of the label’s nominated artists.
"I want fans to feel like they’re also a part of my experience … so I use tech in my creative process all the time! It’s v necessary."
- The Last Artful, Dodgr
The Azure Kinect DK allowed the artists’ bodies to be captured as 3D point clouds, which could then be married with other artist imagery and manipulated by a VJ in real time.
As they performed, the artists (as well as their band and dancers) were surrounded by a 360-degree array of Azure Kinects, to capture them from every angle. This event marked the first time artists got a chance to experiment with this technology and custom 360-degree setup.
Elah Hale remarked, “At first I thought the visuals were pre-programmed! It totally took me a second, like ‘Huh, that looks like a person holding a guitar… oh my god! It’s live!’ It really blew my mind. It’s an amazing thing to see technology work with live performance in that way.”
With portable tech like this, artists can make a big statement with relatively minimal setup—transforming stages of all sizes into dynamic backdrops for their performances.