The biggest attention grabber at the Met's upcoming production of "Siegfried" won't be some Nordic diva. It's going to be the advanced 3D projections on a 45-ton set that will create an intricate forest scene. Better still: audiences own't have to dawn those geeky glasses:

For its visual sleight of hand, the 3-D technology being deployed at the Met will also interact with the movement of the set. The set uses a bank of projectors, motion-capture cameras and computers to fashion the images. The tilt on the stage allows for hundreds of different projections, changing in slivers of a second, at the different depths to help create, say, the color, shading and contour of a rock, or at least to convince the eye.

The imagery is rendered in realistic detail using fractals: fractured geometric shapes that keep iterating reduced-size copies of themselves according to mathematical formulas. When the fractals are programmed into the computerized light system, the result is a dense symphony of geometric detail, giving the illusion of three dimensions.

Exciting that they can do this! Whether they should, though, depends on just how how big a headache those fake rocks give you by the second act. [NY Times]