How do you capture the attention of an audience and mesmerize them from the second the first person takes the stage to the last person leaving? Try two large 27-foot by 30-foot periaktoi (imagine two large polygons) mapped completely by video content. At Adobe MAX 2014, they sought to be the first large-scale attempt to project onto a large piece of moving scenery at a large corporate conference. This left audiences with their jaws completely on the floor and possibly one of the most beautiful pieces of visual design ever seen at a corporate event.
It makes sense that at a conference focused on providing the most premiere experience for creatives from broadcast, technology, business, photographers and more, that they would have to do something extra special to bring the event to the next level. With the help of World Stage, PIX PRODUCTIONS and Peter Crawford, the awesome scenic designer, this conference absolutely took things beyond the next level.
So what’s the secret to making something so complex work so flawlessly? In one word, technology, lots of technologies. The video below explains in detail how the team was able to harness some of the latest tools in video, engineering, and design to produce this visual masterpiece but we wanted to break it down for you in layman’s terms. The three main areas of 2D video projection mapping, motor speed measurement system, and the 3D rendering systems when brought together created the video masterpiece you saw.
First, you start with traditional video projection mapping which is the idea of taking a surface, and designing content around that surface. For example, if you have 4 walls, and you want them to have seamless piece of content, you take the first wall and map it to that (similar to the way you cut wallpaper to fit you 8 feet tall wall, when the roll is actually 10 feet). Then you piece it all together using software so it looks completely seamless with no gaps or overlays. The team also used backup projects rigged directly below each of the main projectors to provide extra brightness and act as a backup in case one went down. Using the projector and video mapping, they could take the same signal and layer each projector directly on top of each other to make the image brighter. So for example a 20,000 lumen (measurement of light) projector with the same projector layered on top of it could produce essentially a 40,000-lumen projection that was twice as bright!
The second portion was the motor speed measurement system. While there are engineers developing systems that will scan an area and automatically map to it, they have not gotten to the point where it can continuously measure a moving object. So in order to produce the clean looking images and to compensate for the moving objects sides they needed to know exactly where the periaktoi was at any given moment. They did this by creating a system that measured the speed at which they were rotating and exactly where they were in their rotation. So the system knew that if the entire flat side was facing the audience, to not try and project on the side. This very clever piece of engineering pipes information into the third area – the media servers and 3D video projection mapping software
With the measurements from the motor speed system, the 3D software is able to in real time render the 2D video mapping being fed to it into the 3 sides of the spinning periaktoi. It could then compensate for the perspective needed to make the image completely seamless.
Using 42 projectors, all three parts, and an amazing team, PIX PRODUCTIONS and World Stage were able to create one of the most innovative designs we have seen in a long time. Now imagine the CEO walking out onto the stage with this kind of visual impressiveness. Further and further are we seeing the lines between concert production, theatrical design and corporate audiovisual being blurred and if you want your event to be taken beyond the next level, sometimes you have to be able not only think outside of the box but instead crush the box altogether.