DWP + LMG= SB46 Video Wizardry

I had almost written off the Super Bowl as the one without any major projection. Given the rise in popularity of large scale projection over the last couple of years, I figured there would be a ton. Then celebrity gossip site TMZ ‘leaked’ a few renderings of the stage and production and I knew something was up. It turns out I only had to wait until the famed halftime performance to get a fix. Video equipment rental giant LMG teamed up with DWP Live to supply projection and LED technology for a record-breaking halftime show that surpassed everyone’s expectations. Danny Whetstone of DWP Live was kind enough to provide some details after the NDA expired….

DWP Live is no stranger to large scale projectionmapping and their project page and list of clients is proof. With a huge inventory of Barco HD projectors, Pandora’s Box, Spyders, and assorted high-end goodies, DWP Live was chomping at the bit to be a part of the world’s greatest 13 minute extravaganza. They were in good company with Canadian Multimedia company Moment Factory, Cirque Du Soleil, and Tribe, however, and with nearly 3 weeks of setup time leading up to the big game they pulled off a major feat. 3 weeks isn’t a whole lot of time though (not to mention short rehearsals), so the pre-plan and execution had to be spot on. Both companies traveled to Orlando in December to test projection efforts at LMG’s corporate headquarters. By using a crane rigged with a “pod” of four projectors over 150 feet in the air, the test ensured image consistency would be maintained as they projected downward on to the field surface for the show. They were also engaged in another high profile event in town- the NBC Super Bowl Saturday Night Party, which had it’s own challenges…..but I digress….

Danny explains: “We used 32 Barco FLM HD20′s flown 150 feet in the air. The projectors were operated, converged and edge blended by using the Barco Projector Toolset located at a main control computer. The projection area was 149′ x 80′ with the projectors shooting straight down in 8 clusters of 4 projectors each. Throw in an overlap of each and the whole floor was mapped.” There were a few safety challenges as well…”We had to make sure that a lens or vent door didn’t make it’s way to the field for any reason, so we were literally drilling holes in projectors and screwing doors shut, and safety-ing lenses.”

All Photos courtesy DWP Live

While shooting straight onto a flat surface isn’t exactly ‘mapping’ per se, the alignment and convergence of 32 high powered projectors from 150′ to look flawless for HDTV is quite a feat. Dig this video of the performance, with some time lapse shot by the DWP crew from their killer vantage point:

DWP Live Superbowl

The massive set pieces were outfitted with 796 11.25MM lightweight FLED io11 tiles, custom constructed into fourteen LED stage carts. Within the twelve minute timeframe they turned the stage and field projection area into everything from living VOGUE magazine covers to reverberating speakers. After the performance, breakdown and removal of the stage and projection area from the field was completed in less than seven minutes.

Make sure to check out this article over at Livedesign which lays out the gig in a whole lot of detail including the content creators, Moment Factory led by Sakchin Bessette, and Bruce Rodgers of Tribe.

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