It’s exquisite. It’s everything I dreamed of when I was a kid- robotics, in-camera film effects, precision. The San Francisco based firm of Bot & Dolly has pretty much upped the game for everything involving projectionmapping in real-time and combined it with extreme robotic film making. It seems a natural progression though, and I can’t think of anyone more capable and qualified to do it. But before we give in to our Robot Overlords, let’s remember they still need to be told what to do. It’s just that they do it over and over again with ridiculous precision and razor-accuracy. I don’t know what they used for projectors, but I suppose it wouldn’t take much in terms of lumens for a project like this. Projection software on the other hand was accomplished with Touchdesigner. As advanced as Touchdesigner is, the more you watch what they’re doing with the Iris robotic arm the more you realize that projectionmapping is the easy part. They have an entire array of tools at their disposal- BD Live, BD Time, and the stunning BD Wheel- a hand-held control wheel that allows you to scrub through a shot or attenuate playback speed. If you’ve ever been to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and seen their toy manufacturing display – this is like that x1000. They have a couple of Motoman robotic arms that you can race and play against…but this scale is entirely different.
It’s not hard to discern where or how the effects are in-camera, but the marriage of the elements is what overwhelms me about Box. That, and the sound. That first big whoosh at 1:24 is just plain sensual.
Tobias Kinnebrew of B&D explains: “Box explores the synthesis of real and digital space through projection-mapping on robotically controlled moving surfaces. The short film documents a live performance, captured entirely in camera. Bot & Dolly created this work as both an artistic statement and a technical demonstration. It is the product of an experience vision realized through the integration of multiple technologies pivoting on our software platform BD Movetm for precision control of robotics.” It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to extrapolate where you can go with this type of gear on a film set. With the extreme precision and playback capabilities, the possibilities are truly endless. I gotta get out to the coast and see this in person. That’s all there is to it.
Absolute heaven. Dig it!
It’s a fact that LA has the craziest traffic on the planet outside of NYC. I used to commute to Hollywood on a daily basis from the San Gabriel Valley and I can tell you- it’s not a party…at least not a party that’s fun to attend. Apart from the wackos and endless commuters, who takes care of the mundane? Which roads are open? Which ones are full of holes? Where is the traffic the worst? That job falls to Caltrans- and it’s not an easy one. So I was fascinated to see the following press release from our friends at Electrosonic about upgrading the District 7 Command Center video wall.
When Caltrans District 7 began the first phase of a multi-phase AV system upgrade at its Los Angeles facility, it contracted with Electrosonic to create a brighter, more reliable video wall for traffic monitoring that takes advantage of the latest in projection technology.
“Caltrans District 7 has more than 400 cameras on the highways of Los Angeles and Ventura counties,” says Electrosonic project manager Guy Fronte. “They can review camera feeds 24/7 in the facility and when there’s a traffic event – road damage or an accident – they can magnify that feed on the videowall. The videowall is integral to 24-hour traffic management.”
The existing videowall comprises a 12-screen center unit in a 4×3 configuration flanked by a pair of 6-screen 3×2 units. The giant wall features 80-inch diagonal screens in the center and 52-inch screens on the sides.
The standard format of the wall has single-camera feeds (more…)
Devin Wambolt over at DCBolt Productions gave me the heads-up on this crazy nightclub install they just completed. The club is Castle Nightclub in Chicago and they premiered the system for a huge NYE bash this year. Devin reports: “We are using three different types of LED’s in this system, (aside from the house lights) LED panels, LED strips, and LED modules. Our LED strips are (32x) SMD5050 LED pixels per meter, our Modules are (5x) SMD5050 LEDs per pixel, the LED panels are 6 millimeter pitch SMD2835 LED pixels. The led strips and modules are run by MADRIX Ultimate for real-time dynamic playback. The LED panel screens are being driven by a custom configured Resolume Arena setup.
Some pretty impressive work, and I’ll be sure to check it out next time I’m in Chicago!
And here I thought that was just my favorite bar reply….
Netherlands-based media firm Circus Family combined forces with Jurlights and came up with this huge 360-degree projectionmapping at Gashouder Amsterdam. The gig was for Amsterdam Couture house, Scotch and Soda, for the launch of their 2013 line. Using four Hippo HD’s they were able to pipe content to ten Barco HD20′s mounted in a ring in the center. They used the ScreenWarp feature to cut the roundness and then threw in a couple of Hippo Critters with a 16×16 DVI matrix to finish it off. Technician Menno Broere tells me they didn’t even have to blend the projectors…just masked out some physical attributes. That’s how we like it- simple and clean. So many times this type of technology is ‘over done’ from the production side, so it’s nice to see people keeping to the oldest axiom in show biz- Keep It Simple Stupid.
Yikes! When do you ever get a chance to see the likes of Joanie Lemercier, Kyle McDonald, and Joel Gethin Lewis in the same room demonstrating real-time video artwork? At the ScreenLab Residency that’s where! Through the ScreenLab 0×02 residency, artists Kyle McDonald, Joanie Lemercier and Joel Gethin Lewis worked together with students and researchers at MediaCityUK and an advanced technology center on the main campus (Dig this place: The Centre for Visual Environments). It features the Octave, a truly astounding setup which is detailed HERE. Together they developed interactive artworks that provided a unique experience for each visitor by creating artificial worlds using sound and visuals that react to their movement.
The results of the residency were unveiled at a launch event on Wednesday 5 December which formed part of the University’s As Yet Impossible series of lectures, bringing together future thinkers to challenge audiences and give them a glimpse of how science and the arts can combine to shape the world. The really cool thing is that most of the work is openly available on Github- Here’s Kyle’s, Here’s Elliot Woods’ (curator and open source contributor to vvvv). The following is the Livestream broadcast (jump to :41-ish for the true start):
Edge-blending just became obsolete. Well, at least SOME edge-blending that is. Projectiondesign just released the F35 Panorama, a projector with a 21:9 aspect ratio. Funny, because just today I was looking at an ad for a 21:9 monitor and it seemed strange to me that you wouldn’t just use two monitors, given that monitors are pretty cheap and most graphics cards can handle it anyway…..but this- this is just crazy when you think about it. It’s still a single chip DLP, but up to 7k! Now if they can work this into the F85 series…..or if I can just upgrade my Optoma in the basement….
A unique projector designed for advanced meeting rooms and collaborative spaces in which users are sharing a variety of graphical image content both locally and remotely, the F35 panorama boasts an exceptionally wide image aspect ratio of 21:9 or 2.37:1. In an office environment with an average ceiling height, this enables images as wide as 4m (13’) to be created without the need for edge-blending the output of two separate projectors.
Furthermore, the F35 panorama’s flexible input configuration means that it can project simultaneous side-by-side images from two separate high-resolution sources, fill an entire screen from a single source, or simply set up a video conference call next to a computer presentation.
Anders Løkke, Marketing Director, projectiondesign, comments: “We have introduced the F35 panorama to address (more…)
Giant projection specialists Urbanscreen came to Rice University to produce the 100th Anniversary spectacle that would be splashed across 3 buildings on campus. From Mike Williams Media Relations , Rice University:
Thorsten Bauer went straight for the heart, rather than the intellect, of Rice University. So when he saw the Spectacle writ large for the first time, even the German artist shed a tear.
“We wanted to make it an experience for the audience,” he said. “It’s not as much about teaching them as it is about touching them.” Video after the jump….
As creative director and co-founder of URBANSCREEN, Bauer led the artists and technicians from Bremen, Germany, who designed the light and sound show that brought Lovett, Sewall and Herzstein Halls, the cornerstones of the university’s Academic Quadrangle, to stunning life for a series of performances during Rice’s Centennial Celebration.
Thousands experienced the awe-inspiring performance over three perfect autumn evenings inside the quad – and outside. One viewer tweeted about seeing a few seconds of the Spectacle from the air: “Even from 15,000 ft. we can tell we missed something special.”
The URBANSCREEN team flew to Rice, its first American client, charged with creating an event (more…)
Dataton released Watchout 5.3 on Monday- it’s available for free download from the Dataton website. Key new features include compatibility with Windows 8, control of WATCHOUT display software with the WATCHOUT Remote App under iOS6, plus Turkish and Japanese language versions to accompany existing Spanish and Chinese localizations.
The following appears in the September issue of PLSN magazine. Give ‘em a look for all the latest and greatest in the biz- especially during LDI Week!
Analog Way Eikos EKS500 Matrix Switcher
I have to keep reminding myself that computers really only do one thing at a time and even then, it’s only what you tell it to. It’s like I always tell my technophobe friends, “think of it like a toaster, you can make toast- not lasagna”. Video gear is much the same way, in fact, that’s what I think distinguishes great products from mediocre ones. If it does one thing well- great. Presentation switchers in a perfect world would be the same way. But the live event world is rarely perfect and presentation switchers try really hard to bridge the gap. Does this mean doing many things is not a good thing? No. For more complex presentations, units that can accomplish many things are perfect for rental/staging companies. These units are designed to do a lot, and like most everything, you get what you pay for. There are units that will simply and passively switch two sources -and there are units that try to be full-blown 2 M/E engines of wonder. Somewhere in there is the right piece for your application.
I came across the Eikos EKS500 from Analog Way recently and it seems (more…)
A while back I featured a story on the Swire Marine Training Center, which uses 24 projectiondesign F82′s, their flagship big-gun projector. This one though, uses a whopping 48 smaller projectors (projectiondesign’s F22) to simulate two 360 degree bridges. Farstad Shipping built the sims to train people on the massive rigs being deployed to support Australia’s natural gas boom. From projectionDesign’s website:
Farstad Shipping, the owner and operator of Offshore Simulator Center AS (OSC) of Ålesund, Norway, is a leading supplier of support and services to the international oil industry. The Perth project is the OSC’s most ambitious installation to date and was opened in December by the Norwegian Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg.
The offshore training simulator is the world’s largest of its kind, located in Perth, Australia. It is built to simulate two large, 360 degree bridges, using 48 of projectiondesign’s F22 wuxga DLP® projectors. The aim is to have the bridge personnel train to operate large-scale mechanical hardware, such as winches, by working together with other bridge personnel and rig cranes in a team effort, in an environment as close to a real life as possible.
The images were seamlessly blended together to produce a full 360-degree image that was some 7 meters high and 15 meters in diameter. The “half a teacup” shaped screen incorporates similar technology to that used in IMAX cinemas, and Joel A. Mills, the OSC design director, explains: “The visual simulation aspect of the system is fully integrated with the hardware on the ‘bridge’, which is all Rolls-Royce marine equipment and which behaves exactly as it would if you were really at sea. As soon as the simulation starts, you are convinced not only that you are surrounded by water but that the water is actually moving and that you are moving with it.” Mills continues; “a lot can happen when you are servicing an oil-rig in a remote, offshore location, especially if the weather is bad. So the simulator gives us the opportunity to re-create those adverse weather conditions. As the waves grow larger, the movement of the vessels within the 3D environment is mathematically and physically resolved so that their response is exactly as you would expect to find in the real world.”
The projectiondesign projectors were chosen due to OSC’s need for total consistency in terms of brightness, optics and colour matching, reflecting the mission-critical nature of their work. Joel A. Mills explains: “Rather than using a few large, powerful projectors, our requirement is for a large number of relatively small devices that can nonetheless deliver very high-performance imaging over a short throw distance. The F22 is perfect in this respect – bright, consistent, rugged and reliable.”
I know- not technically projection….but there’s a lot to look at here. An interactive pad that you step on to change the features of a car, multiple digital surfaces to interact on, and a display that is screaming for no seams. I guess I get it on a lot of levels, but wouldn’t you think a brand like Audi would opt for a more seamless digital display? Or at least a more slick way of presenting the product? Don’t get me wrong- if I had the scratch I’d buy an Audi in heartbeat….but I’d still like to see a seamless display. Or maybe map the features to an analog car in the actual showroom…LIKE THIS? Kudos to Audi for making the whole painful-carbuying-experience a little more slick….and granted, I might be in a minority, but if I wanted to buy a $50,000 car and use a Kinect-based, interactive, input-enhanced, 9-screen display system to do so, I’d want a damn seamless screen. Again, I might be in a minority….BUT…..
We can expect this sort of thing to become commonplace as the marketing folks get more entrenched into AV and control. In fact Aston Martin, BMW, and Infiniti are rumored to be working on the exact same thing. Let’s just hope they invest in Microtiles or maybe an RP alternative.
At SIGGRAPH last week, Christie Digital unveiled the HoloStation, a “compact personal visualization solution” that can be tucked into the corner of an office rather than taking up an entire room (like their CAVE system). While the concept of multi-projector holodeck style rooms is nothing new, this one is the first I’ve seen that’s packaged from a company for one-user interaction. The system, which the company hopes will be used for feature film previs as well as trade-show and biomedical applications, uses four of Christie’s LED-based Mirage WU-L projectors. The projectors are mounted overhead, with proprietary lenses that throw the images downward, onto three screens that wrap around the user’s viewing angle. Because the projectors use LED illumination with an expected life of 60,000 hours, Christie says the system should run for seven years without requiring a replacement of the light source.
The system pushes up to 15 million pixels (7.5 megapixels per eye) at a 120 Hz refresh rate (60 Hz per eye), Christie reps said. It utilizes NVIDIA Quadro Plex graphics processing and a head-tracking system and other software from WorldViz.
OK. Not quite a full-blown Holodeck on the Enterprise, but it’s a good start. Gaming would certainly benefit…maybe we could incorporate some mapping to round out the experience…….
The end of summer is a weird time around here. The theatre season and school are about to start, I try to spend more time with my family, and the olympics are on. The damn olympics have managed to make everything seem to grind to a halt. We watch religiously and the opening ceremonies are way up there on the list. So it was that I watched and wasn’t that impressed. They had to top Beijing after all, and that’s a tall order. The big star was LED however and there were a couple of effects that I think are harbingers of things to come in LED-land. One is the LED tiles that are permanently installed throughout the stands. Tait Technologies, a longtime provider of gear on a huge scale (U2, JayZ, Roger Waters), provided the LED tiles to extend the graphic mapping of the opening ceremonies into the stands at the olympic stadium. This type of technology is going to start becoming the norm with systems like this and also with the advent of gear like the Xyloband being deployed (see Coldplay’s use HERE). But here’s the official word: (more…)
I recently had the pleasure of testing and reviewing the SmithsonMartin KS-1974 midi controller for PLSN magazine. The following review is re-printed here, and you can find the full article HERE. It was my first time with a MIDI controller and there was a bit of a learning curve. About a day’s worth. The console is that easy to set up and use! If you run any software that uses MIDI as an interconnect, than the SmithsonMartin line of controllers are worth looking at. The award winning Emulator Modular software is light, easy, and well thought out. Yes- they are a bit pricey, but the build quality alone is worth it, not to mention the functionality. There is a sale going on RIGHT NOW on the Emulator DVS, the big screen version with an RP projector- the same one used by Infected Mushroom on their current tour. As far as technical support, Pablo Martin (Guru of all things tech at SM) and Alan Smithson were all over any question I had. It’s refreshing to be able to speak with the owners/creators directly when it concerns a product- a luxury that is rare in the Biz. On that note, read on: (more…)
Touch technology is so prevalent now that it’s hard NOT to use some incarnation of it on a day-to-day basis. From the oft-referred-to scenes from Minority Report to a weekly peek on NCIS, huge touchscreens are becoming the norm from corporate boardrooms to police HQ. I ran a piece a while back on the huge interactive video wall at the University of Dayton, but that was a projection-based system. Now it seems we’re seeing LCD screens of the same size, no longer restricted to NOC’s and control centers.
I recently got a sneak-peek at such a behemoth being custom built by Sensory Technologies. My beloved DPI Lightning HD35 was coming back from hospital and ready for pick up at the ST dock- and this awe-inspiring wall, in the build room, was in it’s final touches before being deployed. Field Engineer Chris Poore was kind enough to show me the particulars….
Scott Snibbe has gotten a lot of press lately and for good reason. He’s been in the interactive art scene for 20-something years and has collaborated with such celebrated innovators as Bjork, Brian Eno, and James Cameron. His latest work is called “Transit” and is one of 17 pieces running on a 58 back-to-back HD monitor ribbon overhead at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. In Scott’s words :”The 15-minute video features hundreds of pedestrians in silhouette who take part in a loose narrative grounded in their ceaseless movements left to right. Against this backdrop, travelers occasionally put down their bags and break into exuberant dance routines in styles that reflect L.A.’s diversity: from Hip-Hop to Salsa, Ballet, and Punk.
Midway through, the high-definition story shatters into abstracted fragments as multiple copies of travelers wipe forward across the screens; moon-walking travelers float backwards; crowds spew out from single travelers; and a Lady in Red appears who is ignored by them all. The project is a collaboration with Choreographer Francesca Penzani, and videographer Noah Cunningham. The California Institute of the Arts Center for Integrated Media offered substantial facilities and support for the project’s production.”
Here’s a piece from the good folks at the Creator’s Project that goes into detail about some of his innovative work:
The following is a re-print from the good folks at LiveDesign. It’s a great article on LED screen technology originally done by Fabio Aversa of Eurodisplay.com. Looks like it’s only up for a month then it’ll have to go into digital oblivion, so read it while you can! While you’re at it, have a look at Eurodisplay’s website- it’s chock full of great info about LED’s, LED technology, and outdoor displays.
Avolites has formed a strategic partnership with Immersive LTD and they now manufacturing a suite of products under the name AI- meaning their high end media servers. AVOLITES MEDIA Ltd. will release Ai media servers through the existing AVOLITES international distribution network. Meanwhile Immersive Ltd. will continue in their successful business of event production, experiential design and content creation for an expanding and diverse, high profile market.
AVOLITES MEDIA Ltd. will design, develop, manufacture and distribute the Ai media server range. Immersive Ltd. and AVOLITES MEDIA Ltd have unique businesses, which
complement each other.
They have formed a strategic alliance and are committed to working together. This relationship of co-operation, communication, feedback and support will be channelled into product design and development. In an alliance that is defining the future.
Here’s a product sheet
It looks like the rack mount version is the AIS-T4, with Avolites Media Ai software, Ais-T performs smooth playback of multilayer 4k resolution content with up to six full 1080p HD outputs arranged in a timeline timecode sequencer. Users can build and create their show in a 3D Stage Visualizer and use the powerful mapping capabilities to allow rapid, precise mapping and warping onto any 3D surface. Tightly integrated support for 3D displays, LEDs, moving lights and other visual elements allow designers to merge video and lighting with unprecedented control.
They’re also releasing the Sapphire Media console, the AI-SM, in August, as well as a dedicated server console- the MSC-1. Exciting stuff from Avo and I can’t wait to get some more info. Be sure to check back for an update!
London (May 1, 2012) – The Parlamentarium, the new visitors’ centre at the European Parliament in Brussels, uses a variety of interactive multimedia exhibits to take visitors on a unique and personal journey into the heart of European Politics. Electrosonic engineered and installed the main exhibition audio-visual hardware for Stuttgart-based designer ATELIER BRÜCKNER. The Parlamentarium is the first visitors’ centre fully accessible in 23 languages, and to-date has attracted over 120,000 visitors from across the globe.
Guided through state-of-the-art exhibitions by a personal electronic multimedia guide, visitors see how policy decisions are made and how they influence Europeans’ daily lives. All signage and media is presented in 23 languages, which had an enormous influence on how AV techniques were used throughout the centre.
Electrosonic won the bid for the project in an open Europe-wide competitive tender; the
scope of work consisted of the detailed design, supply, installation, set up and commissioning of the media hardware for different themed exhibition areas. These areas include a pair of 360º theatres, nearly 100 LCD panels, (more…)
My Dad was an architect. Well, first he was a draftsman, then an architect. When I was a kid, I used to hang out in my Dad’s office on the weekends (he pretty much worked ALL the time)….but I remember very clearly playing with all the models that were there. They had every imaginable scale of every kind of building- little cars, little people, tiny shrubs, fake grass, miniature trees. Combine this with all kinds of architectural drawing gadgets, erasers, and pens of every hue, and you had a little kid’s dream world…or a parent’s nightmare….
So it was with great pleasure that I came across this video of Martin Fröhlich’s MeshWarpServer that shows projectionmapping in a whole new way. Well, you should watch the video first then read on….
So for all of you that want to absorb the technical details, the following video really goes into depth. MeshWarpServer is powerful stuff. There are many features beyond just mapping, as you’ll soon see:
I plan on overdosing on MWS and doing a full write-up…(just as soon as I get time), but I seem to have inherited my Dad’s work addiction. Make sure to check it out and give it a test drive!
Plus it’s just fun to say “Meshwarpserver….Meshwarpserver…“
For nearly eight weeks this spring, internationally renowned artist Doug Aitken (American, b. Redondo Beach, Calif., 1968; lives and works in Los Angeles and New York) illuminated the façade of the Hirshhorn’s iconic cylindrical building by completely covering it with moving images, accompanying them with an original soundscape. Using 11 high-definition video projectors and media servers (Christies, provided by WorldStage- natch…), Aitken seamlessly blended imagery to envelop the museum’s exterior, creating a work that redefines cinematic space. A bold commission that will enter the Hirshhorn’s permanent collection, “SONG 1” (2012) will enhance the museum’s ever-expanding holdings of cutting-edge moving-image art. Between sunset and midnight from March 22 to May 13, visitors to the National Mall witnessed the first-ever work of 360-degree cinema to be presented in a continuous cylindrical format, unfolded on a monumental scale across the concrete façade. (more…)
I recently came across the work of Aleksandra Dulic and was blown away! Aleks has been designing and creating animation/video artwork for over 15 years, with various artists. This piece, from 2008, is a fascinating blend of spatial audio along with motion-tracked video output. With Kenneth Newby and Martin Gotfrit, they created a vast, fragmented projection space that reacts when participants walk nearby… showing various body parts of over 100 different people from all walks of life.
From their website: “in a thousand drops… refracted glances is an audiovisual environment that constructs and deconstructs bodies through processes of stitching, repetition, collage, animation, stretching, contraction, multiplication and reduction. As a result of these processes (more…)
When I was a kid, my elementary school used to take “field trips” to the NHM in Los Angeles, and I looooved the dinosaur and prehistoric section…..so it was nice to see that they’ve revamped the whole thing with the help of Electrosonic:
Los Angeles 18 April, 2012) – Visitors to the Dinosaur Hall in the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County experience the wonder of the prehistoric creatures in a totally new way with innovative exhibits featuring audio-visual systems provided by Electrosonic.
Twice the size of the old galleries, the recently-opened 14,000 square-foot Dinosaur Hall displays specimens – including the world’s only T. rex growth series of baby, juvenile and adult skeletons – mounted on unique platforms and preserved and articulated using modern methods. The skylit L-shaped Hall is flooded with natural light; a glass-sided mezzanine runs along the short side of the L where additional wall-mounted exhibits reveal more about the amazing creatures and show what it’s like (more…)
London (April 2, 2012) – Electrosonic’s Control Rooms team has partnered with Detection Technologies and Integrated Security Manufacturing Ltd (ISM) for this year’s Counter Terror Expo to exhibit a full range of command and control, security and protection services.
Electrosonic’s dedicated Control Rooms team specialises in providing complete audio-visual solutions, which include systems integration, technical design, project management and service and maintainance.
Electrosonic works with a wide range of suppliers in the AV industry. The Counter Terror Expo will see Electrosonic demonstrating the NEC ultra-thin bezel 46″ LCD screen. Powered by an Extron Quantum Elite video wall processor, Electrosonic will display (more…)