United Visual Artists d3

Recently I did an article mentioning the d3 system from United Visual Artists. UVA is an art and design practice based in London producing work at the intersection of sculpture, architecture, live performance, moving image, and digital installation.  Right up Projectionfreak’s alley!  UVA’s work has been exhibited at institutions including the V&A, the Royal Academy of Art, the South Bank Centre, the Wellcome Collection, Opera North Leeds, Durham Cathedral and The British Library. Their artworks have also toured internationally to cities including Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Yamaguchi, Taipei, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Barcelona. UVA also have large scale permanent art works in Toronto and Istanbul. They were featured on The Creators Project a bit back and very recently their d3 system was used on a project from Drive Productions featuring a mapping display on the iconic Battersea Power Station.

A little background on this very powerful visual device-
From UVA’s website:
The d3 is an integrated production tool for sculptural media installations. It combines a real time 3D stage visualiser, one of the most advanced timelines in the industry and a powerful media server with unmatched 3D image mapping abilities. In the Stage visualizer, you can Import venues and screens as 3D models from the modeling application of your choice, apply masks to simulate the visual appearance of LED or moving-head light fixtures, and then view the stage in real time from any position. Move screens into different configurations, animate and preview screen and lighting fixture movements, and simulate camera tracking through the space to generate instant fly-throughs and previews. Rapidly set camera positions using hot keys. Select from custom back ground colours. Zoom, pan and orbit around the 3D space using simple intuitive camera controls.

With Content Mapping, you can take complete control over your projection onto (or into) a space. Because d3 knows the precise position of every pixel on your stage, it can virtually ‘project’ content onto even the most complex sculptural arrangements of LED, moving-head lights or projection screens. Content can be mapped using parallel, cylindrical or radial geometric maps, and moved, stretched and rotated in real time. Moving screens or multiple configurations can be handled with ease. In d3′s Timeline d3’s you add a music soundtrack, position a beat grid over the audio, and then work in beats and bars instead of seconds. This lets you quickly create rhythmic editing events, something that is time-consuming on traditional systems. Create cue points, add text notes, and manage multiple timelines within the same project. d3’s template feature allows you quickly create versions of the same track with different media sets, making it perfect for repetitive events such as award shows. With Video Playback, you can import video clips and still images, composite multiple content layers on the timeline, and map them onto your virtual screens and fixtures using d3’s advanced content mapping system. Content can be instantly targeted to different screens, stretched aross multiple fixtures, and colour and level corrected in real time to bring the best out of your media. The rack mount versions supports up to four SDI or two HD-SDI live video inputs with the lowest latency in the industry, courtesy of the Active Silicon Phoenix system. Finally, d3 allows content to be formatted for output to projectors, LED or DMX fixtures (via Artnet and Enttec DMX protocols). d3 will accept cue commands via MIDI, MIDI Show Control or DMX, and will chase SMPTE timecode or MIDI beat-clock. d3’s master/slave network system allows large shows to be spread across multiple machines synchronised from a single controller. For permanent architectural installations, d3’s powerful scheduling system allows events to be triggered at particular times of day, or on days of the week.

Specs:

Rackmount-

  • Robust Industrial Chassis
  • 4x DVI-I Outputs
  • 2x SD-SDI or 1x HD-SDI Inputs (as standard)
  • 4x SD-SDI or 2x HD-SDI (extra input card required)
  • Balanced/Unbalanced Analog Audio In/Out
  • SPDIF In/Out
  • Integrated MIDI In/Out
  • Firewire 400 and 800 connectivity
  • 4x USB 2.0 Ports
  • 250GB SSD

Laptop-

  • Portable
  • 17″ Full HD Screen (1920×1200)
  • 1x DVI/HDMI Output
  • Webcam / Firewire 400 Video Input
  • Pro Audio via external audio card (USB/firewire)*
  • MIDI In/Out via external USB converter*
  • eSATA Connectivity
  • 1x Firewire 400
  • 4x USB 2.0 Ports
  • 250GB SSD

With the amount of media servers/playback systems out there to choose from, the d3 sets itself apart in the higher end by separating content from mapping, and mapping from output formatting, and offering a powerful set of tools for real time content sequencing and correction. The initial skills it takes to run a rig like this do not come easily- but new customers get training free of charge.  Free. They also offer 1 day master classes. Being a top end product, they of course will work with anyone who happens to push the boundaries of it’s rather extensive capabilities. Hard to imagine you could actually hit the wall on this rig, but shows like U2, Jay-Z, George Michael, and Kylie Minogue certainly could- and UVA has done them all so they have the experience and knowledge to solve it. They also have a visualization studio in central London, so you can go do some pre-viz in a comfy environment (services- email, web, copy, print,etc) complete with a wall sized HD projection system and 5.1 surround. Extreme quality and service is the name of the game here.

Bottom line?  Easier gigs and better shows.

Pricing and availability from UVA.

If anyone feels the need to send me across the pond for a tour, some training, and a d3 laptop- hit the “donate” button on the right- or I’ll just settle for a follow on FB or Twitter. Try our RSS feed for info like this on a timely basis!

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