Straight from the job in Paris I was on the Eurostar and back in London for my next job, i knew that we had a a huge circular gauze and 12 x 0.68:1projectors to cover it as id been doing the projection planning in the run up to it. I got to site and met Rob who was running the job and we went through what was what and where, ti was quite a nice easy start to the job, not too rushed , just steady.
Above, this is Gary setting up the skinny laser which I had initially planned to use when lining up the projection on the gauze to get an equal horizon all the way around. In addition to the gauze we had a huge led floor which tied in with he projection on the gauze.
I was using d3 my favourite weapon of choice to line this up and had thought allot about the best method to do this when setting up the project. I made sure that the cylinder object in the project had vertex with matched divisions on the led floor, tis meant i had the perfect starting point for quick cal. I literally put a rotational lineup grid on the LED floor and used these to quick cal the projects to for the bottom points of the gauze.
For the upper points, placed a horizontal laser up to the height of the top of the virtual mesh and then used another vertical laser to mark the vertices where the lasers crossed. this meant I could create a point in the physical world which twas almost identical to the location in the virtual world giving me perfect quick cal points.
The method worked really well and was very pleased that the thought and effort to get the model and the lineup grids spot on paid off. The gauze id bow in once it was stretched but that was the nature of fabric without any support in the centre. A little subtle warp between all the projectors pulled this in.
The event was a “secret gig” by the band Royal Blood and also a launch event of the Samsung Galaxy S8. Normally the drummer would have a drum man down which helped the tech place the drums in the correct place each time but also helps to stop them sliding about on the floor. For this gig the whole floor needed to be visible and they were gluing small blocks to the floor to keep the drum feet inlace. I cant remember how it came about but I ended up making a exact photoshop drum mat based on a photo of the original mat. I then put it on the led floor, and because I knew the pitch of the led it was scaled perfectly first time when displayed on the led floor.
With a little pit of positioning and rotation the bands drum tech placed the kit on the led floor marks and pretty much perfectly lined up correctly. It was a really satisfying task and looked pretty cool at the same time.
Bryte Design were uncharge of the design for the event and Jack Banks was uncharge of creative video. It was nice to meet the Bryte team and also to meet Jack again who we figured out we had met a million years ago taking part in the first d3 training back in 2011.
The gig went well and everyone was pretty happy, theres a video for one of the songs below. I don’t think the videos do this gig any justice, it was much better in person.
After finishing in Milan i was on an early morning flight to Paris to do a job for ITR, I knew nothing abut the job apart that it was a secret. I landed front he airport and got a taxi to the Grand Palais and after a bit of hanging around and filling in forms I eventually got my pass and awaited for the rest of the team to turn up.
Sooooooo, to pause here, the film isn’t out yet and I’m unable to post any of the tech production pictures so the rest of the post is going to be full of people and things.
The film, by the way is/was Mission Impossible 6 which I think is released eventually next year (early 2018).
I knew Nik (left) was out on the team and when i got there I met everyone else and knew that I knew Rich (right) but couldn’t remember from where. Eventually we narrowed it tow to a boring conference in Birmingham and I revered him telling me he had just bought a party bus.
This is a manhole cover one which I passed each day on the way into work each day, I’m assuming that it was pretty old and liked the design of it as it looked nice and was functional.
The setup went ok, in fact to was exceptionally straight froward, 7 large LED screens and 4 feeds for some 30K projectors which were generating a laser beam effect as its really bad if you point powerful lasers at people and down the lens of a camera. The above image is a cable found in one of out flight cases when looking for an XLR, no no no.
This is the view above our control area, there was quite a considerable amount and rigging went into the venue and I was surprised at how much weight loading the venue could take.
This was outside the Grand Palais, the centre visual banner ties in closely with the scene we were shooting. This is where all the extras came in to, it think there was about 150 extras all together.
This is some more of the team on our daily commute to work when we decided to walk rather than take the bus into work. From left to right we have Rupert, Rich (behind Rupert) Seth who you cant see but he’s behind Lee, and then theres me with that puzzled selfie face.
For the first few days we were working days, getting kit in the right place and setting up the servers. after getting settled we all went out in Paris for some drinks and food. After having a couple of drinks in a bar Rupert and myself went off in a splinter cell and found this little place called Zero Zero. Imm a big fan of finding these places which may of my friends call Sheds, but there always brilliant and you meet an assortment off people there.
this is the address and some pictures here and below this is Nik trying to get out but I thin he really wanted to stay
So, quite a random blogpost but a good star on these little posts to get up to date with things. If I can stick to 2 or three of these bite size posts a week then it should teak along to catch up on over 6 months of shenanigans. Next post I’ll be able to post some pictures of the gig, in the meantime heres a face found in Waldos warehouse!
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Currently in Milan looking after an install for Bluman Associates at Milan design week, last day of the exhibition today, but more of that later.
The year started in Hull arriving on the 26th December as part of the team looking after projection for Hulls capital of culture celebrations. There were several sites and I was looking after the d3 for projection onto The Deep.
I arrived quite early and got the Mavic out over the bay and got a decent shot of the building from about 30m up.
At about 10:00 after being inducted to the site the projectors were loaded in, 24 in all and we were based in the building across the river to the deep with all the projection located on the balcony shooting across the water.
As the day got on and it was getting close to lining up the projectors the fog started rolling in which looked quite beautiful but made our job rather difficult. Pete, Stewart, Fergus and myself spent quite a bit of time on radios located at control and next to the building in an attempt to get coverage and convergence.
The following night was a little clearer and we were surprised how close we had gotten the lineup and convergence the previous night considering the lack of visibility. We continued to get it tighter and were joined by Simon who was producing the content for the show.
After may tweaks and content changes we were there, all set and ready for the new years day celebrations.
The deep was just one part of the city wide projection with Rich and the team looking after the main square which looked awesome!
Following Hull I was straight onto the next job driving to london to work at the Opera House with Tal Rosner on “Les Enfant Terrible” This was going to be quite a challenge as we had 5 pieces of stage set which rotated, were projected on and was tracked with projection. I had been working on the project from late November setting up the d3 project and doing all the modelling and UV’ing of the stage set providing templates for Tal. ArtAV provided the OSC tracking encoders which worked well.
I had all my servers on the project and was quite pleasing to be able to provide the whole workflow service and playback tech in one package. We had 5 days in the rehearsal space to visualise and a huge amount of animating from Tal, I also did a few scenes on the show using lighting effects in C4d and baking the light passes out to the UV texture.
We had a short time to get in and setup in the Barbican and this was the first time I ever had, to see how well the model lined up with the real set. After a couple of goes using d3 QuickCal trying different reference point combinations the projection popped into place.
There was also the tracking element to test making sure the physical rotation and the virtual rotation were in sync. After a few tweaks with the damping factor an many test rotations it was sweet.
I was very pleased with initial lineup tests, now it was time to finalise the lineup and start some very intense programming with new content and many many changes.
We had 3 shows in total which were well received and lots like it may get remounted next year once the Limbery theatre is finished at the ROH.
With a couple of days break after Les Enfant I was off to a Job for Hawthorn at the intercontinental which involved projecting onto a cylindrical screen. The screen also opened up in the middle and was tracked with projection inside and out with the front of the screen opening up to rotate round and becoming the back of the stage. Im unable to post any images and tech details of this yet but once its been out in the press I’ll get something up. It was a very interesting and challenging project which i want to share.
Right after the job I cant post about I was off to Hawthorn Cambridge office to to some preproduction on the BBC showcase gig. After 3 days in the office we were all off to Liverpool Echo arena, Hawthorn have been doing this event for a number of years and this was my first time.
I had been planning the project setup and gotten the templates out in a few weeks leading up to this. Once were got mostly set up content started coming in thick and fast.There were some technical challenges which we managed to overcome and it felt like a solid team pulling together on this.
There were several long days on this job but well worth it with the result we got and really good team effort.
Night 2 of the event involved a gala dinner enveloped in 5 x 4k screens of projection, it was a tight turnaround and looked amazing once we were all lined up.
The content was new footage from the new Planet Earth 2 and looked absolutely stunning. We used d3 to frame various elements of the content and various mappings to make best use of the space and footage. More details can be found Here
After a quick pitstop up north to see friends and family I was back down London working for Impact Production Services providing the servers and support for the Kong premier at Leicester Square. It was nice to catch up with the guys who I hand t seen in ages!
Straight from Kong i was again working for Bluman Associates looking after the d3 programming a lineup for the launch go the new Swatch Watch range. Lewis White was directing the content Notch, David Bajt was also onboard along with Jan Urbanowski & David Altweger. It was a great team with a whole load of Notch content.
We had 5 days in rehearsals with the dancers where we used various notch effects, straight content playback and some Kinekt tracking too. We had a very short set and rehearsal time in the venue which was 180 The Strand, everything went well and a good time was had by all!
Right after the gig after packing down the servers I was headed to Heathrow airport where I had 4 hours sleep in the Yotel which was quite comfortable then was on an early plane to Dubai to work with 59 Productions on the Dubai World Cup horse race.
Our control position was a lovely little porta cabin in the underground carpark of the Meydan which we affectionately named “The Meth Lab”. Scott and myself were programming the d3. Heres a very happy pic of Scott, Allam, myself & Chris getting round site in the golf buggy.
59 were doing the content for the 100m wide LED screen for the opening and closing shows. We had a team of animators onsite and remotely updating content, filming and making new contnent to keep up with the clients changing requirements.
The show went well but was hampered by the weather which was surprisingly wet considering we were in Dubai.
On lockdown day before the show we weren’t allowed to come to site between 12:00 & 20:00 so we decided to go to the waterpark. Heres a picture of Nickin being a tourist.
Im not sure how many visitors were at the show but it was a fair few and the prize for the main race was over $10 million dollars.
After the show we managed to get some food and beers, heres a picture of us looking tired and relieved, I’m not sire how Slaney managed to escape the photo!
Straight after Dubai I was on a 03:50 flight in the morning to Frankfurt where I was to prep the d3 servers for a Bluman job on Milan Design week. Because of the weather, all the flights in Dubai were screwed up and mu flight was cancelled and I got bumped onto a 08:50 flight in the morning which as then delayed until 13:00 then we sat on the runway for 2 hours waiting for a takeoff slot. I eventually got to the hotel in Frankfurt feeling very tired and smelly.
Andy Joyes joint me in Frankfurt to prep kit then we flew out to Milan on the Tuesday night to meet the rest of the team for the install. The Job was for the launch of the new Samsung S8 and is part of Milan Design week. Universal Everything were doing realtime generative content for some surfaces we called petals designed by Zaha Hadid architects.
David Bajt and myself had both been working on the project since late February and this was the culmination of the planning.
I was capturing the realtime graphics from the Unity servers into d3 and then using d3 to align the content to the screens and blend. It was quite a challenging lineup with the lack of reference points and having to calibrate warp and lend 14 projectors. Each petal had 2x 10K units pointing at it. The final effect was superb with so many people coming to visit the exhibition each day
So that was quite satisfying writing about the past 3 months, its been an incredibly busy start to the year and doesn’t look like its going to slow down at all!
Heres a face i found in the doorstop t the venue were in, Zippy!
Hello, how are you doing, its been a very long time since posting here such a busy 2016. Too much has happened to split this down into separate posts so here it is, the past 6 months rolled up packed down and squeezed into a mega post!
Rewinding all the way back to June 2016 i was in the Royal Court programming a Show Called Unreachable for Zsolt.
It was a interesting show to work on as for the whole show there was only 3 minutes of video at the end. Infant the whole stage was pretty bare until the very end where all of the set flew in, the whole lighting rig used, smoke, fans and also a fox on stage called oscar.
We had 2 projectors, one onstage with a super short throw lens and also a 10k out front, it was pretty tight to fit the supersede onstage as there were a load of trees flown in the grid.
Because everything was flown in at the end and we were projecting on and through gauze, i made a line grid with used parts of the bare stage to make sure the alignment had not moved.
This was the stage with he trees in, actual trees cut for the job and mounted with flying steels, pretty bankers for such a little stage too. Good fun and nice to work with Zsolt and the nice people at the court again.
During the couple of weeks at the court I got an invite from Wolfgang to see a performance Be One at The Hive in Kew Gardens. It was a really cool setting for the piece and also nice to see everyone and not to be working.
I think it must have been July and i was in newcastle for the weekend when James and myself decided to take the kites out at Drudge bay on the weekend. It must have been about 3 years since we had had them out and had forgotten how powerful the wind can be.
I only got out the 6meter peter Lynn out and James had the 4m Blade out, I think it was a blade. Anyway, he got a good beating by the wind, you cant really see here but thats a layer of skin gone, ouch!
Around July I was working with 59 Productions where we were projection mapping onto a cello for the abc proms advert. I had done some RD earlier in the year and then Max setup the project for the shoot.
We tracked the cello using Blacktrax and used d3 for the mapping, it was a really tight window of 4 hours with Sol but we managed to get some good results.
Below is the final video from the BBC.
Following this I was off to Farnborough airshow working with Chris Simcock to projection map onto a 5m replica of an aeroplane.
The physical model was incredibly well built and the 3d model generated by Rowan was excellent too. Chris was there a couple of days before and there was a bit of moving around projectors. Once everything in it was a really neat installation. The final Client was GKN who were pretty pleased with the result.
I was looking after the servers for the week and checking the alignment, the client also wanted to be able to trigger the installation with a button push. I had been working on a little personal project to create a d3 Bosc controller using cherry key switches and an Arduino. with he bits i had on me i managed to make this happen for the client, triggering the installation on cue.
I think we must be late July now where i was off to Beirut to do a one off gig looking after Catalyst for Jvan on a Jean-Michel Jarre gig
He was performing in some old Roman ruins at Baalbek with was a pretty epic setting.
After setting up and after the first soundcheck i realised that the stage wasn’t that solidly built and everything was rattling to shit with the base and lack of bracing. In the end, gafa taping down the laptops on foam on lids, and taping in the connectors was the solution.
The stage design was several led screens of different depths and lots of lasers!!
There was some pretty epic old synths onstage and a pretty cool gig to be on after watching Jarre on the tv as a kid when he dine his new your show.
LASER HARP!! fully functional, such a site!
After returning from Lebanon i was heading up to Edinburgh to work with Fiftynine as part of the d3 team projecting on the castle. Blue-i
I think it was 42 projectors which we had pointing at the castle, over the few nights of lines we went through a few coverage configurations to enhance parts to suit the content.
In some areas we had Megastacks which was essentially 12 projectors overlaid. The content team pulled some crazy hours on this and everyone pulled together to pull this off. It was pretty impressive to see this scale of projection.
Heres picture of a castle projected on a castle.
Coming back from Edinburgh I had a few days off and my PCB which i had designed and ordered had been delivered. This was for the button to OSC control surface i was working on.
Its essentially an Arduino and cherry key switches on a custom PCB, it works really well though i yet still to move on with this project and get revision2 which has abetter PCB layout and LED feedback.
Still in august i got a call form PRG to do g gig in Prague woking after catalyst for a very, Very expensive Russian wedding.
It was in a very beautiful old building by the river which the entire inside was transformed into a gothic mansion.
The system was a Catalyst system consisting of 12 Apple Dustbins to cover the whole space, it was a odd one as it was definitely a d3 job but the Russian client insisted on catalyst.
I setup the system and then headed of there the system to Serge who spent 2 days tweaking exact maps. Pete and the boys did an excellent job of projector placement as when we got to site there were these huge chandeliers in the way which were bigger than expected due to the added decoration.
The show went well, there was a very drunk wedding party and there was so much can that the following day after the load out we helped ourselves to a bit of cake.
Pretty much straight after Prague i was off to Dubai to do a job for David Bajt working with Protec. The gig was the unveiling of the model box for the new metro station for the Dubai 2020Expo
It was a huge gig and only for a handful of people and the Sheik, the above picture is the middle of the installation which was a LED screen cube with a wrap around content on all 4 sides and the roof, the content was beautifully done.
The presentation consisted of 2 Zendome tent structures and the LED cube in the middle. The guests came into he first Planetarium Zendome which we were projecting onto a projection skin which was vacuumed up onto he inside. Unfortunately both vacuum controllers for this got damaged and we only had a saggy dome for the first couple of days for lineup.
On of the tent people managed to make one of the controllers work temporarily which meant we could make a start on lining up 7 projectors to fill the screen with pixels.
Over a period of a few days and after we finally got a stable dome we managed a proper lineup, below is the initial lineup attempting to use quick cal and several lasers based on the dome being the shape that it says it is in the documentation.
The quickCal got me so far but it was quite clear that the advertised shape of the dome and the actual she of the dome was different. I decided to take a survey of the dome with a laser plumb and a laser measure and took measurements from the floor to the roof every 100mm to profile the actual shape of the dome.
It worked out hat i took about 200 measurements, brought these into a spreadsheet and then remodelled the dome in C4d to get the actual shape. Below shows the difference int he domes. Tot he right is the advertised dome and to the left is the actual shape
Because the dome relies on a constant vacuum pressure to keep it inlace and the temperature outside would vary as we were outside in Dubai, constant tweaking was needed to keep it aligned, pretty happy with he lineup on this one.
It was good to work wth the Protec guys who were super professional and fun at the same time. Heres a blurry pic of me inside the LED cube, I’m pretty sure everyone done this. Post Dubai i was back in the UK and had about a wee of no work which meant I could catch up with friends and family. It was a very short week, or it just went over super fast. No siren was that week over i was down london to work with Tal on a show called “Shopping and Fucking” at the Lyric. It was quite a crazy but fun show to work on and put together by a great team directed by Sean.
I ended up doing a bit of content on this mainly 3d for various sections. Heres a picture of Tal captured wth 123D Catch imported into c4d with a HDRI lighthouse environment, no reason to do this impart from learning ;).
Straight after this I did a one off gig for Dan Bond covering his Suede gig in Bilbao, the first half of the show was Suedes NightThoughts album which has a Film played along with it projected onto a front gauze. I was triggering this off catalyst based on the Lyrics timing and beat. I spent quit a bit of time running though the video, id never listened to Suede intentionally before this but now i think I’ve listened to Night Thought about 10 times.
Back from Bilbao I was at ArtAv to do some testing with some Encoders to OSC devices they were developing for a job in January. I spent a day there testing my d3 servers and the encoders, then the following week Steve and myself were at Dance city doing some more tests after some software mods. Heres picture of Steve equating like a Slovak watching a spinning piece of cardboard.
Late October I was doing a little d3 job for VER on Alan Carrs 12 Stars of Xmas. It was a pretty good week which involved switching feeds to LeD screens on a set where the windows opened like advent calendar windows. Below is Raymond the racoon staring in my lineup grids.
Not long after this my Mavic pro turned up in the post, i wasn’t expecting this to appear till atlas mid December so it was a nice surprise. This was the first drone I’ve owned in 3 years, prior to this i built a DJI f550 then after that a Freefly Cinestar which was so big it scared the shit out of me each time i flew it.
The first time i took out the Mavic I took it tot he place i flew my first drone, just up form Winlaton Mill. It is really responsive to fly and the handling is amazing, I’m so impressed in how myth e technology has came on in the past few year.
Heres a picture of the lovely little village of Winlaton Mill.
Mid November I got a call from Video Design to go down for a couple of d3 jobs which consisted of project setup for some protection tests in the warehouse for a UK tour this year and the second job was for an artist doing a slot on the XFactor.
The Factor was a tricky one as we had limited time to get it in and there were pretty much no reference parks to quickCal to. I had 3 projectors rear projecting onto a curve and also 2 more projectors hitting the floor, 5 in total to get in in under an hour.
In the end i make some measurements not he model and replicated them on the physical set to Cal to, this worked pretty well and the client and production were happy.
The rest of November and December is taken up with a job I’m not aloud to talk about, so instead heres some pictures of when i went to Brooklands one Saturday whilst waiting for my laundry to be done. Heres Concord from below.
If your close by its really worth a trip to Brooklands museum, theres loads of history there and a really nice way to spend an afternoon. Best to go on a nice day as quite allot of the exhibits are outside. Below is the Barnes Wallos Stratosphere chamber, just google it, its like a wind tunnel on steroids, and t thin this was built all those years ago and functioned how it did is amazing.
On the 9th December i was off to Berlin with friends to see Nicholas Jaar DJ at Columbia Halle. When the tickets came on sale I booked 4 tickets straight away, the gig seems like such a long time ago no even though it was only 2 month!
The gig was really really good, Jaar played allot of familiar stuff and did some really long build ups. I don’t normally go to see DJ’s but this was epic such a good night.
After the gig tony had got us on the guest list to Tresor which we stayed there till about 04:00 then after that we went to tome of my most favourite places in Berlin EmmaPea cafe by day, cosy club by night.
During our time in Berlin we had the chance to catch up with Ben which construed of a lovely afternoon of eating chatting wandering and taking pictures of stuff in the semi foggy air.
After begin I was back on the gig that I cant talk about, there was quite allot of prep went into this gig as we had a MASSIVE led screen driven from several really nice m8 video processors totalling 8 x 4k feeds.
One evening after i was the only one left and i was doing some tests on the led and the pipeline I decided to try some moire experiments. I love the effect of moire its a like making digital a bit more analogue, its difficult to show here but heres some pictures of a huge led screen with stuff on.
This is no more than single pixel lines soared at 2 pixel divisions on the right side and 1 pixel divisions on the left side and rotated by 7 degrees
More rotation, this is really interesting when your stood next to it. die to the fact that the led screen was so bug it covered a wide field of view and when the line pattern was rotating it was difficult to perceive depth.
More lines with the pixel shader occluding the green pixels in the distance giving the magenta falloff.
So, back to work! I team apparent that for this job we needed to apply LUT (colour look up tables) tot he content based on the calibration of the led screen. d3 couldn’t do this natively but with the use of Notch and a beautifully simple notch patch we were able to apply LUT and colour grading to the content on the fly. This technique meant that the content guys only had to give us one base grade and then of they wanted to change the trade they gave us the LUT saving hours of re-rendering.
I left his job on the 21st December leaving behind the gift of a cheap but effective led mirrorball from Amazon to complete the setup of video control, it was appreciated by almost everyone.
Thats it, it feels like its taken me faking ages to write this, i did start writing this 15 days ago about on the 27th January dipping in and out but its finally done, the last 6 month of 2016. To finish off, familiar to most people heres a face in a flight case catch.
Straight after landing from Venice after coming form he ArtAV job i drove to Brighton where I had planned to stay the night, catch up with friends and see Novak’s projection mapping pice on the Brighton dome as part of the festival.
It was about an hour and a half drive from Gatwick to Brighton, and such a sunny day, when i got there i checked into he hotel and then met up with the boys from QED for some food. Id been following this project with interest for a while from knowing the chaps at Novak and QED. Dan Grey and Rich Porter spent allot of time working on the best unwrap of the 3d scanned pavilion.
I saw some of the pre-vis in the Novak studio a couple of weeks before, the guys had done some beautiful light passes to great effect. In addition Dan had planned the projector placment so that it was possible to hit the columns on the front and behind meaning the possibility of multilayered content which I’ve never seen done before.
I finally got to see the show that evening after landing and it was so good, everyone had put 110% effort in all the way and it showed. The event was incredibly popular and more people turned up each night, more than was expected.
Dan at the helm of d3 operating the show above, the planning of the coverage was so crucial to this and he nailed it.
Straight after Brighton is was over to work with Nick from year culture to put in a video installation at Saddlers wells. The first couple of days were spent in a dressing room setting up the servers and testing the content and sync locally.
Then we had 3 days to install the projectors and set things up in the foyer of saddlers along with some excellent help form the saddlers team.
The show was called Nobody and featured many site specific art installations throughout the building from the backstage, basement and foh.
Michael Hulls instalation LightSpace was particularly fun and I bumped into Jan Urbanowsky who did the animation aspect of the LightSpace install which was nice.
This was all back in May and feels like such a ling time ago, more inforation about NoBody at saddlers can be found here –> NoBody
Andy Finally heres a happy face from the Grnville Hotel Brighton!
The physical part of the installation consists of 16 projectors on quad-pods (like tripods but with 4 legs) Projecting down on the floor. Each of the individual projected images overlap by 2 pixels to create one whole image. I was responsible for the watch out layback and programming, before i arrived Steve Lez & Simon had been rigging the cabling for the speakers and projectors which drops straight down from the roof and into the projectors.
We spent a couple of days in a warehouse with the architects going through ideas and working out some of the technical aspects ready for the install in Venice. About 3 weeks later I was the first in Venice and met Dario, out Italian fixer for the job. We loaded the Kit from the docks onto a boat and then traveled with it on a boat to the Arsenale Biennale venue.
A few hours later Steve and Lez arrived as they were flying from somewhere else, we unpacked and checked the kit to make sure it had all arrived in once peice. The following day we had a relatively early start and got to work marking out the precise grid onto which we were to position the “quad pods”.
It was quite tricky marking out the grid as we had to take into consideration the angle of the beams in the roof where we were hanging cables and cable tray off. Coupled with a 200 year old non straight rood we had to avoid an pillar which was in the middle of the floor and had to weave between one of the quad-pods. It took a good few hours to get the floor grid placement correct but was important that we spent the time doing that.
I think this may have been the end of day three after a few long days of marking out, getting projectors into position and cables in the air. There was a local chap who was blacking out the windows in our space and make a lively set of raps for the doorway, we had quite a grand entrance!
The content didn’t arrive till quite late and came as a huge image sequence which I used ffmpeg on the watch out servers to encode to video. It was really pleasing to be encoding one single image sequence into 4 quadrants of video all parallel and could watch it live projected on the floor as each frame was encoded. The video was rendered out into 4 separate quadrants to enable smooth playback from Watchout as it struggled with a single 4k video.
Prior to coming out to venice i spent some time putting some of my own content together just to see what it would look like on such an unusual canvas. Above is just a simple pixel pattern using each projector as simple light source and making a cheesy disco floor. As well as the cheesy stuff I also modelled in 3d the actual quad-pods. I done a few directional light passes around the virtual model and baked the shadows onto the texture. This meant I could create “false shadows” of the legs. Below is an example of this with a fake light source emanating from the pillar casting a shadow on the floor, Im really interested in this effect of tricking the brain with light.
We managed to make good progress getting things ready in time so after the working day had finished I spent some time doing more quite simple animations that when viewed in this context were really pleasing to the eye. Below is concentric circles emanating from the legs.
And below a close up of a single set of concentric circles covering the whole canvas which I particularly like.
The brass legs take bright colours really well with the bounced reflection of the floor image.Strokes and triangles, when i was doing this loads of people took videos of it, it starts with simple lines coming from the edges and bouncing off each quad-pod leg creating a geometric spirograph effect. I’ll try and find a copy of some footage from someone and upload it to my Vimeo account, i keep meaning to make more of an effort to document stuff then kick myself when I don’t take enough pictures or footage.
I set up a limited company in April SEVENTHREE Productions and the cosplay logo has evolved into this (below) after a few iterations. Im still in the process of building a company website i like. The current one is being rebuilt and i still need to get my head around the sort of complex WordPress template.
After week and a bit in Venice we were done, the client was happy, the biennale people were happy and we were happy. It runs until the 27th November, if your close buy try and go and visit, theres some really cool stuff to see.
As a temporary departure from places in places, heres Lez’s happy smily face on the way to the airport in a water taxi!
Late January this year I received first an email and then a call from Peter Harding, one of the directors of Hawthorn. We had never met before but Sarah Cox from d3 had recommended me for a job they had coming up in May, on which they were using d3 for the first time. I was in Milan at the time and on my return from the Milan job I was landing in London and driving in Newcastle where I stopped off at Cambridge and met Peter about the forthcoming job.
After a chat and a coffee and getting an overview of the project I was onboard to look after the d3 project & programming.
The conference is called Adobe Summit. this are an Annual meet up of businesses and users of Adobe products in excel. Fast forward to April I went to Hawthorn in Leicester to do some testing with the setup. We had 2 x d34x4 and a 14,000px X 1080px initial content canvas plus a load of LED pixel mapping. The tests went swimmingly well and following month we were in ExCel setting up for the gig.
Nick was head of video for the main room, Tony was looking after E2 switching, Sleepy Tom was tech video guy and I was there looking after the d3’s & programming. It was a really fun team and under the pressure of such a size gig we still had a laugh.
There was quite a bit of pixel mapping as well as the playback of the main opening continent and essentially “backgrounds” for when the speakers were presenting. Downstage center of the stage were a set of 2.5m high letters spelling SUMMIT, which we were projection mapping onto, and also pixel mapping just under 100 DMX fixtures inside the letters to light up the opaque sides matching the fide content on the front.
There were also some CMY fixtures above the SUMMIT letters, which were pointing down to colorize the shadow behind, as we couldn’t hit that part of the screen with projection because of the letters.
And in addition on site I pixel mapped 22 Ayton blades that were running along the top of the set. After a few hours of tweaking and working with the lighting department we were all mapped and ready.
New content came when the client turned up and we got that in the system and basically went straight into rehearsals. It was a mixture of a really fast setup, then parts of waiting around allot then moments of being really busy. I’d never worked for Hawthorn before and dint realize how big the company was and how big this gig was until I arrived at ExCel for the first day. The entire of the conference center was taken over for the event with so much technical kit installed!
After rehearsals and 2 days of shows it was over, It was a great gig to be part of and meet some new friends.
Ive just, today, in fact around 2 hours ago decided to start splitting down these blog posts in to a more sensible format. Rather than going through what has happened chronologically and trying to cram everything into one catchup post I’m doing them project to project.
Sooooooo, mid to late April I got a call of Dan from QED asking if i was available for a week to to do some projection mapping onto some mountain sides in Spain. Naturally with a proposal like that I said yes.
After a longer chat on the phone, some arrangements of flights and accommodation, a meet up with Harry in Gatwick and then an super early origin flight for all of us, we were eventually at Almeria with was the area we were going to be projecting.
The gig was for Lexus, we were projecting specifically created animations by video designer Edgar Davey onto huge rock faces and ran the video to cue whist a 3 million pid prototype car drove past and was filmed. The whole thing sounds pretty crazy and actually was. All of the crew were stoping in a villa complex and we had all of our kit in the courtyard, projectors, lenses etc. In addition to the projects sense sand cabling infrastructure we had a small camper van with a pair of d3 4×4 media servers strapped int he back for us to do the projection mapping with.
In total we had 3 locations which we were going to project onto that week and I decided to make some specific line grids for each one. The first one I included my standard kitten which I stole from the internet in November 2015 she’s called Doris. as soon as it started getting dar and we could see some form of gird, Dan and myself started lining up onto the rock face. it was a really good system using d3 multi edit as we both started on a projector either side of the centre and work out either side, a very good use peoples time and resources.
Once we were lined up, on which we were using 4 x Christies Boxers and 1 x Panasonic 12k we were ready for the shoot. The premise was that the car drove around and then the animation was created to “track the car”. After few takes and refining the cue timings we got a brilliant shot.
I decided to bring up one of the standard d3 images (Lena) onto he canvas and just by chance here eyes lined up perfectly with the hill side, i love this picture.
Here is a video of the actual advert, its pretty good though only shows a small portion if the work which was done by the team.
Lexus – Into the Light
The second day we were ono another filming location, due to tit being a long filming schedule we split the shift so Steve and Harry setup during the day then Dan and myself took over for the lineup and operating on a nighttime.
The picture above shows the really looooong shot we had to make, I think we were around 300m away from the rock face for this one. I was impressed by Dans ability to work out quite quickly in his head what lenses we needed.
On the same day (second day) we projection mapped the engine of the car. Although to be honest, Edgar who created the content took the most amazing guess of the angle of the projector position, tower height, distance to car, and rendered out the content to that. When we reprojected the animation it fitted perfectly!!
The whole premise of the shoot/advert was that everything was “for real”, this meant that alongside the car advert there is also another viral advert talking about the making of. You should watch it even if you only have a hint of geek inside you, its interesting.
Lexus LC – Into the light : THE MAKING OF
Tis particular night was a productive but quite a long night we achieved allot. When Dan and myself left sight it was light, and we were both a bit giddy from sleep depravation. I was driving us in the camper van back to the villa around some serious steep cliff drops.
Story is we made it home!
Below is day three, final day, for me this was the least inspiring location, we had 3 boxers pointing at a cliff face. it still looks really good but didn’t have the panache of the previous 2 nigts.
Whilst we were waiting for dark, Dan and myself decided to climb up to the highest point on the hill. `if you look at the highest point in the picture above (in the middle) . Thats where we are sat in the picture below.
It was a great place to be working out of and at the same time I do enjoy working with the QED chaps, fun times!!
This was a job which was meant to start happening last November 2015 then was pushed back and back until it was stripped out of Milan in January 2016 and began to be rebuilt in Kew Gardens in April 2016. This is the UK pavilion from the Milan expo 2015. It was a very strange and irritating job for me, due to the fact I had not been invited to any meetings prior to the install and any of my recommendations for the timescale and install of the LED were disregarded. I can say now this is not the most happy blog post but its a story which needs told.
I was booked to be onsite with Jon and we were to test and maintain the LED ring sections which had been uninstalled from Milan, there was a local crew in Milan taking down the hive and removing the LED rings. I had gone in previous and labeled all the cabling and made safe what need to be made safe, the locals would then do the physical strip down.
Dale was out in Milan supervising the Local crew on the strip down of the whole hive including the LED. Care wasn’t really taken on the out and there were dents and kinks on each section and some parts where parts had been ripped out without un doing the bolts.
It was pretty frustrating coming to test what had been taken down in Milan, after saying that care needed to be taken only to discover damage & cut cables.
The schedule to get the LED tested and replied was 10 days from myself and Jon working out of a pare of gazebos in a carpark outside of Kew gardens. When we got to site the guys installing the hive had been there for a week but unable to work because of setbacks with the groundworks. I was aware that budgets were tight on this job and having 10 guys not being able to do anything for a week probably cost the project in the region of £15k .
This is the woking area at Kew for testing the LED, not really enough space, and after continually asking for a dry area to work and a dry area to store the LED we had an enclosure but to store tested ring sections. Looking back now, I’m not actually sure why I put up with the amateur conditions. This was and still is a big profile job but the working environment was completely retarded.
Gary was continually out to screw fix for the first week to pick up bolts & fundamental tools for the hive build, components were shirt even though there were 7 weeks in Milan during the strip down where this could have been already ordered. During testing of the LED the generator we had, broke down and we lost a day whilst one of they guys tried to fix it instead of just hiring one for the week, it was frustrating.
Before the “waterproof” enclosure was built there was nowhere to store the dried and tested rings so we ended up hanging them in the gazebo in an already tight working area.
Jumping back to when Jon and Myself came onsite the, LED transported from Milan was wrapped in polythene to keep them dry but because there was no cover to store them once they had came off the truck water had seeped in and pooled in the poletheyne submerging some of the pixels underwater.
This is one of the pixels full of water, I was stunned that it was still working. When I designed the elctronics and got them manufactured I requested a conformal coating which essentially created a limited waterproof brier for the electronics.
I had stressed my concerns about the waterproofness of the pixel shell, I designed the shell and sought advice of the best way to waterproof them from Production at StageOne but none in the office were concerned about my concerns of water ingress.
I think we replaced about 60 (8%) Pixels in the end, even though they were working, if there was any sign of damp they were replaced with new seals.
This is where electrolysis has happened on some electronics with damp or under water, this is essentially fixable but is not a quick process.
This below is our watertight enclosure for storing the tested and dry LED rings, I have no idea how many times I asked for a waterproof dry enclosure. None on the managers on the job seemed that bothered about the project itself. That was incredibly frustrating after putting 100’s hours into designing the electronics for the pixel, designing the cable infrastructure and also writing the software which translates the activity of a real beehive into light. I really cared and still do about this project but found it impossible to do anything to a good standard without the required resources or support of Stage One. It really did feel like everything was unnecessarily difficult, I had assumed that after not being to a meeting prior to the install that someone had been making provisions, I was wrong. Adam Wildi has an amazing knack of making a really simple task difficult and expensive, I hate inefficiency.
So the 10 days of testing maintaining and replacing led pixel rings ready to go into he hive was over. We had worked in a tent in a carpark, which someone had decided to erect at the lowest part of the carpark so when it rained we had a pool on the corner. We had lost several man days due to an old knackered generator failing on us and never had adequate waterproof cover to store electronics. For the build of the hive, components were still being bought from screw fix instead of having been foreseen and ordered prior to this. All of this happening whist the LED install schedule was so tight due to budgets even though other parts of the build were loosing money due to inefficiency and bad planning.
Its difficult to write this without sounding bitter but I’m actually more saddened and frustrated by the process. At this point I decided to tell the directors that I was stepping down from the project. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly and was unhappy on this project, it made me miserable and my professional opinion wasn’t been listened too. I was saddened and i stuck with it for so long because of the history of successful projects I’ve done with Stage One. It was the right decision and I should have said that I would not have done the project earlier if I could have seen into the future and see the lack of support and respect.
Ive continued to remotely support the project as all the LED electronics and software is my design and theres no-one else to support it, I’m not the kind of person to leave anyone in the shit.
The Hive had a opening party on in early June, I had a call from Robin prior to the opening asking for some support with the LED. I helped him over the phone and he said what time are you coming down to the opening party, I told him i didn’t get an invite and robin said “your fucking kidding me”. I wish I was kidding, about the whole thing.
The Hive will be in Kew gardens for the next 2 years, the designer Wolfgang is a really sound guy as is Mike, Robin, Kev and Tony who have looked after the audio element. Its worth going to see if your in the Kew area.
Its Bank Holiday Monday the 28th of March 2016 and I’m finally sitting down to update this blog, its seems to be turning into quarterly updates. I keep promising myself to post more regular as theres allot of interesting stuff i miss out or forget to put in when posting at such large intervals. I think I’ve said that pretty much every update for the past 5 updates.
So, picking up where the last blogpost left off, i had been working with QED doing a projection mapping at Islington for Nina Dunn, that was sort of my last job before christmas which meant one thing, Xmas party’s. Luke had invited me to his “Luke Halls Studio – Tardy Christmas lunch” and it was excellent, there weren’t many of us but we managed to start eating and drinking at about 13:30 and ended up gate crashing the end of the 59 Productions xmas party at around 22:00, after much silly dancing and more drinks I made it back to where i was staying, somehow.
When I said earlier that Islington was the last job before Xmas there was one little job squeezed between and that was setting up the Dell Street Scene stand at Westfield shopping centre for Drive Productions. It was a advertising stand where we had an massive replica of the current dell laptop they were promoting. Members of the public were invited to stop on the key of the giant laptop which triggered one of several video clips on the rear projection screen. We had a 30k lumens 4k resolution Christies Boxer projector delivering the content and I had my d3 4×2 driving the projection. It did look really tidy and the animations were really punchy.
After finishing the last job down London I travelled back up north to see friends and family for christmas. About a month prior to this i was out with my mate Marley and after a few beers and chatting we decided to book flights to Berlin for new years, long story short, something went wrong with the booking and I ended up with 2 extra flights after an internet mixup. At this stage the most sensible thing to do was to invite more people, in the end there was 6 of us having a mini holiday in Berlin for the new years. we all got out there around the 29th/30th and returned on the 5th, I can safely say its the most I’ve laughed with a great bunch of mates in a long time. Mitch doesn’t look happy in the photo below but it was minus 12C that day and I think he was the only one without thermals!
After returning back from Berlin there was a short turn around and i was prepping to go back down south for London Lumiere working with ArtAV again doing projection onto another Jannet Echelman sculpture. We had learned allot from doing 1.8 on Durham Lumiere in the previous November and this was a big step up in terms of complexity and timeframe we had too do everything in.
I was looking after projection and d3 project setup. We were using projection on the sculpture as there was an interactive element were the public could long onto a web app with their phone, where the was a topological image of the net displayed. When the user taped the image on their screen a dot would appear on the simulation on their phone/device and an actual blob of light would appear on the actual sculpture through the means of projection. At the sane tim up to 6oo could log onto the network and collectively generate projected patterns on the sculpture. This, combined with lighting made a pretty impressive floating thing above Oxford Circus.
There was quite allot of preparation which went into this and as we got closer to the event the schedule slightly changed meaning we had less setup time. I got a final 3d mesh model of the sculpture around December, I had no idea how I was going to unwrap it and when I did get the model it came in as 300,000+ polygons and was a pretty complex shape. After trying and realising the limits if my then 3d modelling and UV unwrapping skills i got in-touch with Dave Shepard. Dave managed to work his absolute magic in super quick time by entirely retopologizing the mesh down to 3000 polygons and doing a really good uv unwrap.
This was the model with a standard UV colour pattern applied.
And this is the 2d UV unwrap which Dave sent (you may need to open the image i a new window to see the grid), I took the original and created this line-upgrid, in the next image below.
The lineup grid below shows the main elements of the sculpture we were aiming to hit with projection. The white area represents the lowest part of the hanging net and the numbers and colts are there for clarification when identifying the overlap and orientation of things.
This is a photo I took when I had 2 out of the 4 projection towers (west) lined up, 6 projectors currently out of 12. There was several things with made this quite challenging, first was the sculpture material being around 50% transparent although we were were hitting it with enough light to be visible. Next was the sculpture itself, it is constructed of an inner and outer mesh, one hanging inside the other which gave off double imaging more totable around the bottom so it was difficult to tell if the projection overlaps were correct immediately. Wind, bloody wind, trying to lineup in software projection on a moving surface is frustrating and more frustrating is there is nothing you can do about it apart from wait for it to calm down and cary on. Lastly when the net went up it was close to the requested position but ended up slightly south and was rotated clockwise a little to the original plan. Positioning the final model net position in d3 was a combination of referencing to where it was in relation to the ground, taking photos and laser measurements and quite a bit of guesswork and trial and error.
When it came to lining up the first projector I spent quite a bit of time trying to move the virtual projector into the correct location which got the lineup relatively close. The net didn’t actually hang exactly as the model but was pretty close so, I decided as an experiment, to try Quickcal in d3. Given that the upper part of the net structure was a set of rope bridals with little stretch I knew that the upper loop of the net would have the least distortion when hanging. I placed 4 calibrate points along the top of the net where there were obvious vertex and then took an arbitrary point lower down near the bottom of the net and dragged it onto what I thought was close to the real-world position on the net. When I eventually got an image after moving around my fifth quick cal point I gradually adjusted the previous points little by little until the projected mesh was pretty much lined up onto of the real net. After a little more 2d warping it was pretty dam good, and i repeated the process for the remaining 11 projectors. I do feel like I was abusing the quickCal feature in d3 but it worked really well in this instance and gave me consistent results!
Rewinding back two days before lining, to get the sculpture in the air, Gary White assembled a team from Unusual Rigging to get it up, this involved a road closure in Oxford circus prior to the event and one or two pissed of shouty taxi drivers. After a bit to untangling and rethreading the massive jellyfish like structure it was up, and looked pretty impressive.
On the first night we set up the control room which was in the power distribution room onto of Topshop in oxford circus. It was pretty cosy and pretty noisy and after we had finished with it it was full of d3 and touch designer servers, plus allot of ancillary equipment for the event.
The following night involved getting all the signal distribution in from the control room to the projection towers. Because of space restrictions the projection & lighting towers were built onto of the exits to the tube exits on each corner of oxford circus. QED provided all the d3 servers, projectors and their excellent fibre system to get DMX, DVI and network between the control room and the projection/lighting towers. In addition ArtAV had built some custom Touch designer servers and a rather powerful wifi network system which handled the interactivity, I think at one point the system had 500 consecutive users online generating realtime patters on the sculpture from their phones.
After a very short 3 days setup we were up and running of the first evening of Lumiere London on the Thursday. It was a sterling effort by everyone getting everything up and running in time along with all the other artworks being installed around the city too.
Quite a few people asked me what the sculpture was meant to be so heres an explanation direct from Jane’s website and also heres an image to go with the description.
The work’s title is 1.8, referring to the length of time in microseconds that the earth’s day was shortened as a result of a single physical event, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that emanated from Japan. The sculpture’s form was inspired by data sets of the tsunami’s wave heights rippling across the entire Pacific Ocean.
Literally a couple of days after finishing Lumiere I was back in Milan label and advise on the takedown of the LED element for the UK pavilion from the Milan Expo 2015. I was out there for just over a week, labelling up everything and stripping out delicate elements ready for everything to be installed in Kew gardens starting this April (2016) and going live in June or July I think
Whilst I was out there I took a short video of the deconstruction with my DJI Oslo handheld camera which you can se below.
After getting back from Milan, i had some time in the north east where i did a bit of maintenance on my equipment, upgraded the OS on my servers and took over to Novak studios where they were working on a project called hinterland (more to follow).
I also decided to upgrade my car to a newer vehicle with more space for kit, I ended up getting a BMW x3 2011 with is really really nice to drive and I can fit quite a bit of kit in there. All i can say after owning it and driving it for the past couple of months is, i like automatic cars and I love the cruse control, such an upgrade form my 11 year old One Series!
A week later I was off to Saudi with Drive productions to do the Israr awards, i was looking after the d3 racks and system setup. It was a pretty busy and long week getting setup and getting the show together. We had 12 projectors, a hologauze and a high rez led screen to play with.
I had to do the lineup twice after a miscommunication about not moving the projectors and finding they had been ratchet strapped together and to the tower the following day, hahah!
After a few days and some Epic programming sessions for Rowan we had a show and everyone seemed very happy!
After the show and stripping down all the FOH equipment we had a photo opportunity, I find the is photo so funny, it makes no sense.
After a couple of days which involved a flight, a train and then a drive to Cardross, I was at StPeters seminary doing a site visit for a project called Hinterland. I was providing d3 servers project setup a and UV unwrapping for Novak as they were projection mapping onto a section of this iconic building as parter of a larger event.
After 2 hours walking round a damp concrete building and discussing projector positions with Rock I was headed back down south to LS Live to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Nitelites were showcasing their new stick of RCF line array and it was a great opportunity to see everyone. I had to include this picture as I hadn’t seen this guy in ages. This is the morning after we had all had beers together.
After visiting friends i was headed back north to do the last of the preparation for Hinterland, I was in the studio on the Monday, updating the 3d model and getting the system setup and then on the Tuesday I was completely flawed with what i can only describe as the wort flue I’ve had in years. From Tuesday through to Thursday I essentially slept and sweated with a horrible fever and developed a really bad cough. By the Friday I dragged myself back to the studio and then on the Saturday morning I was driving to Scotland with a vehicle full of kit to set up for Hinterland. For more information, and better than i can describe, this is what the Hinterland event was about HERE.
I was providing the media servers and projection mapping services for Novak who had made custom content for the event projecting into various elements of the building. One day of setup and then 2 nights spent in a cold damp building lining up projection didn’t help my cold and Phil the lighting designer kept handing out encouragement by telling me to stop being Ill, ha!
By the end of the Tuesday night all the projection was lined up and the media server integrated into the show and being triggered with timecode.
I got the below image of the event off the internet and now cant find where i got it from and who to credit, if anyone knows who took this please send email an email and ill credit them. It was a pleasure to work on this event it it has such a great creative team too, since the event NVA have secured £4million worth of funding to carry on the restoration of StPeters seminary to what will hopefully become and arts based venue over the next 10 years, excellent news!
I left the seminary before the event to drive down to London for my next job so didn’t get to see the final Hinterland event but I’ve been told it was extremely well received. So, with quite a few details missing in-between tis brings us up to date where I am currently programming video for Tal Rosner at the Royal court for a show called X when we have or first preview on Wednesday the 30th March 2016, not long to go!!!
Last but not least, whats a blog post without a face to finish on, I saw these two little fellas on the plane back from Saudi. OOoooooooooohhhhhh, Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggghhhh!!!