Once again TDC – Technical Direction Company’s technical wizardry is dazzling audiences of millions at Vivid Sydney. In 2016 the world’s largest spectacle of light, video and music is extended from 18 days to 23 days, breaking records for city-wide video projections over nine sites including the Royal Botanic Garden and Taronga Zoo.
Michael Hassett, CEO at TDC said: “TDC works on the latest in projection and interactive technologies for Vivid for a total of 11 months prior to the event collaboratively engaging with all project stakeholders in enabling the artists’ creative imaginations to be writ across the skyline.
Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, and Executive Producer of Vivid Sydney Sandra Chipchase said: “Technology is a key element to the Festival as an enabler of artistic works. We’re constantly amazed at what TDC achieves for us each year and this year it’s bigger, better and more spectacular than ever. We expect it to go down in history as a record breaking year in attendance by audiences of all ages.”
Video projection closeups
TDC relishes the huge logistical challenge of coordinating nine sites:
- 70 video projectors, from 40,000 lumens through to 22,000 lumens.
- Over 30 technical staff employed full time.
- 11 kilometers of projection.
- 20 million pixels equivalent to over 60 IMAX screens.
- 20 kilometers of signal and power cables.
- 22 media servers.
- 3 different automation platforms servers running on unique software code.
- All sites remotely monitored with realtime remote reporting.
- A total light output of 1,750,000 ANSI lumens brightness.
- Ensuring energy efficiency, equipment is powered every night but on-standby during the day.
- Impressive 800GB video footage being played back continuously.
Drew Ferors, a senior engineer, says, “Vivid Sydney enables us to continuously develop and research “TDC Live View” software we’ve written that monitors the performance of all the projection equipment. We have installed sensors to measure even variables like temperature. 24/7 TDC Live View manages the integrity of projectors sending an alert in real-time if there’s unforeseen issues providing critical technical updates remotely.”
Steve Cain, head engineer said: “Managing the animations we are using d3 technologies media servers for a number of our sites this year. Two features that d3 media servers offers is 3D visualisation and footprint features to show ‘hotspots’ and ‘coldspots’ in projection mapping areas. It makes my life so much easier. The software is from the lighting design world so is a great tool. We can visually represent the object or building using a 3D fly-through showing how the projection will be laid out on the site to the millimetre of accuracy.
“This was particularly useful for when we worked at Taronga Zoo where we had to alter projector tower locations. Working in 3D we could move the projection towers and see the results instantly.”
Laser-Dragon Water Theatre
TDC provides video projection onto three water-screens that are mounted on a 13m robotic arm floating high above 56 fountains, arranged in snake-like coils. The moving water screen can take the shape of a fearsome dragon or any of the characters taken from Commedia Dell’Arte’s 16th century theatre.
Olin Winton, technical manager said: “Water screen projection runs three different shows every night and a fun feature is that Intel Realsense 3D facial recognition technology that captures the surprised faces of visitors seeing themselves displayed on the water screens.”
X-Factory, Central Park Sydney
The façade of Sydney’s first brewery, Carlton & United Brewery, will once again be given a dramatic makeover by TDC. “We’re providing projection technology and mapping and to a building that is roughly 45 by 30 meters,” enthusiastically explains Anthony Pellizzari, enjoying being back at this site for 2016.
Nicholas Tory, director at Ample projects said: “Our 3D mapping and content showcases the great shift from human labour to computation in the dynamic factory from how it once was to exploring how technology is changing the Factory as a human workplace. We worked with video masters, TDC to pinpoint the exact locations and coverage for our content.” Ample Projects also worked in conjunction with a group of University of Technology students who produced over 30 minutes of additional content for the Central Park precinct.
For the first time, Vivid Sydney incorporates Taronga Zoo Centenary Celebrations.
Visitors are welcomed by a grand projection onto the façade of Taronga’s heritage listed main entrance building. Ample Projects eight-minute long projection show and 3D mapping has been created by its multi-award winning artists and the projection technology and mapping provided by TDC.
Steve Cain added: “We’re projecting onto the ground to add depth using bugs and critters. Due to the nature of sculptures and trees, we’re using ultra-short-throw lenses on our projectors. It was technically challenging from that point of view. We used Ample Projects’ 3D modelling for the entire site prior to the project using the d3 4by4pro Media Server and the results speak for themselves.”
Royal Botanic Garden
Projections at the Royal Botanic Garden presented a fresh challenge for TDC in terms of media serving and engineering. The projections incorporate Ample Projects’ 3D scans and mapping onto the giant Moreton Bay fig trees. As Vivid’s Creative director, Ignatius Jones, noted: “We’re doing something at the Royal Botanic Garden that’s never been done before by projecting videos onto the giant fig trees. Many said that’s not possible, but when we did the test we were totally blown away. The texture of the leaves with the projection on them is extraordinary.”
Pete Lynn, Technical Project Manager, TDC said: “There are three different areas throughout the gardens that we have projected onto. Mapping non traditional surfaces such as enormous trees has been really exciting and we are thrilled with the results.”
The Matter of Painting
The Museum of Contemporary Art at The Rocks once again serves as a canvas for one of Vivid Sydney’s illuminated artwork. Western Sydney artist, Huseyin Sami, joins forces with Paris-based artistic collective, Danny Rose, to create the illusion that the facade is actually being carved, painted, cut and brushed during the presentation.
Steve Cain said: “I really love the colour and vibrancy of this installation. The challenges for this site are multiple angles, trees, and returns, which we’ve managed to map accurately. This is a stunning building to project onto which is a light coloured sandstone. The shape is really interesting for projection too.
“Here, we use high-powered projectors and media serving. However not every project uses bells and whistles. Sometimes a simpler approach gives great results.” Cain added: “We love the old buildings so we broke all records in terms of set up, having projection mapping completed in just 1.5 hours. New buildings and objects challenge us which is the best way to learn things.”
Sergio Carrubba, managing director at Danny Rose added: “Working with TDC’s highly experienced team is always enjoyable and gives us assurances of the best possible outcome.”
At the historic Cadmans Cottage, spectators will be treated to a magnificent interactive adventure. Visuals and projection are by Propaganda Mill. A 10-metre performance area will be transformed into the bow of a vessel, taking visitors on a voyage through a magical portal to a mysterious land. The installation takes visual input from across the full width of the building and the graphics evolve in real time depending on the interaction of participants.
In terms of projection, Olin Winton explained: “We kept low profile viewing angles up as much as possible as it is a small building.”
Sydney’s Hidden Stories
This year TDC and Spinifex Group take projection mapping to the next level!
A new Reality Viewing Platform uses Huawei’s latest smartphones and tablets in an amazing augmented reality experience at Custom House with visuals created by Spinifex Group. After conducting a site survey of Customs House at Sydney Harbour, TDC created a 3D model of the building to plan a giant projection area of 32 by 18 metres. Spinifex Group delivered a 6 minutes fun filled action packed animation that maps to the building, using its intricate architecture, as well as additional content only visible through the Huawei devices positioned on a podium in front of the projection tower, creating a unique Augmented Reality experience.
Cyril De Baecque, Managing Director at Spinifex Group said: “TDC worked with our interactive department to synchronise the content using the world clock so that the projection on the building aligns with the content on the Huawei devices played through a Unity based app developed by Spinifex Group.”
Jeremy Mitchell, Director, Corporate and Public Affairs at Huawei added: “Companies like TDC have achieved outstanding results with our technology in this installation. We are delighted with the results!”
The artistic presence of Jaguar at Martin Place will leave car lovers and newcomers alike in awe of the artwork created by Spinifex Group using an array of LED screens and mapped projections onto the new F-PACE, with projections that are audience activated. Anthony Pellizzari, Technical Project Manager at TDC said: “The concept for this project created working with Spark 44 and Spinifix gave us the opportunity to demonstrate our technical skills in mapping geometric objects, the added dimension of surrounding the car with LED really adds depth of field, and complete automation really let us stretch our technical skills, we are really happy with the results. This is probably a first for an audience to experience this type of technology in a public space where they get to become part of the experience, gauging the public reaction, this use of technology and creative really appeals to all ages.
Cyril De Baecque, Managing Director at Spinifex Group said: “We worked with TDC to create a 3D environment for our artwork for perfect alignment using a jewellery box and union jack theme.”