The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has officially inaugurated the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, whose debut was marked by stunning video projection mapping across the streamlined, modernist façade. Belgium-based Visual Solutions crafted the week-long, nighttime display powered by 52 projectors and six d3 4×4pro media servers with VFC cards from d3 Technologies.
The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture is an initiative of Saudi Aramco, the Kingdom’s major oil company. It is located in Dhahran, Saudi Aramco’s hometown. Norwegian architectural firm, Snohetta, designed the building, which features a 200,000-book library, cinema, auditorium, exhibition halls, museum and more. Its goal is to foster cultural development throughout the Kingdom.
Filmmaster MEA Events, produced the grand opening with technical director, Julien Poncelet, heading the team. VER supplied all the video equipment and serviced the event on site.
Visual Solutions’ brief for the video projection mapping evolved from an initial 180º design to a 270º mapping to a final 360º projection mapping covering the entire building. UV mapping of the structure was done by d3 Rental partner By Lex, based in Cologne, Germany.
“There was no question of using anything other than d3 for this show,” says Jo Pauly, Managing Director and Head of Production at Visual Solutions, who says the extensive projector set up was previsualized in d3. “d3 helped us position the projectors, check how the projection would react on the building in terms of shadow and light output and even deformation. It was a great tool for visualizing and predicting our lens types and output power.”
The Visual Solutions team also found other advantages to using d3. “The ability to use multiple editors on one system to perform cable and wireless alignment was key to this project,” Pauly reports. “And versioning made it easy for the content producers.”
The eye-popping video projection mapping depicted chapters from the cultural history of Saudi Arabia from ancient times to today; it also ushered viewers through the new building, which was shown in beautifully abstract wireform, solid and tiled modes. Content was created by Belgium-based Dirty Monitor.
“We used up to 10 outputs per machine, and the 4×4pros worked like a charm,” says Pauly.
In addition to the video projection on the façade, the grand opening also featured a holographic LED show driven by a d3 v.2.5 system and the mapping of a model of the building, which was run from a d3 4×4pro.
At Visual Solutions Michael “Mica” Stroobants was the project leader/manager and Tim Lerat the logistics team leader. At By-Lex the d3 team included Lex Ter Heurne, Kjell Reintjes, Uwe Schroder and Patrick Bellens. The projection team consisted of David Vandevelde, Bert Decock, Siel De Schepper, Dries Van Havermaet, Oliver Dier, Sander De Wandel, Sander De Schrijver, Benjamin Oehl and Kevin Roten.