Microsoft Xbox at E3 2014

d3's powerful software and three d3 4U v2.5 media servers were used on the elaborate Microsoft Xbox space during E3 2014. Leading the project for Microsoft was experiential marketing agency Zed Ink.

Background

This year’s highly anticipated E3 event was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, 10-12 June 2014. With all eyes in the video gaming industry on the live-streamed press conferences, all E3 exhibitors pulled out the stops to show what’s in store for the upcoming year. As in previous years, Microsoft’s Xbox console presented its games previews with help of Zed Ink, an experiential marketing agency specialising in emotive & immersive events.

Erin Hearne was appointed as the project’s Creative Director and Drew Findley as screens producer. Content creation company Toy Robot was brought on board as well, and all worked together on creating an impressive show. Lighting designer Manny Treeson from NYX Design doubled in role as hardware system designer, not only looking after the best LED / media server set-up but also the structure for the workflow.

Ensuring efficient delivery of video content from the different game development companies, who were all included in the press preview, was one of the key challenges of the project. With a large amount of content layers and the set-up time for the show being only five days, the Xbox event at E3 could be seen as a good example of a high-pressure environment, where there is little time or space for corrections or alterations.

The d3 Solution

That’s where d3 came into play: with it’s powerful simulation features, content workflow and simultaneous editing tools, it allows everyone involved to see what a show will look in advance of starting the build up, streamline communication and management, and save time on site. With the Xbox stage featuring three 9mm LED screens with a resolution of 3840×1080 overall, supplied by Chaos Visual Productions, as well as three double stacked 30K Christie projectors (provided by Creative Technologies North America), Manny opted for a very solid server infrastructure: with five d3 4U v2.5s in total, three active d3 4U v2.5’s were used in a single master, dual slave and dual understudy network.

Manny explains: “We started working with d3 very early in the process. As we, the creative team, began the overall show design, Erin wanted to explore how the video content would pay across the physical design as the dynamic cameras (jibs, steadicams, tower cams) moved throughout the arena. d3 was wonderful during the design phase.”

Stephan Hambsch from Chaos Visual Productions, supplying the d3 systems next to the LED walls, adds: “We had been in discussions about this event for a few months, as the show’s success hinged on the fact that the infrastructure was able to handle the designers needs – preparation played a key role.”

With a short set-up time available, both Stephan and Manny mention d3’s MultiEdit feature as a valuable time-saver. “MultiEdit was priceless for this show”, says Stephan. “It allowed Jackson Gallagher and Nils Porrmann, who were onsite for programming and operation, to work simultaneously. So while Jackson was pre-programming one track with newly delivered content, Nils was sequencing the final edit. This is usually a very time-consuming process, so MultiEdit helped to reduce time drastically. With these types of shows, everyone usually expects a headache, but it went extremely smoothly.”

Nils adds: “We were certainly able to make the content team’s job more fluid. Programming content changes normally takes a larger part of the day, but now we could work through alterations faster than the team could render the amends.”

Chaos Visual Productions started working on the full pre-visualisations two weeks in advance of the show, staying in close contact with Manny and Drew, building the show in 3D right up until the set-up. After the event, Manny expressed his sentiments for the team, and the show: “I’m really proud of the entire team, it truly was a fantastic show. I’d also like to take a minute to say thank you to the d3 team, as we’ve felt supported throughout the entire show process.”

All photos © Nadine Froger Photography

Production

Client:

Zed Ink

Credits

Show Director:

Erin Hearne: Creative Director

Show designer:

Manny Treeson, NYX Design: Lighting Design + Hardware System Designer. Kris Bast: Scenic Designer

Production Manager:

Drew Findley: Screens Producer; Chaos Visual Productions Project Manager: Marty Wickman

Animations by:

Toy Robot

d3 server provider:

Chaos Visual Productions, Burbank

d3 project setup:

Nils Porrmann from dandelion & burdock

d3 programmer:

Nils Porrmann, Jackson Gallagher

d3 operator:

Nils Porrmann; d3 System Engineer: Stephan Hambsch

Lighting designer:

Manny Treeson, NYX Design

Set designer:

Kris Bast: Scenic Designer

System Integrator:

Manny Treeson, NYX Design; d3 System Engineer: Stephan Hambsch

Equipment

d3 gear:

1x d3 4U v2.5 Master
2x d3 4U v2.5 Slaves
2x d3 4U v2.5 understudies

Projectors:

9x 30K Christie projectors (6 active)

Led Screens:

3x 9mm Winvision LED wall