Branchage Festival, 2014

QED Productions deliver their most challenging project to date: projection mapping the island of Fort St. Aubin using d3.

Background

UK projection specialists QED Productions have outdone themselves once again by taking on one of the most challenging projection mapping projects to date for the Branchage Festival, held on the 24th to 28th September in Jersey.

For this ambitious film festival finale, QED Productions teamed up with Radiophonic Workshop, who performed a specially commissioned live score, and NOVAK, who provided the animations. In keeping with the theme of this year’s festival ‘Make Your Own Island’, QED Productions decided to make their own island using projection mapping, with the iconic St. Aubin’s Fort as its centre-piece.

Said QED Director Paul Wigfield: “From start to finish the challenge was extreme. At first we didn’t even know whether it would be possible. We had to cover the whole island otherwise it would not have looked impressive enough when viewed from such a distance and at high tide. The range of viewing positions from the shore varied between 600m and 2km.” Preparations included three trips to Jersey for surveying, scanning and conducting initial projection tests.

d3 Solution

QED Project Designer and d3 programmer Dan Gray devised a solution which comprised of a network of two d3 4×4pro and four d3 4U v2.5 servers plus twenty 20K lumen projectors, placed on the island as well as on shore.

Projection Map Your Own Island from QED Productions Ltd on Vimeo.

According to Gray: “Coming up with a solution for the projection was incredibly tricky as it wasn’t immediately obvious how to achieve coverage on all the faces without placing projection towers in the middle of the sea. So we used the island’s unique shape with its breakwater to enable us to cross project back onto itself. The next challenge was how best to map content onto the fort: we had to look at the island from the same 180 degree viewpoint as the audience rather than focusing on optimising content from the single perspective of the yacht club.”

Having created a 3D model from the scan data the UV map was produced, and then using d3’s real-time 3D stage simulation at each stage of the process it was possible to verify that the piece would hold together from all potential audience viewpoints. Being prepared through 3D simulation also assisted the practical implementation which was extremely challenging all the way through.

A 1km fibre link connected the d3 servers on the island to the servers on the shore. According to Dave Voyce “Working around the tides was a unique experience – with no opportunity to test the viability and integrity of the fibre link in advance we needed a totally robust solution to withstand the undertow. We made as much use of the causeway as possible, drilling multiple fixings for secure anchorage, and then running the cable up the harbour wall and along the quayside to the second control position on the roof of the Yacht Club. Overall we laid 5km of fibre multi-core cabling to link all the projectors with signal and control.”

“We chose the very best technology for each aspect of the job – the extraordinary long throw Panasonic lenses enabled us to hit enough of the fort from long range at sufficiently high resolution, and the versatility and ruggedness of the Christies were ideal to weather the elements in the exposed conditions on the island,” said Dan Gray.

The AV control comprised of two d3 4×4pro and four d3 4u v2.5 media servers, two Lightware FR-33 32×32 DVI matrix switchers and two QED/ThinkLogical 15-channel fibre systems, with on-board output monitoring on all channels provided by two Harris Predator II 16-input DVI multi-viewers. Gigabit fibre control enabled the projector line-ups to be done remotely from all positions around the island and on the shore. Working in team shifts the installation took six days and nights to complete with travel between the shore and the island mainly only being possible by boat for most of the working hours.

Production

Client:

QED Productions

Tour/Event Name:

Branchage Film Festival 2014

Credits

Show Producer:

Paul Wigfield (QED)

Animations by:

NOVAK

d3 server provider:

QED Productions

d3 project setup:

Dan Gray (QED)

d3 programmer:

Dan Gray (QED)

d3 operator:

Dan Gray (QED)

Equipment

d3 gear:

2x d3 4×4pro
4x d3 4U v2.5

Projectors:

16x Christie HD 18K
4x Panasonic DZ-21K

Other equipment:

2x Lightware FR-33 32×32 DVI matrix switchers
2x QED / ThinkLogical 15-channel fibre racks