Protec used its BlackTrax real-time motion tracking system and its d3 Technologies’ 4x4pro media servers to deliver some complex projection mapping for the grand opening ceremony for the World Air Games 2015 held at Sky Dive Dubai.
Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) ushered in the 4th FAI World Air Games (WAG) at an impressive opening ceremony on December 3, 2015 in front of an audience of nearly 5000 spectators from over 50 countries.
“It was great,” said Polish microlight team member Kajetan Ruks. “I’ve never seen anything like it before. And now, I want to see it again.” Joao Francisco, who came from Portugal to compete in the air navigation race said, “On a scale of one to 10, I give it 20!”
Protec was appointed by Dynamic Motion to provide the projection for the WAG 2015 opening ceremony. Projection was required on the 54m x 21m backdrop screen as well as the central 20m x 20m stage area and a 6m diameter inflatable sphere that would be revealed and raised during the show as part of the spectacle while being projected on. Being an outdoor event and along the beach front, wind was always going to be Protec’s biggest challenge. An earlier decision to build a hard set backdrop to overcome the wind factor was upended and a fabric screen was to be used instead as the backdrop projection surface. While the projection on the main backdrop screen and the stage floor seemed straightforward, the challenge to projection map the moving sphere continuously would be a first.
The use of BlackTrax realtime motion tracking system integrated with a d3 media server helped track the moving video surface (sphere) while projecting onto it, with the 3D mapping visualised and handled in realtime. With the BlackTrax technology, 3D moving objects, in this case — the sphere, could move, spin, rotate in dDoF (six Degrees of Freedom) and still be tracked. What made this different from any regular encoder-based tracking system was its ability to adjust content due to adverse weather moving the sphere. True to form, the wind did play its part in blowing the screen, but Protec, with some accurate planning, delivered some impressive projection mapping.
10 Christie Roadster 20k projectors were used for the main screen blend, and eight Barco 30k projectors for the central stage area, all of which were controlled from the FOH with all signals run over fibre. A further six Barco 30k projectors used for the 6m diameter inflatable moving sphere. With d3 4×4 pro media servers, Protec was able to render and map seamless edge-blended images onto the unique circular surface area.
With the challenges met head-on by the production team, the show was seen as a resounding success with great reactions from the audience.
Dr Grubbstrom, FAI President said, “Dubai has shown that we are together capable of staging such a wide variety of sport on one platform. I am convinced that this common goal will bring us closer to the Olympic dream.”
In terms of significance, projection mapping on a moving sphere on this scale would be a first. In the words of Gilray Densham, President & CEO CAST Group of Companies Inc, the developer of the software, “No one has ever (that I know of), delivered dynamic content onto a moving sphere of this size in a real show environment. You guys did the pioneering to make it all happen.”