April 2018, Carrara, QLD – Australia
For the opening and closing ceremonies of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, The Electric Canvas, an award-winning Australian company specialized in large-scale projections, managed the AV projection relying on Modulo Pi’s high-end media server: Modulo Kinetic.
The 21st Commonwealth Games took place in April 2018 at the Carrara stadium in Queensland, Australia. Produced by Jack Morton Worldwide, the opening and closing ceremonies were spectacular shows with 4.000 volunteer performers. Combining theatre, dance, and music, the shows were created to reflect the Gold Coast culture, embodying its spirit and its energy.
After winning the tender, The Electric Canvas prepared the event over 6 months. To achieve such a large-scale video projection in the stadium, they chose 20 x Christie Boxer projectors, as well as Modulo Kinetic, a powerful media server with advanced features from Modulo Pi.
Peter Milne, Director of The Electric Canvas, explains: “I’ve been involved with Yannick Kohn – founder of Modulo Pi – and his technology for nearly 20 years now. When he launched Modulo Pi in 2010, we were very keen on adopting his latest system, Modulo Player”. Recognized internationally as a leader in large-scale and architectural projections, The Electric Canvas has relied on Modulo Player for several years now: “We use Modulo Player on many projects because we really like the X-map among other features.”
When entering the bid for the Gold Coast 2018, Milne chose Modulo Kinetic, Modulo Pi’s new media server solution: “We were very excited when Modulo Kinetic was launched, and now we have quite a lot of Modulo Kinetic servers. In fact, when we proposed Modulo Kinetic to the Commonwealth Games, we only had a few months experience with it. That was possible because we trust Modulo Pi when it comes to this type of software development. We were sure that their technology would be reliable and solid because of our previous experiences with Modulo Player.”
Working closely with the content producer, The Electric Canvas designed the projection overlay which determined how to cover the field of play, and how to project the other elements efficiently, while providing maximum creativity.
The main video projection was a visualization of Earth and its history, projected on the stadium playfield. This came with several challenges: “We had to put the 20 video-projectors at a height of 67 meters above the ground in the sports lighting towers. We did this because the stage was covered with sand, so there would have been a lot of unwanted texture, had we projected from a normal setting position. Especially as the sand was being constantly disturbed by the performers. Putting projectors so high was a difficult thing to do, particularly for technicians, who had to climb more than 200 steps every day to get to the top of the towers. But it was all worth it in the end, as the resulting image quality was very good” comments Peter Milne.
To handle all necessary changes, the flexibility in the video-projection programming brought by Modulo Kinetic was a must for both ceremonies of this major event: “Ceremony production is a very unique process. There are changes in the choreography or content every day, so you have to have a very flexible system to be able to cope with those changes and incorporate them, sometimes even within the same rehearsal.”
In a time-critical context, The Electric Canvas’ operators made the best of Modulo Kinetic’s capability to preview the show in 3D: “During the day, when we don’t have the benefit of darkness, we can run the show from the recording of the previous evening, using video of the rehearsal, to then further fine-tune the programming of the projection.”
The show also included 3D mapping on Migaloo, a 30 meters long inflatable white whale, handled by 12 puppeteers. The whale floated into the arena, with content projected onto it after it reached its final position. The projection on the whale then transferred to the field of play at the end of the sequence.
The show video was synchronized to timecode, which was delivered with the music, but sometimes had to run independently from the timecode, as Milne explains: “In the case of having to hold entries and exits by the cast, or other unplanned factors, you need programming strategies, creating loops in the content so you don’t have any unexpected result in the picture when the timecode stops, or when something unexpected happens in the show. There are a lot of media servers who don’t cope with this very well. Having a strategy whereby you can, at some point in the music, ignore the timecode, allowing the music to stop and to loop, waiting for something else to happen when there’s a mechanical breakdown on the field, or when somebody falls over, is crucial. These contingent loops are a major and important part of these live shows, so having a system like Modulo Kinetic that deals with those contingencies, in a very fluid and flexible way, is essential.”
Operators could also rely on the backup capabilities of Modulo Kinetic: “On a show this size, you have many departments involved, with everybody running from the timecode. One other important feature of Modulo Kinetic is the automatic reversion to back-up systems, should we have a computer problem or failure. That is also something Modulo Kinetic is good at.”
In the end, the projection was impressive and looked very good in both ceremonies, with The Electric Canvas receiving lots of positive comments. About the utilization of Modulo Kinetic on this international multi-sport gathering, Milnes concludes: “It was reliable, flexible, and easy-to-use in a situation that can sometimes change dramatically every day. The Modulo Pi media servers are very specifically built for technicians and for the creatives that do the type of work that we do. Because the Modulo Pi team listens to technicians and creatives that work on projects, they modify and improve their software specifically on that feedback. For us, that’s an enormous advantage compared to other much larger companies.”
The Electric Canvas
2018, Grand Parc Du Puy Du Fou – France
Puy du Fou’s new, original creation takes visitors on board La Pérouse’s voyage around the world,
which set sail from Brest in 1785. Aboard the famous seafarer’s ship, “La Boussole”, novice
explorers find themselves on the high seas, living and experiencing the expedition as it unfolds.
With this show, the Puy du Fou producers employ innovative special effects and succeed
in making visitors feel like they really are at sea. Throughout the experience,
enormous machines mimic the motion of a ship, while visitors witness a succession
of extraordinary scenes through the portholes. A combination of 3D video projection
mapping and highly realistic settings gives every stage of the voyage a different and
spectacular atmosphere: the port of Brest, Cape Horn, Easter Island, and the shipwreck…
Puy du Fou has even recreated climatic conditions: the clammy heat of the
Pacific, the icy winds of Alaska, and the dampness of the ship’s dark hold…
The visitor experiences all these sensations along the, at times, both exotic and hostile
journey of “La Boussole” and her sailors, all the way to their tragic end.
2018, Ruinart House, Reims – France
In the heart of the Champagne region, in Reims, is the Ruinart house. A prestigious place where the art of receiving is intimately linked to the art of champagne. In this context, My little Paris asked Holymage to realize a unique video mapping creation, a visual display of their dinner discovered. The main character “Petit R” takes us for 4 minutes through the history of the brand. On the border of the animation film and the video mapping, this visual gem is to be discovered on site, all year long during seminars or exceptional dinners.
Opened on April 13, Atelier des Lumières, created by Culturespaces, is the very first Digital Art Centre in Paris. The 2,000 sqm venue, a 19th century disused foundry, received a complete make-over to allow the hosting of immersive digital art shows on a monumental scale. Its first exhibition is a fantastic immersive digital experience around Gustav Klimt’s work. It’s a stunning show bringing together monumental projection and music for a new artistic experience. Visitors are completely immersed into the work of the Austrian painter thanks to a massive AV set-up: more than 130 Barco PGWU-62 video-projectors were installed together with 35 Modulo Kinetic media servers by Modulo Pi.
A fine-tuned show with spectacular results : animated images of Klimt’s work are projected on the floor, on the walls (who can reach up to 12m) as well as on the ceiling and other typical elements of the venue, such as the foundry’s former chimney. Images flow in rhythm to the music, and appear perfectly moulded to the Atelier’s architecture.
Faced with the technical challenge of equipping such a venue to achieve a 300 million pixels projection, Culturespaces and Cadmos, the integrator for the project, opted for Modulo Pi’s systems from the project study phase.
Relying on his experience with the Carrières de Lumières based in Les Baux-de-Provence, South of France, Augustin de Cointet de Fillain, Multimedia Project Director at Culturespeaces, explains: “We initiated this type of exhibition in 2012 in Les Baux-de-Provence. This was achieved with a lighter AV system since the remarkable venue was already doing the show. However, we quickly realized that we would need a system with much higher potential and stability.”
Roman Hatala, Cadmos’ Director, further adds: “When Culturespaces told us about Atelier des Lumières, opting for Modulo Pi’s systems was evident as they are the most effective and adaptive systems on the market. We wouldn’t have done this project without it.”
After choosing video-projectors with higher resolution for better image quality, the teams of Culturespaces decided to rely upon Modulo Pi’s solutions to better answer their requirements for Atelier des Lumières, but also for their upcoming installations in France and abroad: “We are dealing with installations based on 90 to 130 video-projectors, which is huge. Therefore, we needed a reliable, comprehensive and powerful system that would allow us to work from site to site.”
For its first exhibition, Atelier des Lumières offers a three-part work around paintings of Gustav Klimt, the vision of the artistic director, and the former foundry now hosting the Atelier. “The exhibition is tailor made to the venue”, explains Augustin de Cointet de Fillain.
It’s as much creation as it is staging, with a certain complexity due to the perspectives and different depth levels in the venue. In this context, you need a really flexible operating system.”
The 35 units of Modulo Kinetic showed their efficiency at every stage of the project. Augustin de Cointet de Fillain provides more details about the crucial role played by Modulo Pi’s media servers prior to setting up : “We load a 3D plan of the venue, fill in the type of video-projector we’ll be using and what we want for each wall in terms of image pixel size and luminosity. Then, the Modulo Kinetic tells us where the VPs should be positioned, what the image distortion will be, the luminosity rendering on each area… Once this simulation phase is done on Modulo Kinetic, we move on to the venue.”
When at the venue, the installation and fine-tuning stages – central to the immersive effect – are done so as to give the impression of projecting one single image over the whole surface. Among other things, Modulo Kinetic helped handle the overlaps and soft edges, and made warping easy with the Xmap mode. The result was a seamless projection over the entire show surface.
Installation and fine-tuning had to be done within a limited time frame as Roman Hatala explains: “The audiovisual work comes at the very end. That was a real challenge to have everything set up and adjusted while the renovation work of the venue was still going on.” In this context, the features offered by Modulo Kinetic, allowing several users to work on settings at the same time, was key: “Modulo Kinetic allows shared and mutualized work on geometry. It helped us save a great deal of time by having someone working on a wall on one side, a second person on another side, and a third person working on the floor. To achieve all the fine-tuning in a shortened time, that was a real advantage.”
Once the set-up was over, Modulo Kinetic was then used as a show controller to handle and sequence all media that are part of the show: videos, music, images,… “That is the true force of Modulo Kinetic. It’s a comprehensive system in which anything can be centralized and controlled: videos, lights, sound, and interactive lasers”, comments Augustin de Cointet de Fillain. “Without Modulo Kinetic, we would have had no choice but to manage a string of not very reliable different systems, multiplying the overall system’s fragilities. We needed a super stable system with full and permanent control. We cannot afford to have a huge black wall.”
To make everyday management and maintenance easier, Modulo Kinetic comes with an app that handles the shows through pre-programmed loops, while also giving regular feedbacks ensuring the overall AV system is operating accurately at all times.
The show control and remote maintenance system was programmed by Cadmos’ teams, who have been working with Modulo Pi’s media servers for several years: “Modulo Pi was the best choice for this project. Their systems bring reliability, scalability and an image quality that cannot be reach with any other system”, explains Roman Hatala. “In our museum and contemporary art projects, Modulo Pi’s media servers allow us to work with Apple ProRes or uncompressed contents for better image quality. We also enjoy the capability of integrating custom show control and management options so that our clients can benefit from fully controllable and autonomous systems.”
To pursue its mission of bringing to the public a new way to discover Art, Culturespaces is currently working on the launch of new immersive art exhibitions in the United States and Korea.
These new large-scale projects will also rely upon Modulo Kinetic for the simulation, set-up, show control and maintenance operations. “We were looking for a reliable partner for our upcoming projects, and it will be Modulo Pi”, states Augustin de Cointet de Fillain. “We confirmed that choice due to our requirements in terms of reliability, but also because these systems allow us to anticipate and transpose the creation of our upcoming exhibitions.”
An anticipation made possible thanks to a vignette system that enables to export and work with low definition versions of the media involved in each show. “It helps us anticipate future creations which is very important. This way, we don’t have to close our venues for too long. That gives us a very enjoyable anticipation base.”