For four days in January the streets of London were transformed as over a million people visited the capital for Lumiere London - an installation of 30 illuminated artworks from international artists put together by creative producers Artichoke to brighten up the traditionally sluggish dark nights following the festive season.

Working as part of a large team headed up by Unusual Services, QED Productions provided all the video projection equipment and services for the capital's largest ever light festival.

1.8 - Janet Echelman

To illuminate the giant interactive net suspended over Oxford Circus QED provided sixteen 20,000 lumen Christie projectors and a control system comprising of two d3 4x4pro servers, a Lightware 32x32 DVI matrix switcher, four QED 16-channel fibre distribution systems and two remote-controlled Sony BRC-H700 fibre-optic camera channels.

Four sets of projectors were positioned at each corner of the circus using medium throw zoom lenses to focus the light in the most efficient way possible onto this most unusual of projection canvases. The installation has to be completed in only a few hours so QED deployed its military grade 16-channel fibre-optic multi-cores to each location in order to provide signal and network control for the entire system which Teesside-based company Art AV operated throughout.

"The system had to be extremely flexible and totally robust with in-built redundancy, so we needed to provide Art AV with the best tools to deliver Janet Echelman's sensational piece and to realise Artichoke's creative vision for London." said QED Director, Paul Wigfield. "For media server delivery we chose the d3 4x4pro, not only because it provided the requisite number of outputs, the best performance and the greatest flexibility on-site, but also because it enabled pre-visualisation of the project, helping us to work out how to best deliver the highest amount of brightness and pixels."

Elephantastic! - Top'Là Design

Within one of the arches on Air Street an amazingly life-like elephant emerged from a cloud of dust. Visible from both the front and the rear, the elephant was entirely projected from within the arch using two sets of triple-blended projectors with wide angle lenses and was played back using a QED 4K Infinity media server running Watchout v6 software.

Once the surfaces and the projectors had been installed it was pretty much impossible to access the arch as everything had essentially become sealed within the space: The reliability of the projectors was paramount, so six Christie WU20K-J 20,000 lumen WUXGA projectors were chosen to fulfil this role. Their high-power, small footprint and reliability in extreme weather conditions made them the ideal choice.

Circus of Light - Ocubo

This work by Ocubo was the largest single projection piece of the festival, featuring a giant big top projected onto the 56m wide Central St Martin's Building in Granary Square, King's Cross, where acrobats, jugglers, dancers and performers were combined to create a magical animated world of music and mayhem.

The dark colour of the brickwork, the high level of ambient light and the extensive building glazing were the main challenges to overcome, so vinyl coverings were applied to the inside of the glass. There were several different ways in which to cover the building with sufficient light but the most efficient way was to use six Christie 4K30 30,000 lumen 4K resolution projectors configured in a tripled 2x1 array to create a stunning 7091 x 2160 pixel canvas.

195 Piccadilly - NOVAK

For this projection onto the façade of BAFTA 195 Piccadilly NOVAK created a dynamic, technicolour artwork featuring leading stars and directors from British screen and TV.

On the face of it this looked to be a very straightforward projection piece but in reality it required great skill and planning in order to avoid the two tall lamp-posts that would otherwise have blocked the projection beams. Therefore six Christie WU20K-J 20,000 lumen projectors were mounted in portrait orientation from within the building opposite in a doubled up three by one array.
QED used a d3 2.5 server system to play back the content and to pre-visualise the projector positions to check that the lamp-posts would in reality be avoided.

Joining the Dots - Cleary Connolly

Based upon Gunnar Johansson's work on the perception of human bodies in motion, and created with the help of local people in Kings Cross, Paris-based Irish artists Anne Cleary and Dennis Connolly's "Joining the Dots" showed moving figures from projected dots of light.

This deceptively beautiful and intriguing piece was projected onto the side of the German Gymnasium from the balcony of the building opposite using two Christie Boxer 4K30 30,000 lumen projectors running at native 4K resolution, played back at full frame rate from one of QED's V6 MacPro systems. Restricted access to the projectors meant that QED needed to set up wireless control over both the projectors and the servers so that they could be remotely operated from the ground. The projectors had to be positioned extremely off-axis in order to avoid a large tree, with the fine geometric correction enabled by Christie's new Twist 2 software.

Light Graffiti - Floating Pictures

Light Graffiti is an interactive installation that invites audiences to use a torch or any other source of light to paint the street. It uses a USB camera, projector and computer to transform light sources into a paintbrush, allowing users to repaint the space as they wish. Using this unconventional 'spray can', everyone is welcome to experiment with different colours, strokes and patterns on the street or onto oneself.

To successfully install the piece on King's Boulevard QED deployed two Panasonic DZ-21K 20,000 lumen projectors fitted with ultra wide angle 0.3:1 lenses to create the interactive canvas. The projectors were rigged vertically inside a 6m high structure with the lenses pointing downwards and carefully aligned to cover the entire width of the road.

Spinning Night in Living Colour - Elaine Buckholtz

Elaine Buckholtz's contemplative Spinning Night in Living Colour represented a subtle projection onto a large specially constructed poster board erected in Grosvenor Square. This sampled Van Gogh's painting, All Night Café, in the form of a large 12m x 4m spinning projection, and was created utilising a combination of a printed canvas mixed with two blended Panasonic DZ21K 20,000 lumen projectors.

Summary

QED Director Paul Wigfield commented "The whole week was incredible - despite the sub zero temperatures Londoners flocked to Kings Cross and the West End to enjoy this unique experience. To temporarily pedestrianise the busiest areas of London for a week is a remarkable achievement by Artichoke, so we had to do Londoners proud by providing the very best in projection technology and technical expertise".

QED Technical Credits

Paul Wigfield
Dan Gray
Adam Bending
Dave Voyce
Harry Ricardo
Dan Hall
Richard Porter
Mike Snarr
Paul Chinnery
Martin Dewar
Ben Heliczer
Craig Dunbar
Jo Gardner

Links

www.artichoke.uk.com
www.unusual.co.uk
www.whiteproductions.co.uk

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