It was a busy time for Green Hippo as we dived right into the NEC Showcase after our successful stint at LDI over in Las Vegas!
Following our collaboration at the DSE and InfoComm tradeshows earlier this year, NEC invited us, Green Hippo, to showcase our playback and mapping solutions at their annual Showcase event in New York on the 26th / 27th October 2016. Every year the show aims to give visitors first-hand experience in the latest display technologies and solutions in the industry. Our Technical Director Sean Westgate, Head of Sales Tim Riley and Product Manager Ryan Brown were at hand to explain details of our systems and demonstrate its usage on a demo station.
This time rather than driving large videowalls the focus was on NECs new range of laser projectors. 6 NEC 8k Laser projectors were mapped onto a giant 8ft apple fed from Hippotizer TAIGA media server. The stunning centrepiece, a fitting homage to New York City, featured custom graphic art that showcased the city’s personality and culture.
The latest incarnation of our SHAPE software (version 2.0 has just been released to public beta) was used to both plan the project through the projector case study capabilities and also used during setup to warp and blend the different projectors to create one seamless projection. Jon9 of the HoloNyne Corporation created the visual content, produced at a stunning 4096 x 2900 pixels, as a reflection of life in New York.
Projection Case Study
The concept was finalised late summer; the giant model apple was to be suspended from the ceiling and specially commissioned content would complete warp it in projection. NEC’s new PX803UL was selected with a powerful 8k laser source and a wide range of lenses. After supplying a 3D model of the apple and the space, we set to work with SHAPE to virtually test different projection scenarios and define the hanging points, coverage and overlaps for the individual projectors.
Not only could SHAPE precisely specify the location and angle for each projector, it could also determine where the black level spill might end up and rotate the entire rig to avoid hitting other projection surfaces. We decided to go with a total of 6 projectors, 5 around the top perimeter, with a 6th sitting on the floor shooting vertically up. A single Hippotizer TAIGA sporting 6 outputs would be able to deliver the entire projection with each output at a full 1920 x 1200 pixels.
Making a Mark
Usually when projection mapping objects the model has distinct corners or edges that can be used to align the projector to match the virtual and real-world objects. This process is called alignment, and it involves picking points on the 3d model then “teaching” the system where in the real world those points can be found.
At 4-6 points the system has enough information to work out where the projector is placed and the kind of lens it will fit. Edges and corners are easier to work with, but a curved shape like an apple was quite a challenge.
After some research, we decided to create artificial parkers that would be placed on the apple and in the model. Those can then be used to go through the alignment process and once complete the markers can be removed.
Jon9 from the Holonyne corporation was the content creator for the apple. We decided to use a simple spherical mapping technique to UV map the model, similar to how a world map is put onto a globe. Imagine a sweet wrapper, which is a rectangle, wrapped around a ball. The centre is fairly straight, but at the top and bottom you need to pinch the paper and scrunch it up. This is how a 2D image of 4096 x 2900 pixels would be mapped onto the apple.
Things never quite go according to plan and during set up it was necessary to move the truss higher than originally planned. However, the projectors could be dropped on vertical bars, so in the end they hung at the right angle in the circle but lower than originally envisaged. As SHAPE decouples the physical set up from the content creation, this was not a problem. Thanks to the markers created the projectors would find their home and then with some warping and masking the final touches were applied. To keep itself mobile SHAPE enables a completely network-based workflow with a laptop acting as the controller, connecting to the Hippotizer media server in real-time to configure the mapping.
Jon9 delivered all the content and it was quickly ingested on the Hippotizer TAIGA system. A 24 minute loop was programmed to cycle throughout the event, showing logo animations interspersed with Jon9’s trademark graphic art using New York as a theme.
Par4Keet driving LED
We also provided the playback solution for one of the LED screens on display. The Par4Keet video player from the AVIary range provided easy to use and instant playback, showing its strength by resizing existing content of various resolution and aspect ratio onto a bespoke resolution in real-time.
Utilising it’s power and flexibility, videos of varying resolutions and aspect ratios were scaled and placed onto NECs stunning new LED wall. As those functions could be done in real-time, specific content did not need to be created. Videos and images were re-used and simply scaled and positioned to fit the custom 2:1 aspect ratio screen.
The show was a fantastic success with over 700 attendees registered over two days, showing great growth over the previous year. The apple created a focal centre piece, dazzling and amazing visitors with a bright, high resolution image.
Technical Director: Sean Westgate
East Coast Sales Manager: Tim Riley
Product Manager: Ryan Brown