Famed London department store Harrods and heritage Russian art jeweler Faberge celebrated Easter with a 21st century twist on Faberge’s iconic Easter eggs: a giant interactive projection-mapped egg on display in the store’s holiday windows. Projection Artworks used d3 Technologies’ 4x4pro media server to map the egg with stunning video imagery.
Faberge has been synonymous with lavish Easter eggs since it made the first gemstone-encrusted eggs for the Russian imperial family in 1885. At Harrods Faberge offered shoppers an “egg bar” showcasing its jeweled egg pendants and charms and staged an egg hunt throughout the store.
International window designer Stuart Henry and his team at creative agency JUSTSO visualized an interactive projection on a 1.5-meter three-dimensional egg-shaped model for one of the Easter windows. Henry commissioned Projection Artworks to produce the egg’s digital content and projection element.
The company was challenged to create a dazzling interactive projection visible during daylight hours to shoppers and pedestrians passing by. Projection Artworks used 16 Optoma projectors to cover the egg with an unprecedented 14,500 lumens/square meter – about 200 times brighter than a typical outdoor building projection. Shoppers could choose an egg pattern on an Apple iPad inside the store and watch as it was projected onto the rotating egg in the window.
Projection Artworks has used d3 media servers on a number of projects; the company purchased its own d3 system last year to further its regular use and “help push the boundaries of projection mapping,” says Chris Philpott, Head of Production at Projection Artworks.
For Harrods’ Faberge egg, the d3 4x4pro was “the only option that allowed us to run 16 heads from one machine, output the required texture, do the automatic projector lineup and blending, and provide realtime composition to create the show,” he explains.
The d3 system was also used extensively to plan the installation and projector locations and to sell the creative concepts to the client. “By enabling Footprints, d3’s new feature for truly simulating blends, shadowing and coverage, we could calculate required lenses and projector positions,” says David Bajt, who worked with Projection Artworks on this project.
“Without d3, it would not have been possible to set up the full installation before going on site,” says Philpott. “The pre-production and visualization system allowed us to build the show remotely with the confidence of knowing how the final content would look.”
Bajt says, “It’s very interesting that only one d3 4x4pro was needed to output to 16 projectors. In advance of d3’s forthcoming VFC card technology, this was done using four Datapath x4s with 2560×1600 inputs running at 60hz. Each projector therefore received a 1280×800 resolution, which essentially made each pixel on the physical egg 1-2mm big. The sharpness and brightness was stunning! The egg was bright and sharp from morning to night.”
Bajt also cites the media server’s ability to integrate with other technologies. “For this installation, d3 received OSC input from an iPad — the user selected what graphics to play from an iPad interface. It sent UDP commands to a Dataton WATCHOUT server that mapped up the adjacent shards hanging in the windows next to the egg, it sent DMX commands to a Pharos control that triggered lighting cues, and it also played back uncompressed audio.”
Projection Artworks found the d3 4x4pro’s QuickCal and Dynamic Blending features to be especially helpful. “We had the egg 3D-scanned with 260 individual marker points. The model had no edges or vertices, so without d3 it would have been impossible to line up all the projectors manually in the three-day install period,” Philpott reports. “QuickCal, along with the sub mm 3D-scan accuracy, allowed us to map the egg in one night.”
Philpott adds that, “one click of a button set all the blending on 16 projectors as well – another very difficult task to do manually.”
From the outset d3 Technologies provided support on the capabilities of the system and offered early access to a number of features in development, such as projector control and Dynamic Blending, says Philpott. “The system was easy to use and performed flawlessly for the four weeks of the installation,” she notes. “Both Projection Artworks and d3 learned a lot from the project. We are already looking at 32+ projector installations for future projects to continue pushing the boundaries.”
At Projection Artworks Tom Burch, the company’s managing director, was the project lead; Scott Millar the lead developer; and Gavin McArthur the lead creative.
d3 is the world’s first fully integrated visual production system for video professionals, combining a real-time 3D stage visualizer, timeline, video playback engine and projection mapping tools into one product. d3’s unique integrated workflow assists the designer at all stages of the project, from pitch through development to final delivery.