The North Face Launches its NightRay Outdoor Fest with Interactive Campfire Sculpture Powered by d3

When The North Face held its first NightRay Outdoor Fest at the Gorges du Verdon in southeastern France it commissioned "Ascent," an interactive campfire sculpture from London-based art and design studio Nocte. Nocte selected a d3 2x2plus to fill the role of powerful media server for the centerpiece sculpture enjoyed by several hundred participants.
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When The North Face held its first NightRay Outdoor Fest at the Gorges du Verdon in southeastern France it commissioned "Ascent," an interactive campfire sculpture from London-based art and design studio Nocte.  Nocte selected a d3 2x2plus to fill the role of powerful media server for the centerpiece sculpture enjoyed by several hundred participants.

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The one-night, all night The North Face NightRay Outdoor Fest was designed to inspire people to live a life of exploration.  It featured workshops, talks and activities to feed the body, mind and soul.  When the sun set nature's nighttime playground was revealed with night hikes, storytelling, live bands and DJs, dancing under the stars and gathering round "Ascent."

Known for its responsive light-based creations, Nocte was commissioned by The North Face to create a sculpture for the festival that would captivate the audience.  They created "Ascent," an interactive installation that both blurred and highlighted its surroundings through light.

"Basing our design process on an interactive campfire, we created a bespoke LED sculpture as a centerpiece, complemented with DMX lights underneath audience seating. This created an enclosed and inclusive space," explains Andrea Cuius, director of Nocte.

The interactive element was driven by social media.  "In collaboration with PR company Octagon, we developed a small web server to catch all the tweets including #neverstopexploring in realtime and feeding the data to d3, so whenever a tweet was received the LED sculpture, as well as the DMX audience lights and the screen content, were immediately responding."

Cuius has worked with d3 for many years, usually through United Visual Artists as a creative coder.  He chose a d3 2x2plus for the flexibility and robustness it could bring to this project. "It's a really powerful tool which I can customize by creating modules and devices, so in this context I could use d3 as an open platform with industry strength and standards," he says.

Cuius also chose d3 because of the amount of video content that needed to be sequenced and played back for the installation: He ended up with 400Gb of high-resolution video content, which required a powerful media server.  "With d3 I could load and play back a 90GB HAP video in an instant and seamlessly scrub the timeline to preview the content.  All in all, the system was rock solid.  It handled 400Gb of content, DMX outputs and several highly demanding custom modules running for 24 hours straight."

Besides its sheer playback power, d3 also proved invaluable during the preproduction process.  "Because of the nature of the project and the different outputs connected to the system, d3 was fundamental in the preproduction stage," Cuius says.  "I needed a tool to easily previsualize and sequence all the different fixtures in one place, as all elements were meant to work together to create a unified experience for the audience.  d3 was used to simulate the entire environment, helping me to get a feeling for the overall lighting and the audience experience."

Cuius especially appreciated d3's flexibility with screen content, which helped him greatly on site. "We originally planned to install a custom-shape projection screen on the LED sculpture, but due to weather conditions we were forced to move the video content to a video wall," he explains.  "Thanks to the way d3 manages video projection, I could easily move the 400Gb of content in less than an hour without going through the long process of rendering and encoding."

Set fabrication for "Ascent" was done by Wyliewood.

About d3

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. For more information visit www.d3technologies.com

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