Video Applications Supports Dubai Mega-Launches

by PLSN Staff • in
  • International News
• Created: April 22, 2009

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DUBAI, UAE — Video Applications, Inc. (VAI) recently supported two projects in Dubai, the first marking the launch of a skyscraper and harbor complex and the second the debut of a new built-from-scratch community. “We’ve all worked on launches for new cars, servers and pharmaceuticals before,” said Michael T. May, senior account executive at VAI, “but these were the first projects we’ve supported that launched the opening of an entirely new community and a one-kilometer tall skyscraper.”

The project began as a basic request for a Vista Systems’ Spyder operator from FiveCurrents executive producer Christopher Laue. That simple request grew to a considerably more complex project where VAI would need to support a technically-advanced video system halfway around the world.  

With only three weeks to pull together the required resources for the launch of Nakheel real estate development’s skyscraper and harbor complex, Laue relied on VAI to execute the design.

“As soon as we heard the concept, it was clear to me that I needed to phone the guys I always call in for a high-end challenge,” Laue said.  “They were able to make everything look gorgeous.”

The design, from The Brand Experience and Obscura Digital called for stage and projection solutions in the ballroom of the Atlantis Resort on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah, a man-made island.  

A series of four custom borderless screens hung from traveler tracks spanned 100 feet across the back of a 40-foot-by-60-foot presentation stage.  

At the high point of the presentation, the screens would split to reveal a three-dimensional cityscape model of the Dubai waterfront that rolled to center stage on tracks built into the stage deck.  

VAI was tasked with projecting images onto both the back wall and stage floor, giving the audience sitting in the back seats a 3D view of the cityscape and panoramic background.

To achieve the immersive effect, VAI used a combination of 22 Christie S+20K and Christie HD18K projectors suspended at very specific angles from the overhead truss grid.  

The projectors were hung at pre-determined downward angles and off-axis positions in order to keep the units out of the audience’s line of sight and converge all of them onto the floor and the two-story tall models once they were in position.

In addition to the stage area, a curved tunnel was constructed as the entranceway to the ballroom.  The structure was covered with projection fabric, and images from servers supplied by Obscura Digital, Inc. were projected onto the tunnel by four Christie S+20K projectors.

During the short pre-production process, VAI identified what technology was available in Dubai and what had to be shipped to the event.  VAI researched local equipment availability and formed partnerships with some of the vendors in Dubai, asking them to provide many of the basics like power distribution, some projection and labor.  

VAI sent some of the gear, including the Encore switching system, routing, DVI signal cable and most of the projectors, from its shop in California. “Working in this manner gave us local resources to pull from when needed, and allowed us to provide the client with the safest and most cost effective solution available,” said John Ackerman, SWI & VAI project manager.

The launch, by Dubai’s largest real estate developer, was attended by a number of VIPs, including Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, and celebrities like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas.

One day after loading out of the Atlantis ballroom, VAI got a call from Obscura Digital to do a similar event for some dignitaries who had attended the Nakheel launch and were impressed.  

“When the call came in our equipment was being loaded onto a flight returning to the U.S.,” said May.  “With only minutes to go before it would be too late to retain the gear in Dubai, the decision was made to go forward with a design that would set the stage for a second stunning and immersive presentation announcing the opening of the Al Furjan Centre, a new community in Dubai.”

The second event took place in three venues at the Al Furjan Sales Centre.  

At the first venue, a large outdoor area, VAI placed 14 Christie S+20K projectors on rooftops and focused them onto building fronts across the street providing the entrance to the event.  

The second venue, an indoor reception, called for four more Christie projectors directed towards the ceiling and creating one large image over the heads of the crowd.  

The third location was the formal presentation area under a large Arabian-style tent in front of the Sales Centre.  There, VAI mixed cameras, tape playback, computer graphics and media servers to create the presentation announcing the opening of the Sales Centre.

Obscura Digital provided the visual content and image-mapping technology that allowed the projected images to match the building surfaces.  The Brand Experience produced the event, which was also attended by many dignitaries including Sultan Bin Sulayem and the Executive Chairman of Nakheel.

At VAI, John Ackerman served as project manager for the two events while Kirk Garreans and Shan Zinke switched screens, Neal Gass and Geof Gibson acted as EIC, and Terry Nakamura and John Ridley were lead projectionists.

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