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Designers Give Rockettes Show Extra Kick with Projection on Radio City Music Hall Arch

PLSN Staff • News • November 15, 2011

NEW YORK – Visual Acuity, batwin+robin, Digital Projection and 7thSense Design kicked up the visuals at this year’s Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes. The concept was to provide a more immersive experience for audiences through the use of large-scale video projection mapped to architectural features of Radio City Music Hall — including the venue’s iconic proscenium arch. The project was one year in the making.

More details from Visual Acuity (

Visual Acuity Breaks New Ground with Architectural Scale Projection for 2011 Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Brighton, UK – Visual Acuity, an independent media and design consultancy, and batwin+robin, New York-based multimedia design company, today unveiled their contribution to the 2011 Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes.

For Visual Acuity, the project has been more than a year in the making.  The company provided consulting, design and testing of the new architectural scale projection for the holiday production. These projections were unveiled in new scenes featured in the Madison Square Garden Entertainment production of the Christmas Spectacular opening on Nov. 11 at Radio City Music Hall.

The Christmas Spectacular will use architectural scale projection mapped onto Radio City Music Hall’s proscenium arch and art deco interior giving the audience the feeling that they are being immersed in an array of sound, lighting, theatrical and pyrotechnic effects as each scene transforms to the next.

Visual Acuity advised on the development of a number of technological innovations, which included large-scale projection from Digital Projection and media serving, edge blending and warping from 7thSense Design.  

“As the leading company in live entertainment, we are focused on delivering our Christmas Spectacular to audiences with content that has never been presented before in a theatrical setting and using advanced technology features available in today’s market, while still honoring those traditions steeped in our show,” said Larry Sedwick, senior vice president production, MSG Entertainment.  

“Right from the start of our relationship with Visual Acuity, it was clear that not only did they have the skill-set we needed to go where we envisioned the show moving forward through their background of AV technology, but that they also had the artistic sensitivity to ensure that the technology was used in the proper way to share the storyline with our audiences.”

This year’s Radio City Christmas Spectacular will grace the stage featuring this new state-of-the-art technology as well as new scenes, new costumes, and new musical compositions.  The Christmas Spectacular is part of the fabric of New York during the holiday season and is seen by more than 1 million people each year.

Working closely with Radio City and batwin+robin, Magnus Kemp, Lead Consultant at Visual Acuity, said, “By definition, the Christmas Spectacular has to be a spectacle and a feast for all the senses. The teams at Radio City and batwin+robin were not afraid to try out new things, which perfectly dovetail with our company philosophy. This year’s Christmas Spectacular use the grandness of the Radio City Music Hall like never before.  It is a privilege for us to be involved with such an engaging and innovative project.”

In explaining the significance of the project from a technology point of view, Blair Parkin, Managing Director at Visual Acuity, added, “This project takes architectural scale projection, the newest application of high power projection and warp and blend media servers, and applies it to the live stage and theater environment, directly adding to the excitement of this 79-year holiday production.”


More details from 7thSense Design (

7thSense Design Blends Imagery for 2011 Radio City Music Hall Christmas Special

Delta Media Servers transform art deco interior

SMALL DOLE, West Sussex, UK — Large-scale multimedia server specialist 7thSense Design announces their project involvement with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, starring the world-famous Radio City Rockettes for the 2011 edition of this beloved production.

For this project, 7thSense design worked with Madison Square Garden Entertainment, producers of the Christmas Spectacular, batwin+robin productions, a New York-based multimedia design company, and Visual Acuity, an independent media and technology consultancy.

Two racks of Delta Media Servers were able to produce a ‘pixel map’ of the show’s entire laser-scanned 3D display surface for the production’s new digital mapping technology. This enabled batwin+robin’s content creators to place media exactly where they needed it inside the theatre, without having to work in a 3D modeling environment.

Ian Macpherson, Managing Director, 7thSense Design, explains: “This year’s Christmas Spectacular will showcase the extensive use of true 3D mesh-based projection mapping on an architectural scale, with multiple, high-power projectors from Digital Projection blending images onto the art deco ceiling and proscenium arch of Radio City Music Hall. Through this display, the surface will be further extended by the 2D and 3D LED walls.

7th Sense Design supplied seven Delta Media Servers in all.  The first serves content to the three projectors projecting onto the main proscenium arch and the second feeds the eight projectors used for the arches either side of the stage.  Two additional servers handle the content for LED walls serving as backdrops on the stage and two serve as backup projectors.

“As well as serving 4k uncompressed video content to the proscenium arches through the internal 3D representation of the theatre’s walls and ceiling, the servers are all synchronized with the main audio system in the theatre, which sends Locate and Play commands to the Delta Media Server. Real-time commands are also received from the house lighting desk using ArtNet data – which alters the color and transparency of the proscenium arch. The projector shutters are also controlled for when the show requires a dark stage,” explained Macpherson.

In speaking about the technology required for this challenging and exciting installation, Magnus Kemp, Lead Consultant at Visual Acuity explains: “Visual Acuity began the consulting, testing and design of projection technology tocover the art deco interior of Radio City Music Hall for this year’s Christmas Spectacular more than a year ago. We supported the efforts of 7thSense Design to coordinate the content from batwin+robin productions and to perfectly work with the design and layout of Digital Projection projectors.”

Linda Batwin O’Donovan, Partner, batwin+robin, adds: “In terms of multimedia design, we had to find creative ways to project imageryonto the art-deco arches of Radio City’s theater. Through 7thSense’s assistance we were able to implement new geometry controls which, in addition to the Mesh Mode, allowed us to feed our 3D models of the arches directly into the Delta Media Server and project the Christmas imagery.”

The process of fine-tuning the Christmas Spectacular continued into rehearsals, with 7thSense Design’s Delta Media Server working with batwin+robin and Visual Acuity to enhance the media such as placing and sizing ‘Dancing Santa’ shadows, and moving media frame-by-frame in time to match the world-famous eye high kicks of the Rockettes.

Ian Macpherson concludes: “This year’s Christmas Spectacular will be the most dynamic production to grace the Great Stage of Radio City, It has been a privilege for 7thSense Design to be associated with the technology companies involved in planning, design and production for a show that has such rich history and tradition. The Christmas Spectacular and the Rockettes have been a New York City holiday staple for 79 years!”

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