Autodesk's motto of “Experience It Before It's Real” was the inspiration behind the 2007 annual user's conference, Autodesk University, which brought together 9,500 attendees to Las Vegas. For the general session, Autodesk wanted to showcase one of its much anticipated products, Metropolis, which renders an entire city in a 3D environment. The goal of the general session was to not only reveal but demonstrate the software in a way that would allow the audience to feel and experience the product in a live, virtual environment.

TenCue Productions wanted to immerse the audience in the product by encapsulating them with a 360° image and video presentation that would showcase the 3D nature of the software. The audience was seated in the middle, surrounded by approximately 800' of high-definition video that encircled the perimeter of the room. TenCue turned to LMG Inc. to develop a technical solution to execute the visually immersive display. LMG used 10 18'×84' screens for the perimeter display, each of which conveyed two images in high definition. In addition, there were four 16'×27 screens in the center, also projecting high definition graphics and I-Mag, that were “in the round” over a circular speakers' area.

The perimeter screens, which acted as the primary demonstration of the software, were sourced by 20 Autodesk computers. One of the concerns during the design phase was accomplishing the signal distribution and switching with so many sources. In addition, the solution had to involve a minimal amount of risk. With a 360° demonstration as the cornerstone of the general session, there was no option for failure.

To address this, LMG designed a routing system that involved using ImagePro HDs in conjunction with a high definition router. Each computer fed into an ImagePro HD, which then fed to the HD router, making it possible to distribute content directly to the screens and allowing content from any source to be distributed to any screen. Therefore, if one of the sources failed, another type of source could be brought up as a backup.

To create the stunning HD perimeter display, LMG used 40 double-stacked Panasonic DW10000 projectors, which outputted a 1920×1080 resolution. For the center screens, eight Digital Projection Lightning 35HD projectors were used, fed by LMG's custom-built high definition system, which uses the Snell & Wilcox Kahuna switcher. The center screens simultaneously displayed content from the speakers' presentations, as well as a section of vertical I-Mag on each screen.

The presentation of the Metropolis software was left until the end of the general session, and the audience was treated to a jaw-dropping, unexpected experience. The live demonstration started in black, and one screen opened with a view of the earth from space, and then expanded outward, until all the screens lit up with a ride through a 360° digital cityscape, taking the audience on a visual and auditory journey. Comments from the attendees on the presentation ranged from “stunning” and “blew me away,” to “I was left speechless.”

CATEGORY CORPORATE EVENTS

DESIGN/TECHNICAL TEAM

Greg Heflin: Senior Account Executive, LMG Inc.

Jeffrey Wilk: Executive Producer, TenCue Productions

Jeff Dixon: Technical Director

Kevin McCabe: Director of Technical Services, LMG Inc.

Brian Mathews: Vice President, Autodesk Labs

SELECTED GEAR

Digital Projection Lighting 35HD Projectors

4 16'×27' Screenworks Screens

40 Panasonic PT-DW10000 Projectors

10 18'×84' Screens

HD/SD Package with Snell & Wilcox Kahuna Switcher

3 Thomson LDK-6000s

4 Sony J-3 HD

4 Sony DSR-1800 DVCAM

2 8" Sony PVM-8041Q Monitor

1 Sony VHS

2 13" Sony Monitor

6 42" Sony Monitor

4 Speaker Timer Packages

4 MasterCue V5

32 Folsom ImagePRO HD

25 DVI Fiber Link Cable

10 DVI DAs

4 17" TV Logic Monitor

4 60" Plasma Screen

2 Sony Betacam Player

1 32×32 DVI Router