West Midlands UK based video and AV specialist Central Presentations Ltd (CPL) designed and supplied a widescreen projection system and media server control for an annual Awards event for Sally Beauty Holdings Inc. which was staged at Whittlebury Hall Hotel, Towcester, Northamptonshire.
CPL was working for the event's technical co-ordinators Unity. The overall theme was â€˜Sex In The City', and the brief was that the stage should resemble a new York skyline. They settled on using an impressive digital backdrop, that could have a dynamic range of constantly morphing and changing images projected across it throughout the early part of the evening.
This set the scene for the Awards presentations – together with some jaunty scenic pieces like a pair of giant stilettoes. The room was then transformed into a glamorous eye-catching club space for the after show, with the projections bringing a totally different look and feel to the same space.
CPL's Nick Diacre designed the 50ft wide by 10 ft high stage set, which was constructed from a series of skyscraper shaped 'flats'. These had white screen material stretched across their fronts to make the surface completely smooth and seamless.
Diacre produced all the advance work, drawings and visualisations using a combination of AutoCAD for the 2D and Google Sketchup for the 3D elements, which included proportional modelling of how the projection images could be mapped to the set surface. This enabled him to establish the optimum projector positions and the lenses required to completely fill the surface area smoothly and efficiently.
The centre of the set featured a 14 by 7ft 10 inch aperture, into which a 16:9 ratio screen was fitted exactly.
The video content to cover the set was mapped to fit its contours and shape using a Pandora's Box media server, which also stored the footage, which was played out via three of CPL's Panasonic DZ110 10K projectors. These were fitted with .9 - 1.1 short throw zoom lenses, which allowed sufficient lens shift to gain maximum headroom for the projectors. They were mounted on a ground support system with a 5.6 metre throw distance to the stage.
The centre screen area was also masked using the Pandora's Box, and images for this were fed into a separate DZ110, rear projecting from behind the set and stage. The screen displayed and ran all the VT play-ins, Awards stings and information and graphics packages for the presentation part of the evening, as well as live IMAG camera footage of the event action as it was happening.
All the video playback content – custom created for the show and supplied via the client - was stored on the single quad head Pandora's Box server, programmed and operated by Nick Diacre.
CPL also provided a vision mixer to Unity for the live cameras and a presentation operator in addition to five other crew plus Diacre, who had also worked for CPL on the same show last year.
Once the Awards section of the evening was complete, the DJ started and the room was transformed from a slick presentational stage to a clubby intimate vibe, complete with special funky visuals and animations created and run by Diacre using the Pandora's Box. These were projected across the mapped portion of the set and looked spectacular!
Says Diacre, “This year SBH decided to up the ante with a much more sophisticated projection set up, which was both challenging and fun. I really enjoyed working closely with Jon Preussner the project manager for Unity, who has the vision and confidence to use technology innovatively to create a flexible, practical and lively environment for the enjoyment of all guests”.