Everyone was primed to expect a dramatic announcement from Bell Helicopter at HELI-EXPO 2012 at the Dallas Convention Center. So the large-screen video mapping, which helped unveil the company's revolutionary new Bell 525 Relentless Super Medium Helicopter, had a lot to live up to.
WorldStage, the new brand for Scharff Weisberg and Video Applications, Inc., was brought on by Global Experience Specialists, the producer of Bell Helicopter's exhibit and product reveal, to help deliver the impact Bell Helicopter required for the debut. "The launch was on the first day of the show, which was open to the public," says John Ackerman, Vice President of Systems Integration at WorldStage. "The booth - the biggest at HELI-EXPO - was packed."
The Bell 525 Relentless was hidden from view on an 80-foot diameter stage masked by a faceted wall that served as the main video-mapping screen. The wall, which tracked the circumference of the stage, was hidden by a curtain.
"The president of Bell Helicopter made opening remarks. Then we rolled video on screens at either side of the booth. At this point, the whole event was locked in time because there was a custom score that played from the top of the video into the reveal," Ackerman continues.
"We rolled out of the side-screen video, dropped the curtain to reveal the 140-foot main screen/wall video." WorldStage supplied 12 Christie HD18 video projectors fed by 12 channels of Pandora to map the industrial-themed video onto the wall.
As the video runs, the wall parted on center and rotated around on its track to reveal the dynamically lit Bell 525 Relentless in a shroud of smoke and fog. "The tracking was so good, it was almost as if we had LED walls," Ackerman reports.
"Since the wall rotated in three-dimensional space the geometry corrections for each projector were different and dynamic. To make it all work we had to know exactly where the wall was in both space and time. We accomplished that via a hardware link from the Pandora system to rotary encoders installed on the winch shafts."
He recalls seeing Bell employees choke up at the dramatic reveal. "It seemed to have an amazing effect on them. Flying Magazine called it "The Most Spectacular Aviation Product Launch Ever."