Ken Gay, video technologist for LMG, explains the technical process behind part of the video and projection process at the Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show on February 5, 2012:

Bruce Rodgers, production designer, started with some interesting conversations about large-scale projection mapping concepts and BIG stage LED early for this project. After a series of the usual theory calculations and small scale proof of concept exercises it appeared that projection would be making its halftime show debut.

When it came to the rolling stage, the lessons learned from the 2010 The Who performance were dusted off and put into motion. Less connections being the priority. Bruce's magnificent arched stage was compromised of 14 total carts including the lifts center stage. Under the direction of Erik Eastland of All Access, 796 tiles of BasicTech FLED LL-io11 were installed.

The F11 was chosen for its stable processing, lightweight construction, and deep color rich on camera performance. The 14 stage carts were zoned into three processing areas, SL, CTR, and SR. Doug Eldredge served as the LED technology manager for LMG. Doug worked closely with Tim Fallon at All Access to achieve the integration of the tiles and cable path needs. The F11 was arranged with gaps into the stage for the final design. Doug presented the team with the resolution graph to better explain the options available.

As the projection mapping area started to solidify with the overall rigging plan the “known” area of projection emerged. The final area would be 80' x 149' and was covered by 32 Barco FLM HD-20 projectors hung overhead into eight zones. Each zone had four projectors converged and edge blended. Jason Rudolph programmed the video and provided the media servers, six Green Hippo Hippotizers, using an MA Lighting grandMA2 light console for control.

Many hours were invested to ensure the final show product would meet the needs of the demanding design. Working with Sakchin “Saky” Bessette at Moment Factory was key to determining the expectations of the projection. It was of utmost importance to deliver the perfect canvas for Saky to work his visual magic.

Collectively we knew a quad stack in each zone would in “theory” deliver the needed foot lamberts. In order to confirm our calculations they were put to the test.

Lighting, projection, and television department representatives converged in Orlando to test several ground cloth sample fabrics and to meter projection against the needed stage lighting. This series of test were executed in a horizontal plane. The day of testing was held at the Orange County Convention Center.
Saky had a working storyboard for the content and supplied the team with samples of the content for playback. This proved to be a priceless element for the testing as we had a real world look at hue and contrast on camera.

To continue the pace of real-world scenarios on a scaled basis, PRG provided lighting as specified by Al Gurdon, the LD for the show. It was important to see how the lighting levels would effect the reflectivity of the fabric and the adverse effect of the projected image.
Mark Sanford engineered the camera readings of each sample fabric at several different angles to ensure continuity and explore the drop off of the projected image. These results additionally assisted with camera placement choices. The day of testing was very successful and a true testament of departments hitting on all cylinders and synced.

With the horizontal testing completed and a digest of the results brought to mind the need for a vertical testing scenario to be executed. In a proof of concept exercise, one projection pod was lifted by a crane at LMG headquarters in Orlando.

The goal of the exercise was to converge all four units when flown 150’. This was achieved by internal lens shift and focus coupled with the Barco Projector Toolset. Secondly we took the fabric samples that had proved well from the horizontal testing and laid them out on the grass in the projected area. It was of some concern that the grass would affect the projected chroma. This exercise confirmed our choice of the Heavy Knit Bright White fabric from All Access.

Additionally, the custom hanging hardware for each pod was improved upon after several studies. Video started loading in mid-January with projection rigging at the stadium and LED was installed at the offsite rehearsal facility.

All the preparation and course of actions taken by the entire team paid off in Indianapolis. The Super Bowl XLVI Bridgestone Halftime Show was stunning. It is an honor to work with the best in the business.----- Ken Gay

Video Crew List
Anthony Tisdell: Project Manager
Steven "Boz" Bodzioch: Project Manager
Neil Morrison: Technical Project Manager
Charlie Weiner: Rigger for Projection
Doug Eldredge: LED Project Manager
Luke Pilato: LED Crew Chief
Benjamin Spence: LED Technician
Steve Reid: LED Technician
Dustin Cunningham: LED Technician
Zack Heimbegner: LED Technician
Michael Viehmeyer: LED Technician
Nathan Vanderpool: LED Technician
Johnny Jordan: LED Technician
Trace Deroy: LED Technician
Zamir Ziegler: Projectionist
Danny Whetstone (DWP): Head Projectionist
Justin Carlson (DWP):Projectionist
Benjamin Ryle (DWP):Projectionist
Jacob Zobrist (DWP): Projectionist

Projection Gear from LMG
32 Barco FLM HD 20 Projectors
32 Barco 2.8-5.0 HD Lenses
8 Thomas Truss Custom Galaxy Truss
4 1500’ 12 Pair Tactical Fiber Snakes w/DVI TX/RX Adapters and Distribution
8 200’ 4 Pair Tactical Fiber Snakes w/DVI TX/RX Adapters and Distribution
8 LMG Custom Fiber and CAT-5 Disconnect Boxes for Data and Control

LED
796 BasicTech FLED FL-io11 11.25mm LED Tiles
3 BasicTech MCU-380HD LED Processors
2 MotionLabs 400 AMP Distros
2 1400’ 4 Pair Tactical Fiber Snakes w/DVI TX/RX Adapters and Distribution

Additional video gear
6 Green Hippo Hippotizers (provided by Jason Rudolph)
1 MA Lighting grandMA2 light

Related articles: