In late spring of 2013, Nautilus Entertainment Design (NED) was approached by Bill Prince, Vice President of Entertainment for Holland America Line (HAL), with a request to rethink the traditional Holland America Line showroom with an eye towards creating a more flexible space.  Among Mr. Prince’s desires was to do away with most of the traditional scenery and provide his guests with an immersive entertainment experience via high resolution video system encompassing at least 270° of the room.

Working in close conjunction with Bjorn Storbraaten and his team at YSADESIGN, the concept was eventually turned into what is now the World Stage on Holland America’s newest ship which entered service in April 2016.

The project had strong support from Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Group; Orlando Ashford, President of Holland America Line; Cyril Tartar, Vice President of New Building for Holland America Group; and Michael J. Smith, Senior Vice President for Marine Hotel Operations.

NED designed all theatrical audio, video, and lighting systems including the video head-end and control system which serves content to the massive 270° video canvas covering the majority of the World Stage’s performance and audience area walls.  Expanding on the desire to have a flexible space, the video and rigging systems were designed to allow the performance area to convert from a proper thrust stage to a proscenium configuration by means of a set of movable LED legs and header.  While typically hidden from view, the header and legs can be deployed to form of the proscenium.  When configured as a thrust stage, audience seating can be placed on stage to enable a performance “in the round.” 

VER/AdVantage LED Solutions supplied the 2,700+ sqft of LED panels while Videlio-HMS of Staranzano, Italy engineered the complex LED mounting and handled the installation of the LED and all theatrical systems.  Mounting of the LED canvas was one of the more challenging aspects as the team knew from experience that main ship’s structure to which everything would need to attach would be constantly moving and flexing as the ship travels through the ocean.  The team was concerned that this twisting and bending if translated into the LED panels could either damage the LED modules or create visible gaps in the image. 

HMS’ solution incorporated strategically placed gaps in the LED panels along with a top/bottom floating mounting which served to isolate the LED from the movement of the steel.  The result has been very successful with no visible gaps within the image even when the ship is in rough seas.

A circular front projection screen with six Christie Digital 10K blended projectors complements the 270° LED canvas.  When not in use, the circular projection screen can be raised out of sight. 

Once the project was past the concept stage, Holland America line partnered with Linda Batwin of Batwin + Robin Productions in New York to develop content specific to the ship.  At just over 9 million pixels, the system utilizes one primary and one backup 16 output d3 video servers to playback the seamless content. 

The result has been very popular with the guests and will serve as the model for the next ships to join Holland America’s fleet.

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