Protec benefits from fast systems set up, tracking of video, and unlimited creativity
On an unprecedented scale, CAST BlackTrax Ltd saw Production Technology LLC (Protec), the largest live events production company in the Middle East deploy BlackTrax realtime motion tracking solution at the Hamdan bin Mohammed Programme for Smart Government awards - HbMPSG in late 2014.
The two-hour long ceremony was a pioneering initiative in the Dubai for government services. Aimed at promoting corporate and community life in the Emirate, the awards were presented by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum at the World Trade Centre Arena, Dubai. The audience comprised government officials such as the Dubai Police, transport authorities, power and utility companies.
Tracking of fast-moving projection mapping surfaces
For the HbMPSG Awards, Protec used a giant 5 by 5 meter rotating cube structure hanging above a 22-metre diameter circular stage, during the ceremony the cube pitched forward, rotated and lifted up and down. The cube was tracked using BlackTrax realtime motion tracking and integrated with d3 Technologies 4x4pro media servers.
Additionally BlackTrax tracked two large pieces of 13 x 14 metre jigsaw-shaped scenery located around the edge of the stage that were used as a projection canvas. These tracked around the cube during the ceremony.
Since the audience was positioned 240-degrees around the stage the cube and jigsaw shapes needed to be tracked and projected the complete 360 degrees of the setup.
This was the first project to use 6D tracking on an unrivalled scale in the EMEA region. BlackTrax not only tracks XYZ positions, which is the regular 3D positional information, but will also track Yaw, Pitch and Roll for rotation in any direction. Objects can move, spin, rotate in 6DoF (6 Degrees of Freedom) and still be tracked.
“We chose BlackTrax specifically for this project, because we knew it was the only solution that would work,” said Lighting Designer, Aaron Russ at Protec. “We needed to track each surface of the cube and jigsaw so we could project on all surfaces as they moved during the show.
“To do this, we added four BlackTrax beacons into the cube, each with two stringers for a total of eight tracking points. We placed one tracking point on each corner, so that we had complete coverage of all sides of the cube. We then placed the BlackTrax Beacons at the top of the cube for easy access, and ran stringer extensions down to connect the tracking points to the beacon. For the jigsaw pieces we used three beacons in each piece. The BlackTrax cameras were hung on an angle so that they could see over the jigsaw pieces and be able to track all eight corners of the cube.”
BlackTrax streamed realtime positional information via high-speed protocol (RTTrPM) to the d3 media server. d3 was able to construct a rigid body cube (virtual version of the cube) in their media server design tool that behaved and moved like the real cube, in realtime by using the positional information received from BlackTrax.
“We used the d3 media server to create a virtual representation of the stage set including the cube and jigsaw. Even if 5 tracking points were obscured, we could still rely on only 3 tracking points and still be able to track the entire cube. This was because the clever d3 system understood the object as whole, instead of six individual screens,” added Russ.
The content for the awards ceremony was created using live camera feeds of award winners, audience members and custom created graphics and videos. Protec not only supplied BlackTrax and d3, they also supplied 32 x Christie HD20K J Series projectors to create the spectacular visuals along with the complete audio, lighting and rigging solution.
“Set up and integration with the video servers was really easy. Everyone was very impressed with what BlackTrax did. d3 and BlackTrax experts were on hand to help with set up. They were great guys and knew their products. We’d happily have then back over again for future projects.”
Protec looks to the future with BlackTrax
Protec is the largest event production house in the Middle East and one of the top five in the world. Having audio, video, lighting, rigging and set departments all under one roof. Along with a team of expert technicians in their respective disciplines to deliver any level of production.
Protec will use BlackTrax for corporate events including awards ceremonies and product launches where objects or performers need to be tracked in realtime.
“We are the only company in the Middle East able to offer realtime motion tracking that really works,” adds Aaron Russ.
And the last word goes to Aaron Russ who said: “BlackTrax is the next step forward as far as technology goes. The creativity that it can unlock and what it allows you to achieve in terms of lighting and video are beyond anything else out there before BlackTrax. BlackTrax is an amazing bit of technology and the spectacular results of the HbMPSG proves its unrivalled performance!”
Images and video: ® Production Technology LLC (Protec)
About CAST BlackTrax
Since 1994, CAST has delivered solutions to and for the entertainment production industry and special events and meeting industry. Based in Toronto Canada, we deliver to the world!
CAST BlackTrax is the multi-award-winning realtime tracking technology solution that delivers precise streaming 3D & 6D positional data to controllers for targeting the connected automated robotic technologies already used extensively in event and entertainment production, and houses of worship. Using proprietary IR and RF, BlackTrax delivers dynamic streaming positional data with six degrees of freedom (x, y, z, plus roll, pitch & yaw) to 3D & spatial audio, automated lighting, multimedia servers, and robotic cameras – all at the same time, in realtime. BlackTrax is a complete 'tracking solution', which means either CAST or a BTExpert will ensure it is properly designed and installed to deliver optimal results, as well as provide onsite training and ongoing support. www.blacktrax.ca
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