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TDC technical wizardry at Vivid Sydney 2015

VIDEO: See behind the scenes at Vivid Sydney

World’s largest festival of light, music and ideas benefits from video technology and expertise

Technical Direction Company returned to Vivid Sydney from 22 May to 8 June 2015. With an opening weekend attended by more than a quarter of a million people, TDC provided video expertise in cutting edge mapping techniques and key video technology across an unprecedented 10km distance as the 18-day festival expanded into new Chatswood and Central Park precincts.

Anthony Bastic, Vivid Light Curator says: “Vivid Sydney placed art into the hands of the public, giving visitors a visually triumphant feast of artistic and technical innovation.

Vivid Sydney is the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas and is owned and managed by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s Tourism and Major Events agency.

Michael Hassett, Managing Director of TDC, said: “We’ve worked with Destination NSW on Vivid Sydney for four years now, and it is so great to see the huge public appreciation and genuine delight that is experienced each year as the festival has evolved. We are proud to have collaborated with the creative talent of the artists that Destination NSW has brought together this year to develop the wonderful animations.

"From a technology perspective it’s large in terms of the equipment required across several sites. Vivid Sydney required careful planning by skilled staff including design and mappings of the buildings to enable artists and designers to plan their animations,” explains Olin Winton, Technical Manager at TDC. “The artists we teamed up with this year made this process simple and enjoyable,” he says.

This year TDC delivered over 70 high-resolution projectors, four types of media servers as well as technical infrastructure including two automation platforms, each with custom hardware and electronics to power the video projections,” explains Anthony Pellizzari, TDC’s Technical Project Manager for this year’s festival.

We had some additional challenges this year, with crane lifts, street closures for installs and six new sites to manage and it was great working with the highly experienced team at Destination NSW to help roll this out,” he says.

No project challenge was too small or large for TDC as Steve Cain, Head Technician and Media Specialist points out. “As well as site specific challenges, TDC had to overcome reflective surfaces such as glass from other buildings or water. It was a challenge to converge multiple projectors onto curved roofs, perform colour correction onto dark bricks and colour balancing of multiple projector models to match these evenly. Seeing the final result with people interacting with projections was really rewarding - something that we’re very proud of,” he says.

© TDC – Technical Direction Company.

Technical wizardry highlights:

  • Video projection used an eye watering 7,464,960,000 total pixels on to the famous architecture of 10 buildings across Sydney
  • 8976m2 of architecturally mapped video projection
  • A total of 2,000,000 ANSI lumens, a measurement of projection light
  • 1.8km of 3 phase power cable, and 2.5km of fiber optic cable
  • Vivid Sydney precinct wide network infrastructure
  • In some areas such as Life Story, the show was run using ‘green’ energy
  • 10 technical staff used their unique and comprehensive understanding of video and lighting as well as media networking
  • 20 operational staff prepared and fine-tuned the equipment and gear in TDC’s warehouse prior to being on site
  • 40 crew worked around the clock for 10 days to install all sites
  • 10 specialist technicians programmed and lined up projection on all sites

Video Highlights at Vivid Sydney 2015:

LED video wall displays at Vivid LIVE for cutting-edge music acts

TDC supplied a creative video package including 7mm LED video wall displays, six Barco projectors and Catalyst media servers for the breathtaking performances of three headline acts at Vivid LIVE, part of Vivid Sydney, including the long-awaited solo debut of Daniel Johns, singer Sufjan Stevens and Flume at 10 years of Future Classic at Sydney Opera House.

© TDC – Technical Direction Company.


Projected onto the southern pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was a stunning 3-minute video combining a compelling contemporary dance with Eora history presented by Bangarra Dance Theatre, Australia’s leading indigenous performing arts organisation and the University of Sydney.

This project was our way to reclaim the significant place that is Dawes Point by continuing and sharing the celebration of the Eora, the first custodians of this place. Projected by TDC, this video along with other light animations, was visible from many areas around Sydney throughout the festival,” says Bangarra’s Artistic Director, Stephen Page

Central Park

Dance music lovers were encouraged to head to the internationally acclaimed urban village Central Park, a brand new precinct for Vivid Sydney in 2015. Working with Ample Projects, TDC projected street art from a variety of artists such as indigenous artist Reko Rennie and Beastman onto the impressive heritage-listed brewery façade. Accompanying the amazing visuals were silent discos on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.


The festival expanded into Chatswood in the city’s north for the very first time, where the walk from the Chatswood Mall to the train interchange featured creative artwork from Ample Projects combined with video projection from TDC.

For Vivid Sydney 2015 we wanted to create a new kind of precinct experience,” says Nicholas Tory, Creative Director at Ample Projects. “Our technical design collaboration with TDC in Chatswood was essential to the success of the precinct. The centerpiece of our Aquatic Wonderland precinct concept was our projection show, The Nautilus and The Sea, presenting an elegantly simple, but visually complex story, on the facade of Chatswood's Civic Centre, The Concourse. 

TDC played a key role in realising our artistic intent on a challenging façade. Together with TDC we delivered a 6.5 minute animated 3D projection show, a resolution of nearly 8,000 pixels wide, with synchronized sound across a multi- faceted stainless steel clad facade. Additionally we projected on an 8 x 30 metres wide staircase connecting the elevated wrap around facade to the ground level plaza, in front of audiences. This multi faceted projection show was an innovation for Vivid Sydney in 2015, and we are proud of this achievement and our collaboration with TDC,” he says.

Life Story

New to Vivid Sydney this year was the projection onto one of the cities most prolific heritage sites the Argyle Cut. A 30 metre arched tunnel provided a unique projection canvas. Audiences were immersed in the magic of an epic portrayal of BBC Earth’s: Life Story television series narrated by Sir David Attenborough. The BBC worked with Spinifex Group to bring this project to life.

Sueann Parker, Production Manager at Spinifex Group noted that extensive testing was required in the lead up. “Neither Spinifex nor TDC had projected at this site previously. As a result TDC required warped test footage months prior to the launch so as to best assess the split of the 8-projectors utilised inside the tunnel. Our animation was then created based on the mask they supplied. Months in the making it all lined up perfectly in the test week leading up to the festival opening.

This was our fifth year working with TDC for Vivid Sydney. They’re an incredibly reliable team and when partnering with them we know we can push the creative boundaries in terms of what can be achieved using projection,” she says.

© TDC – Technical Direction Company.

Enchanted Sydney

Award-winning experiential agency, Spinifex Group partnered with TDC for their technical expertise to create a tribute to Sydney’s illustrious flora and fauna on to the façade of Custom House for Vivid Sydney.

Sueann Parker, Production Manager at Spinifex Group said: "We know our creative is in the best possible hands with TDC. We worked closely with them when mapping our content to the building to ensure we complemented the facade in the best possible light.

This year, the project posted unique technical challenges that required new projection mounts and housing that were designed to accommodate the growing crowds. “With the assurance and persistence of the TDC team we’ve achieved the best possible outcome," adds Parker. 

© TDC – Technical Direction Company.

Mechanised Colour Assemblage

Mechanised Colour Assemblage transformed the Museum of Contemporary Art façade into a series of sound and colour ‘machines’ that created a continuously morphing listening and viewing experience. The audience was plunged into a universe where voices and colours blended together to become a single element. TDC provided ultra-high resolution projectors and media servers for artwork created by Sydney artist Rebecca Baumann and Paris-based art and design collective Danny Rose.

TDC supplied powerful video projectors to show our 8K resolution media for our 3D mapped experience. The final result was a splendid video projection where the audience could walk right up to the façade and see the artistic detail at very close range,” says Sergio Carrubba, Managing Director and Founder at Danny Rose.

This is the third year that we worked with the TDC team at Vivid Sydney. As always, they show a great enthusiasm and professionalism. TDC are a professional supplier and their expert team are technically skilled,” he says.

© TDC – Technical Direction Company.


Combining architecture and art, live graphics created by The Propaganda Mill were projected onto the historic Cadmans Cottage in The Rocks transforming it into a magical environment. Using light as a material, the video projection evolved in real-time and was manipulated through the movement and interactions of spectators, or by those passing by the cottage itself.

© TDC – Technical Direction Company.