At Trade Show this year, we have previewed some of the highlights of the next release of WATCHOUT. The focus is on collaboration, cross-team workflow, smart solutions for operators, and adding even more creative power to your shows.
COLLABORATE, SHARE, STREAMLINE
We’re redesigning the user interface but if you’ve worked in WATCHOUT previously, you’ll still feel right at home (for the most part!). In WATCHOUT 7 we’re introducing a whole new function: the Asset Manager. This enables a shared, streamlined workflow and provides seamless optimization. Your creative team can upload their content* to the Asset Manager, you grab it as you program the show. Video is optimized as you drop it onto the timeline, using the codecs that offer best performance. You get a fast, low-res media preview so you won’t miss a beat as you program. What’s more, the uploaded assets continue to be available even after your show, making it easier to share content across multiple shows.Contact us
In WATCHOUT 7 we’re introducing a whole new function.Your creative team can upload their content* to the Asset Manager, you grab it as you program the show.
Video is optimized as you drop it onto the timeline, using the codecs that offer best performance. You get a fast, low-res media preview so you won’t miss a beat as you program.
The leading network audio system, Dante (Digital Audio Network Through Ethernet) delivers uncompressed, multi-channel, low-latency digital audio over a standard network.
We’re redesigning the user interface but if you’ve worked in WATCHOUT previously, you’ll still feel right at home (for the most part!).
What’s more, the uploaded assets continue to be available even after your show, making it easier to share content across multiple shows.
The upcoming release comes in two modes: the standard Producer mode is free to download and use, just like WATCHOUT production software always has been.
COLLABORATE, SHARE, STREAMLINE
For show producers, designers and operators, we’re upping the ante considerably with the next release, with up to 16-bit color depth, HDR playback, color space management, and support of key file formats such as Notch® LC and HEVC/H.265. You can also expect support of NDI® in and out with all the cost, speed and quality benefits that brings. We’re adding a new video engine and enhancing synch across multiple media servers.Contact us
Dome, mapping, movement with WATCHOUT
Take an amazing event space, add a huge dose of creativity, a large portion of technical expertise, and a client who is willing to think way out-of-the-box, and this is what you can get! For this jaw dropping corporate event at Alvernia Studios, Poland, Grupa e4e chose WATCHOUT to manage content and playback for the dome projection, onstage mapping and moving LED screen. Enjoy!
Take an amazing event space, add a huge dose of creativity, a large portion of technical expertise, and a client who is willing to think way out-of-the-box, and this is what you can get!
For this jaw dropping corporate event at Alvernia Studios, Poland, Grupa e4e chose WATCHOUT to manage content and playback for the dome projection, onstage mapping and moving LED screen. Enjoy!
Magical mapping celebrates Culture Night
To celebrate Copenhagen Culture Night, the National Museum of Denmark teamed up with No Parking Production to present an extravagant show mapped across the facade of the museum. Using WATCHOUT multi-display softwareteamed with eight projectors, No Parking brought the 41 by 12 meter building to spectacular life. Tolkien's world was chosen as the theme, reflecting the museum exhibition running at the time. The goal was to pull out all the stops and create a sparkling visualisation of Gandalf’s dragon fireworks for the anticipated 10 000 visitors during the evening. The visual experience starts in 1940s London, the period during which J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his Lord of the Rings chronicles. From here, the building was transformed into a magical scene from The Hobbit, until, with the sudden appearance of the wizard Gandalf, the fireworks begin.
The culmination is a giant fiery dragon flying across the night sky – all projected on the facade of the museum. With its enormous wings, the dragon flies directly towards the audience spewing fire and seeming to set the whole museum alight. "You could actually hear the audience gasp," says Kasper Henriksen, No Parking.
For the projection mapping, No Parking began by making precise measurements of the facade to ensure the graphics would fit the building's architecture with 100% accuracy. The overall WATCHOUT imagery consists of eight 1920x1200 pixels. The visual universe and the sound was created from scratch by the team at No Parking. Video silhouette recordings of Tolkien, Gandalf and all the hobbits were filmed in No Parking’s inhouse chromakey studio, using the whole team of No Parking as actors – including the office dog, Zumma! The graphics used in the production are a mixture of Photoshop backgrounds animated in After Effects, with the dragon itself animated in 3D.
WATCHOUT drives dynamic multi-screen experience at flagship store
London's coolest retail destination right now must be the 18Montrose store at King's Cross with its dynamic, multi-screen video content — driven by Dataton WATCHOUT. Designer and streetwear fashion retailer 18Montrose launched the flagship store in July 2017, re-defining the concept of in-store signage in the process.
The ultra-modern store and installation offers catwalk shows, product launches and musical performances, as well as brands including Stone Island, Adidas Statement Footwear, CP Company, Stone Island, Common Projects and Maison Marginal. Systems integrator, Multimedia Plus, supplied the technical specification, solution and installation expertise for the project, coordinating with key suppliers, Dataton and NEC.
“This dynamic retail installation comprises three aisles, lined with eighteen screens on each side, plus a bank of twenty screens at the end of each aisle," Guy Ferguson, Creative Technologist at Multimedia Plus comments. "Because the last aisle in the store is half the size of the others, the client designed and installed a mirror wall to give the illusion that the screen image and store carried on. This produces a very interesting effect.
“We programmed Dataton WATCHOUT to run the complex video content that ran during the launch event — and because this is a permanent installation, we’re remotely programming new content on an on-going basis."
West London-based Multimedia Plus regularly works with high-profile brands and quickly understood the special requirements of the (500 sqm) venue and client. “The brief was to transform the space into a retail-nightclub hybrid, with maximum flexibility of content. This is dictated by the events — there are several events a month, with different sponsors — or featured brand. Store content changes, so the video content must change, too. The screens can be controlled from one console, either on site or remotely over LAN.”
The permutations are endless in this dynamic installation which blurs the border between fashion store, gallery and showroom. Each of the 132 screens can show different content, or all screens can show the same content to give a seamless visual experience, or the two variations can be combined to suit. This flexible solution allows the store to create a brand zone, a number of screens specific to the clothes or footwear on display and thus a perfect, dedicated, advertising space.
“A retail environment is different from events,” adds Guy Ferguson. “For a typical wide screen installation, the audience is several metres away from the screens, but here everyone’s up close, so resolution is critical. I reckon we’re pushing over 186 million pixels!”
The technical solution revolves around Dataton’s award-winning WATCHOUT multi-display production and playback system driving twelve WATCHPAX 4 and WATCHPAX 2 media servers. UK premium partner, Mirage Associates, provided the Dataton system and onsite support. "Each of the WATCHPAX 4 media servers pushes content to up to sixteen NEC MultiSync 46″ LED displays, 132 in total," explains Steve Selwyn, CEO, Mirage Associates. "It's a robust solution to handle the day and evening event usage."
Guy Ferguson concludes: “With this high-profile installation there are, of course, great demands on reliability, but with industrial-grade components, these servers are ideal for us to deliver a reliable and highly flexible system.”
Immersive video installation takes visitors by storm
“Typhoon coming on” at London’s Serpentine Sackler Gallery is the first European solo exhibition by up-and-coming US artist Sondra Perry. Acclaimed for her work with video, computer-based media and performance, Typhoon’s centerpiece is a 66 m wide WATCHOUT show – a bold interpretation of one of the most harrowing depictions of the Atlantic slave trade. The “apocalyptic, seething video spectacle of stormlight and doom-laden waters” (according to The Guardian review) covers three of the gallery’s outer walls, taking Turner’s "Slave Ship" painting to a whole new level.
London-based ADi Audiovisual Ltd regularly works with the Serpentine Galleries and was tasked with designing the special AV requirements for the site-specific installation. The challenges included projecting from floor to ceiling on a large area spread over three walls and in a relatively limited space with a moving audience.
“We had spoken about doing a similar project some years ago, so when the artist requested to cover the entire gallery walls in projection I dug out the sketches and then started to think about what new technology is now available,” explains Sara Smith at ADi Audiovisual. “Previously we were only going to be able to cover a portion of the wall height and there were major imitations of where the public could move around the space without clipping the image. With the recent development of UST (ultra short throw) lens what was possible now was totally different, and with Epson’s unique ‘snorkel’ style lens the magic of being able to cover the entire height of the walls was now possible!”
Dataton’s WATCHOUT multi-display system was selected for playback (“It’s our go-to choice for edge blend and high quality video playback.”) The huge format called for a total of 12 projectors (four per wall) to fill the entire area, running under WATCHPAX 4 media servers.
The artist had previously shown the work as a three-channel edge-blend which meant a much larger canvas had to be generated for the 66 meters of wall. The scale and quality called for several days at a render farm to output the image sequence. In the meantime, ADi Audiovisual was able to use the artist’s test five-second content to work on the physical line-up.
“The ease of the WATCHOUT system meant when the actual content arrived we were able to upload it without needing to physically access the players,” Sara Smith explains. “The accuracy of being able to dial in the co-ordinates of each of the 11 HD video files of content ensured the physical line up was unaffected.”
The response to the immersive environment – which also includes a newly created ambient soundscape – has been extremely positive. Reviewers are moved by the message and captivated by the wall projections that course through the gallery space, "an audio visual treat" according to one enthusiastic visitor.
Factory tour revs up with WATCHOUT
The Triumph Factory Visitor Experience is a world class exhibition showcasing the excellence in design, engineering and human endeavour that goes into the manufacture of Triumph motorcycles. Located at the manufacturer's UK headquarters, the centre allows visitors to connect with some of the most iconic Triumph motorbikes in an engaging journey through eight themed zones, divided across two floors.
With many high-profile projects under their belt (including the UK pavilion at the most recent World Expo), Sysco Productions were Triumph's choice to help create the impactful visitor experience. Working closely with the Triumph team, Sysco advised and outlined the most creative AV solutions to achieve the project vision. Audiovisual elements, including widescreen and curved projections with WATCHOUT, are used throughout the centre, animating the motorbikes and enlivening the rich story of this international brand. The tour starts with "Attitude" where visitors are welcomed by a looping video highlighting the devotion and ambition behind what makes a Triumph such a triumph. With local audio and WATCHOUT running three LCD seamlessly blended laser projectors, this opening encounter sets the scene for the journey ahead.
"The media content is bold and dramatic to give a vibrant, punchy backdrop for these beautifully elegant and powerful motorbikes," says Sysco's Jack Strong. "Throughout the exhibition, projections are perfectly synchronised with audio to ensure a dynamic and immersive experience that will inform and really inspire visitors."
In "Performance", a chronology of speed is delivered by a looped six-channel WATCHOUT show, seamlessly blended across a curved wall using short throw projectors. Concisely coordinated with audio and synchronised with a circular speedometer floor projection, it focuses on five bikes and their achievements in speed. The WATCHOUT server allows geometry correction compensating for the curvature of the wall and ensures a synchronicity between audio and projection displays.
In "For the Ride" a looping video with multi-channel audio encapsulates all of the elements that fuse in the perfect bike ride. Rounding off the visitor experience, multiple 32” wall-mounted LCD screens showcase the design process and meticulous engineering behind the bikes, with additional CAD drawings, renderings, models, sketches and interviews.
Miles Perkins at Triumph Motorcycles sums it up: "We had a very high expectation for the AV in the new factory visitor experience, and the result has not only exceeded this but delivered a truly engaging and immersive experience. The close collaboration we had on the design and technology plan was key to the success of this great new motorcycling and engineering venue.”
Dataton system brings ancient China to life at World Museum
Meet 2,200 year old terracotta warriors in a blockbuster exhibition in Liverpool, UK, this summer. The unique exhibition at the World Museum is titled "China's First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors" and brings history alive with striking video visuals – courtesy of Dataton WATCHOUT – and integrated audio effects. Adlib specified, supplied, and installed all of the audio visual equipment including complex projection systems and surround-sound audio installations alongside partners Draw & Code.
Featuring ten life-sized figures, the exhibition includes a terracotta cavalry horse from the burial site of China’s First Emperor Qin Shi Huang (221-206 BC) and over 25 smaller warriors from the Han Empire, China’s second imperial dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). The exhibition opened in February 2018 and has already received worldwide acclaim and is exceptionally popular, attracting people from all over the UK and Europe.
The brief was to make it immersive, experiential and fun and to add to the educational and information aspects, with the additional aim of engaging a wide audience range including those who might not necessarily consider visiting exhibitions.
Tom Edwards, Adlib's head of video: “We listened carefully to what the museum envisioned, and came up with some lively and flexible solutions for how to achieve the atmosphere, sonically and visually in the five separate areas, all distinctly different.”
Area 1: WATCHOUT maps geo-wall
At the start of the exhibition, visitors (around 40 at a time) enter the ‘Introduction to China’ area and immediately encounter a geo-wall, a 15-metre wide by three-metre tall wall shaped like a stylised mountain range, custom-built to fit the space.
The lights dim and there is a presentation onto the wall about the global superpower that China is today, complete with the scent of cherry blossom.
Dataton's WATCHOUT multi-display software is used to map the wall working on two Panasonic PT-RZ970 10,000 lumen laser projectors. The technically challenging brief was to keep viewing space to a maximum, while achieving high brightness and resolution. A WATCHPAX 4 media server provides the mapped, edge-blended content to the two projectors and also controls the Crown amplifiers, plus the Osborne Technologies scent generator.
The audio installation comprises three Adlib AA61 speakers and AA12HL subs, run as a 3.1 surround system to give a rich 3D tone.
Area 2: WATCHPAX reveals warring states
When the presentation finishes, the doors open at the end of the room – also controlled via the WATCHPAX and Visual Productions IOCore Artnet relay system – giving visitors their first glimpse of a terracotta horse and warrior before they pass into the second space, where they confront the ‘Warring States’ about the rise to power by the first Emperor of China.
This features another WATCHOUT show, running on two Panasonic PT-RZ970 projectors and two 5.5 m x 2 m screens along the length of the space above head height. Adlib installed a compact Dataton WATCHPAX 2 media server to drive the show and incorporated the same iPower IP-4 power control system found throughout the exhibition.
The soundscape is delivered via Adlib AA81 speakers built-in to the screen. With quadraphonic audio, the sounds of arrows whizzing overhead accompanied by drum beats and the sounds of battle, can all be directional to ramp up the atmosphere.
Area 3: Rear-projected show centrepiece
The next area details the Qin Dynasty, with terracotta warriors from this period, including a kneeling stable boy in a case, and seven warriors side-by-side in a row with an 8 m x 3 m projection screen immediately behind. This WATCHOUT show runs on three Panasonic RZ970s.
Lead video technician for the project, Andrew Watts, comments, “This area was particularly challenging for us. The idea of having a large rear projection seemed a simple one, however less than two-metres of projection throw distance could be allocated in a space that – at first look – shouldn’t allow enough distance for it to work at all!”
The trio of projectors are portrait-mounted using Rigtec adapters, modified to attach directly to an upright truss base. Panasonic’s ET-DLE030 lenses were then fitted giving a 0.36:1 throw ratio.
“Lining the projectors up and achieving a seamless blend was a meticulous task,” explains Andrew laughing. “We are incredibly pleased with the outcome of this centrepiece of the exhibition.”
The content includes stunning close ups of the warriors faces which have been digitally painted for the onscreen presentation in what would have been original colours.
“There are some beautiful moments with the warriors in front of the rolling green hills from the burial site in China” says Andy Cooper, director of Draw & Code. “Adlib’s installation experts did a perfect job with the screen material and really brought our concepts to life.”
Tom Edwards explains that it took a lot of brain-teasing to come up with an optimum solution for this area, and everyone is delighted with the results. “You can do all the pre-visualisation in the world, but it’s not until you actually get to site and see the content and the artefacts together for real that you know if it’s all going to work!”
Area 4: HD detail with WATCHPAX
Area 4: Next, visitors move into the Han Dynasty area where the focus is on showing the detail of the smaller warriors crafted during this era. There is an HD screen fed by another Panasonic PT-RZ970 projector running from the same WATCHPAX 4 media server as the projections in the Qin presentation.
Area 5: WATCHOUT, mapping and ghost
Area 5 revolves around the First Emperor’s Mausoleum, a hermetically sealed tomb roughly the size of a football pitch which has never been opened. This required a completely different more theatrical treatment and, being the final space of the exhibition, it was vital to make a lasting impact. The space includes a projection-mapped WATCHOUT show with a holo-gauze scrim creating a Pepper’s Ghost effect to the front.
Five Panasonic PT-RZ670 projectors are utilised: four to beam the projections onto the floor, sides and roof of the mausoleum for the dramatic, high-drama show and one to take care of the scrim. Smoke effects appear on the front of the gauze, rivers of mercury are projected into the floor, culminating in a booby trap, triggered by a bird flying through the space.
“This type of presentation is unusual for a museum” comments Tom Edwards, “just as the massive responsibility for creatively representing such an incredibly important world heritage site.”
The team at Adlib and Draw & Code began work on the project back in August 2017 with the installation team spending three months on-site to make sure everything was tuned to perfection.
Control solution with WATCHNET
All the show scheduling is tied into a Dataton WATCHNET server, which provides advanced show control of the WATCHPAX media servers and is the command centre for all the IP-controlled devices in the system. Some of the network infrastructure is built around a fibre backbone to accommodate the distances between areas.
A hardware-based VPN router is installed for fully remote network access, control and diagnostics of the entire system. A secondary software-based VPN allows redundant access to the network via a dedicated monitoring server, which runs a Linux-based instance of Zabbix for advanced logging, monitoring and diagnostics of the network.
“This project has been a highlight of my career so far,” says Tom. “The teams from National Museums Liverpool, Draw & Code and all the other contractors have shared the same passion and determination to deliver something memorable that Liverpool and the rest of the UK can be proud of.
“The incredible public reaction has confirmed the amazing depth of expertise and artistry that is available locally, well done to all!”