Sunday, May 4, 2008

This was a tough one...

OK, so when we decided to do this with our client, we all kind of looked at each other and said "it can not be that hard". After all, our technology is rock-solid, the projectors are capable and it is "only" 250,000 sq feet of synchronized video, so how hard could it be? New York City, Meatpacking District, Spring time, it will be a breeze.

The way we designed it, we had 6 buildings and 12 surfaces that needed to be lit up. Challenges included (but were not at all limited to):

- The projectors were off angle by about 40 degrees from each surface
- We couldnt project in the windows of the buildings so that we didn't disturb hotel guests/patrons (get your head around that)
- There was a ton of ambient light, making projection difficult to see
- It was raining
- There was no power on the roofs
- Each projector had a custom lens solution to accomodate its throw/coverage
- Cranes were not available to move gear onto the roofs, so we had to use boom lifts
- There was no way to run cabling between buildings to carry video signal
- Projection surfaces consisted of brick, glass, steel and cobblestone
- Did I mention that it was raining?

Our solution was to use the state of the art 30,000 lumen projectors with our FireFrame servers to make up a 24,000 pixel composition. 20 projectors, 4 locations, 1 mile apart and 6 stories up: difficult. That, combined with the aforementioned "issues", made the challenge monumental.

Well, our friends in the city of NYC were actually very cooperative and we got the whole thing permitted and arranged in about 3 weeks. Sure, we had a few obstacles to get around but when it came time to hit the magic "go" button, it all worked out flawlessly.

The art community of NYC turned out in force for the launch of the iGoogle product, and was in awe of our production.

If anyone wants to hear the real challenges (the ones listed were trivial in comparison), please drop me a note. Thanks to Google for actually believing that this could happen (and funding it) and my friend Hashem for setting it up from the git-go.

Wheeew, it worked and was a rockin success.