Projection mapping creates modern mirage

On an empty lot in the sandy outskirts of the very modern city of Doha a 5,000 square meter tent is erected to stage a very private event: the wedding of a member of Qatar's royal family. In front of the tent stands a 110 m wide by 9 m high fabric-covered wall (about the length of a football field). Eighteen high-powered digital projectors, one Dataton WATCHOUT multi-display system plus numerous 3D animations later, and the wall gives the illusion of a large-scale kinetic modern art installation floating in the desert – a fantastic welcome to the 1200 guests as they drove up to the event.

International team

With less than three weeks lead time, top Qatari event producer and designer Fahad Signature tasked US-based projection design firm Megavision Arts with designing and producing a 3D projection-mapping effect, a faux entrance disguising the tent, that would mystify, entertain and engage the VIP guests as they arrived to the secluded event site.

With expert support from BARTKRESA Design and Creative Technology Middle East, Megavision Arts’ Creative Director David Corwin and producer Amber Bollinger quickly assembled a team of artists, designers, technicians and programmers. With only one face-to-face meeting between Corwin and Art Director Vincent Rogozyk, the entire team assembled in Doha five days before the event.

Modern, magical mapping

Based on the clients’ request for a 3D projection mapping that would be “very modern, artistic and magical” Corwin and Rogozyk began playing with abstract concepts that were evocative of Fahad Signature’s designs for the event, which included elements such as curvilinear wood furniture and sculptural wooden columns. From BARTKRESA Studio, Polish artists and animators Maciej Bałauszko and Michał Czubak were added to the team and began expounding upon the sketches, turning the rough curvilinear biomorphic and geometric ideas into polished animations.

Four basic scenes of abstract 3D kinetic animations were programmed to loop, morph and transition from one design to the next. These included: Optical Waves, Piano Tiles, Ribbon Architecture and the Involuted Helix.

Eighteen projector blend

Meanwhile at the remote event site, Creative Technology (CTME) began installing the outdoor projection systems. As the Fahad Signature crew finished constructing the projection wall – a plywood-skinned scaffold structure sheathed in taut white muslin fabric – CTME began erecting weatherproof truss towers on the sand to house the projectors.

Eighteen double-stacked Panasonic DZ21K projectors, converged and blended by a Dataton WATCHOUT multi-display system to create one large seamless image, illuminated the Infinity Wall with over 300,000 lumens of light. The animation files consisted of 14,148,000 pixels per frame, which equates to over 21 BILLION pixels per minute being pushed through the system!

As guests pulled off the highway onto a freshly graded and paved driveway, to their surprise and delight they encountered a fantastic undulating phantasm looming on the horizon. As they continued towards the projected mirage, a custom score with synchronized sound effects vivified the illusion even more...

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