ShowcasesT.A.P Project, Taiwan
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Mapping curved walls at iconic theatre with WATCHOUT

The stunning National Taichung Theater in Taichung, Taiwan, has premiered the first in a series of new projection-mapped shows, as part of its T.A.P. Project*. Dataton WATCHOUT and 11 Panasonic projectors help transform the curved, 19-meter high walls in the lobby into a lush forest and teeming aquarium.

The NTT has been described as one of the most structurally ambitious spaces since the Sydney Opera House, supported by 58 curved walls. Japanese architect Toyo Ito calls his masterpiece “The Sound Cave” but the flowing forms of the continuously curved structure lend themselves just as easily to exciting visual interpretations. 

The first shows in the ambitious T.A.P. mapping project turn the 19-meter curved wall in the first floor lobby into an aquarium and the foyer in front of the second-floor Grand Theater into a fantasy forest. For this transformation, AVT (Audio Visual Technique), the Dataton distributor in Southeast Asia, worked with local partner PJT Project Media Co., Ltd to provide a technical solution using WATCHOUT to map the irregular curved surface. Panasonic Taiwan Corp., supplied a battery of high-power projectors, skilfully concealed within the space so as not to detract from the impact and ambience of this immersive experience.

“In this kind of space where people are viewing from different angles, close-up and even interacting with the images, it’s vital that every transition and every soft-edge blend between projectors is perfect. The projections are there to create an illusion of a totally different environment so we have to ensure all the visuals reach their full potential, and really exploit the curve and flow of the walls,” says Leonard Hung at AVT.

The lobby is transformed into a jungle complete with animals twice per hour during daytime. The first-floor aquarium show features marine life swimming tantalisingly across the floor before merging into the wall projections. But these two shows are just the start. Moving forward, the theater has invited visual artists to contribute new content for the two-storey space. The curved walls will provide a canvas for shows designed around the themes of the theater’s program, with seasonal surprises to boot.

“This is a very challenging project. It is not easy to line up an immersive projection mapping on a completely smooth irregular curved surface without any apparent reference points. Thanks to the WATCHOUT 3D mapping and semi-automatic calibration features, we made it happen. Together as a team, we are looking forward more challenges coming in the future," concludes Sam Tseng at PJT.

* TAP: T for technology, theatre and Taichung. A for art, architecture and audience. P for projection, performance and playfulness.

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