This Is, By Far, The Most Exciting a Reading Room Can Possibly Be

Using a 360-degree projection on the octagonal La Trobe Reading Room of The State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, Technical Direction Company achieved projection mapping majesty.

CI Staff
Photos & Slideshow
View the slideshow View the slideshow

When you think of a reading room, you generally think, “Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

There is nothing hushed, however, about the spectacular audio-video celebration with projection mapping at the La Trobe Reading Room of The State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

Technical Direction Company is responsible for, among other video canvases, a 360-degree immersive projection.

Why decorate a library and reading room with projection art? 

Melbourne is one of seven UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) “Cities of Literature,” which inspired a group of Australian artists to create Ideation, as a spectacular audio-visual celebration of the power of libraries to teach, inspire and develop knowledge, according to a TDC press release.

Photos of Various Projection Art Scenes

The projection mapping took place on White Night Melbourne 2016.

La Trobe Reading Room is an octagonal 1,000 meter-wide learning space under a 35-meter high-dome. The group of artists—Nick Azidis, Lisa Greenaway, Adem Jaffers and Bentley Dean—used Ideation at White Night Melbourne 2016 as a platform for their 360-degree artwork.

“It was a very challenging and complex room to line up each video projector and image,” says TDC head technician Steve Cain in the press release.

Indeed the projection area was 120 meters wide by 30 meters high with 360-degree blend. High-resolution content was rendered at 8K wide and 2.5K high creating a single image at an amazing 20,000 pixels.

More about the projection from TDC’s press release:

“The size of the image allowed us to do true pixel lock on all server outputs through to projection, making for the sharpest and best possible image,” added Cain. “To achieve this, I made good use of the pre-visualisation tool and footprint features of our d3 4x4pro servers to come up with the best design concept as well as to use every pixel and projector brightness as efficiently as possible.”

“An additional challenge to overcome was achieving pixel perfect blending and focus over building surface curves, balconies that protrude several meters forward and alcoves recessing back several meters, side-by-side. Although this was a challenge, it’s one that we knew how to overcome after many years of mastering different building architectures with projection mapping.”

“To create the video projections this year we used our d3 4x4pro media servers running new VFC output cards as well as play out of fully immersive surround sound, integrated with high-resolution Barco HDF-W26 large-format projectors. It was a great project to do, very cool, and I loved it,” enthused Cain.

Architectural building projection

In front of a large forecourt and lawns filled to capacity with White Night revellers, TDC provided video projection using the State Library façade, forecourt grass, steps and trees as a canvas. All up, the projection area was 80 meters wide by 24 meters high.

“For the exterior, we used more of our Barco HDF-W26 high-brightness projectors and integrated them with Christie Pandora’s Box media servers for playback,” added Pete Lynn, technical project manager at TDC.

“The Artists used video to explore the Library as an ecosystem of imagination and the driving energy for knowledge. By doing this project, TDC, working with Amanda Morgan, James HH Morgan and DJ JNETT, attempted to show the inspiring process of human learning.”

Melbourne wide video projection & expertise

TDC delivered projections for several additional sites for White Night including:

– Still Here on the façade of the National Gallery of Victoria working with Australian Indigenous artist Josh Muir and Ample Projects. 
– For Luminesce, the interior of St Paul’s Cathedral was a collaboration with video artist Robert Jarvis, composer Gian Slater and vocal ensemble Invenio.
– TDC also created video projections for the CGI building with Chase Burns for White Wash.

White Night Melbourne attracts multiple thousands of people into central Melbourne each year. Even returning visitors feel that each White Night is a unique experience and with immersive video projection at its heart, it is enjoyed by everyone.

There seems to be something in the air in Australia that inspires video-based art. In the past we’ve covered the world’s largest light festival in Sydney … on multiple occasions.