The Sydney Opera House has often been called an architectural masterpiece. It is also one of the world’s most active performing arts centers, with its roof or “sails” symbolizing a pioneering passion for the arts.
On February 4, 2015 the Sydney Opera House hosted a concert in conjunction with Ample Projects and the Vienna Tourist Board that combined beautiful visual designs and live music. It was called Visions of Vienna, a multi-media artistic collaboration celebrating the capital of Austria, its art and its people.
At 8pm, doors opened to the public for a free, live performance in Concert Hall by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Afterward, the crowd gathered outside to watch as visual graphics representing the artistic and musical heritage of Vienna were projected onto the roof of the Opera House.
The stunning images of Vienna were put together by Ample Projects, a collaboration of artists, designers, animators and interactive developers who work together to tell stories via projection or screen. Technical Direction Company (TDC) supplied, organized and manned the technology for the event — a combination of Barco projectors and d3 Technologies 4x4pro media servers.
“The smooth lines and white surface of the iconic Sydney Opera House are great to work with,” says Olin Winton, Technical Director at TDC. “Depth of field and maintaining a sharp focus across multiple stacked projectors can be a challenge that’s solved using a well thought out projection plan.”
Some of the visuals projected onto the Opera House included images of iconic buildings in Vienna, video of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (which was playing alongside the projection) and famous paintings from Austria.
“During design, TDC’s team of creative and technical experts created a content template so that Ample Projects and the Sydney Opera House Recording and Broadcast Studios were all working from the same plan. This also helped to save time on site,” says Winton. “We worked closely with the Sydney Opera House production team and other suppliers to overcome any technical issues.”
There were many challenges in this project, including the enormous size of the Opera House, long throw distances and a very busy Sydney Harbour port right in the projection path. TDC had to work around high-traffic times of day. The Barco projectors and robust d3 Technologies media servers managed to go the distance — quite literally.
“A finely tuned methodology developed over a number of years has led to locating specific projection locations to project over the ferries and cruise ships that come into port. Isolated projection platforms are designed for long projection throw distances,” says Winton. “Main and backup systems comprised the two-way microwave link for a transmission path. The audio path was retransmitted via microwave and RF to viewing sites with the audio delay added as needed.”
The entire show was broadcast to music and art lovers across the world in a live web stream. Here it is on video: