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Evolutionary signage

With new technology being introduced to the market all the time, the idea of ‘signage’ is becoming increasingly blurred. What can be classed as a sign? One event even went as far as using the Sydney Opera House as its canvas.

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The Sydney Opera House was used as a canvas and turned into a 9,000sq m screen

The recent Invictus Games were staged in Sydney, Australia, and offered a platform for the wounded, injured and ill defence personnel to compete in different sporting events. The games were created by HRH The Duke of Sussex, and Technical Direction Company (TDC) was behind the transformation of the famous opera house for the opening ceremony.

Not everyone has the opportunity to use the Sydney Opera House as a canvas

Working with the creative team at marketing agency George P Johnson Australia, TDC brought together LED screens, projection mapping via Barco UDX 4K high brightness laser projectors to transform the sails of the Sydney Opera House. The quality equated to that of four IMAX cinema screens. Not even a delay due to an electrical storm could stop the grand display. Steve Cain, head engineer and media server specialist at TDC, comments: “It was the 13th time we’ve lined up the Sydney Opera House, and the third time this year. For the first time, I tried something new – changing which projectors hit which part of the Opera House, redefining which parts hit which sails.

TDC also worked on the closing ceremony of the event

“Basically, we used the same gear as we’ve used before for similar high-profile events – but this time, we used it smarter, giving us a brighter, crisper image. What we got was a much better result – one that we were very happy with. Not everyone has the opportunity to use the Sydney Opera House as a canvas. We’re very lucky to work with this building so often and make what we do better each time.”

TDC also worked on the closing ceremony at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney’s Olympic park. Cain adds: “The grand finale, with the performers and officials, was the highlight. It was certainly nice to be indoors, with a roof over our heads and out of the weather. We used Notch with Aloe Blacc (a Grammy-nominated R&B musician) and also created smoke trails, particle generators and stylisation effects for the cameras: when someone moved fast, there were trails on them – all in real time and with no delay. There were 12 VFX feeds for the bans. It all helped create a brilliant party atmosphere.”



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