Marking the start of 2017 and Hull's year long celebration as the capital of culture. Made in Hull was a week long event celebrating the story of the city and it's people though a variety of mediums. Including, but not limited to - a huge projection mapping installation in Queen Victoria Square designed by digital artist Zsolt Balogh.
Bluman Associates were contracted by the event organsiers Show Control to provide the technical production and projection mapping experience for the project.
The Hive's Rich Porter joined the Bluman team in the project planning phase bringing his 3d modelling and previsualisation expertise. A number of days were spend collaborating with the Bluman team on projector positions, lens ratios and cleaning up 3d models ready for use in d3 during the event.
Onsite Rich looked after the d3 system for Queen Victoria Square handling system setup, programming and projector alignment.
Event Organisers: Ground Control Technical Production: Bluman Associates Modeling, Previsualisation and d3 Programming: The Hive d3 Assistant: Michael Edwards Projectionists: Andy Joyes, Jim Fisher, Paul Moreland, Richard Jewell.
MTV EMAs 2016
This year's annual celebration of European Pop music was held in Rotterdam and hosted by Bebe Rexha.
Performances by Bebe Rexha, Martin, Garixx, DNCE, Bruno Mars, Shawn Mendes, Zara Larsson, The Kings of Leon, Lukas Graham, One Republic, and Green Day.
Julio Himde was responsible for the geometric set design, spanning 4 stages and housing 2500 Roe LED strips. The principle challenge in the video design was developing a system to map video across these strips that allowed for straightforward install and mapping without making it impossible for the content team to design for.
Video Production: Ogle Hog LED Screens: Faber Audiovisuals Project setup and Programming: The Hive E2 and Systems Engineering: Dicky Burford Assistant d3 Programmer: Dan Gray (QED Productions)
Es Devlin's Box of Miracles
The Hive's Rich Porter was approached by Es Devlin's Studio to collaborate on her gallery installation: Box of Miracles.
Box of Miracles main exhibition was in the C-Mine gallery in Genk, however it also made an appearance for an upcoming Netflix documentary The Art of Design and a scaled down version was presented (and projection mapped live on stage) at the Serpentine Sackler gallery as part of the Miracle Marathon.
Rich designed and built a video system based around the d3 media server that collected the physical data from the turntable the cube was sat on and used that to dynamically map the projection to the cube as it moved. This was not an easy task, and a fantastic challenge.
It was a great opportunity to work with Es and the team from her studio. Also to collaborate with Footprint Scenery and Andrea Cuius from Nocte, to name but a few of the amazing individuals and companies we got to know in the course of this project.
Expanding on the previous success of music events at Jodrell Bank visitor centre over the last 6 years a new festival was added to the calendar for 2016 called Bluedot. Billed as a festival of music, science, technology and the exploration of space and headlined by Underworld, Jean-Michel Jare and Caribou.
Bluman Associates were brought in to projection map the the Lovell Telescope with artwork curated by Brian Eno using his 77 Million Paintings software.
Bluman asked Rich Porter from the Hive to work on the project, taking on system engineering duties, interfacing with Eno's team to bring their servers into the projection system and map the telescope.
The Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth can trace it's history back 146 years. Following the announcement last year that they would be retiring the elephants to the Center for Elephant Conservation, Out of this World was a re-imagining of the circus. A storyline set in outer space performed on ice and combined the incredible performances by some of the top circus performers in the world.
Feld Entertainment, The company that owns Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey circus approached Rich Porter of the Hive to offer consultation on the video technologies for the show and to train the touring staff in the use of the d3 media servers and best practices for projector lineup.
As one of the biggest music stars in the world today, Beyonce needs little introduction, and it goes without saying that her live shows have a reputation as nothing short of spectacular. Timed to premiere just after the release of Lemonade, the performer’s most controversial, personal and innovative album to date, Formation was going to be Beyonce’s biggest tour yet. The all-stadium tour kicked off at Miami’s 37,000 capacity venue, Marlins Park – completely sold out, naturally – on April 27, and will be touring the world until October. Nearly one million tickets were sold in the first 48 hours of them being released.
Whilst the star of the show is obviously Beyonce, throughout the tour a second star is emerging and being hailed as a ‘game changer’ in the stadium touring scene – known as The Monolith, this 60 ft custom made structure with four LED video screen walls was the stage centrepiece, and something of a developing legend. Designed by Es Devlin, with technical video design from Stefaan “Smasher” Desmedt, it rotates at key moments in the show and opens up. Rich from The Hive worked as lead programmer for three weeks to build the show during rehearsals, and successfully making the first shows and the premiere in Miami a smooth operation for Queen Bey.
The show is programmed on d3, and uses two 4x4pro servers (main and backup), with 3 Quad DVI cards in each. The majority of the show is trigged using SMPTE being fed from the audio team. Whilst The Hive worked on the premiere, we had to ensure video programming moved quickly in order to keep up with changes, as the show developed musically and the choreography was honed. With such a huge video screen dwarfing the performers (including Beyonce herself!), bringing live camera to The Monolith was a big part of the concept, assuring all ticket buyers in the arena got their money’s worth with a great view of the show.
During this time, Dan Bond was brought in as assistant programmer, and Luke Halls as video lead, managing the content creation pipeline and liaising with the camera directors. To achieve flawless live video, we combined a few things; using Notch blocks designed to manipulate camera images live, deploying a traditional PPU system to manage the large camera shoot for the show, and a small number of ISO's, which fed into d3 and sequenced on the timeline. This allowed us to perfectly time choreographed shots to the beat, bringing in an aesthetic usually reserved for music videos, enhancing the slick performance on stage.
It was a real pleasure, and a great challenge, for The Hive to work on Formation, and be part of something new, daring and innovative.
The Hive also had the invaluable support of: Tim Routledge, PRG, d3, and Notch
Brit Awards 2016
The Brit Awards are the UK's biggest music awards, featuring and awarding some of the world's biggest music artists. This year's awards show ceremony saw acts such as Coldplay, Justin Bieber, James Bay, Rihanna, Little Mix, Lorde, The Weeknd and Adele performing and receiving awards, creating a spectacular live show, hosted by the ever-popular Ant and Dec. The show had an average of 5.8 million viewers on ITV.
The Hive were contracted by Ogle Hog during the pre-production phase of the project, to pre-visualise the awards show using d3 to check the LED pixel maps, made by Connie Glover (Ogle Hog), and test early runs of content. This allowed the creative teams were able to confirm their workflow and move forward with the main show design.
The set design, by Es Devlin, had a zoetrope inspired design made with a large number of LED hangs, some of which were on motorised headers. We used d3 to look at sightlines for the various screen positions. Using Notch, we designed blocks that took time slices from live camera to simulate and reflect the effect of a zoetrope, which was used during winner walk up and acceptance, creating a strong atmosphere for the winners. On site, we deployed six d3 servers - four 4x4 Pro and two v2.5. This was fed into a huge fiber distribution system, provided by QED Productions.
It was a pleasure to be part of the team behind the Brit Awards Ceremony – a musical institution and a key date in UK live events.
The BRITs 2016 in 2 minutes | The BRIT Awards 2016
Nike Rise 2.0
Nike Rise is a reality TV show, seeing teenage basketball players in China pitted against each other, in order to find the rising stars of Chinese basketball. The two winners spent time at a US basketball academy, trained by top coaches. It was the first social basketball show to be made, watched by millions every week, tapping into a sport-mad teenage audience in the most densely populated country in the world.
The Hive were employed by Artisan, who has been bought on board by AKQA. The brief for Nike Rise was to create a next generation training tool for basketball – something new, innovative and never-been-done-before, and it’s fair to say that between us, we smashed it. An LED basketball court was created, which reacted to the players movements and interacted with an iPad app their coach controlled. The coach could develop drills to be used within the reactive court, which would appear on the floor of the court exactly as the coach drew them on the iPad. It also measured players’ speed and accuracy on the court. Watch the video below to really get an idea for how impressive this creation was – it’s a seen to be believed kind of project.
Rich from The Hive operated as technical director for the project, which as one might imagine was a huge undertaking. Starting with surveying and selecting the best venue, he then went on to oversee a large team of incredibly talented engineers, coders, and artists, to deliver this brilliantly complex show. The results speak for themselves – Rich coordinated a team that produced something genuinely ground-breaking, and a real first. What was created for Nike Rise has opened up potential for technology in basketball training like never before – quite literally, a game changing project.
Lumiere is a festival of light run by Arteechoke, originally starting in Durham in 2015, and coming to London in early 2016. Rich from the Hive has a special glow in his heart for Lumiere, having worked on previous festivals and thinking, quite frankly, that it’s a pretty damn cool festival. London’s largest ever light festival was visited by approximately one million people, and consisted of thirty light installations across the city; it was a spectacle London was proud of.
The Hive was asked to join London Lumiere by QED Productions to run six projectors and two of d3's, for a projection mapping piece created by Novak Collective and projected onto the BAFTA building in London’s West End. A few challenging lampposts later, we managed to successfully help project some of the UK’s best loved film and TV stars onto the building. Watch a video of the installation here.
The Heart of the Sea
In the Heart of the Sea is a 2015 film starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy and Brendan Gleeson, and is the story of a ship’s sinking by a giant whale in 1820 – the story that inspired Moby Dick. To advertise the launch of the film, Rich from The Hive spent a chilly December day aboard the ship used in the film. Mounting a projector on the bow of the ship, we projected content and logos from the film on the sails, as we cruised up the Thames from Tilbury Docks and into central London, hoping not to be sunk by a whale. There’s probably not many video programming companies who can say Tower Bridge has opened up for them. The Hive were bought aboard by Bluman Associates, to help with projector rigging, system engineering and programing of a Catalyst media server system. It was a really fun, unusual project to work on, despite the cold and irrational but constant fear of whale attack.
Junior Eurovision 2015
Junior Eurovision 2015 was held in Sofia, Bulgaria, and follows in it’s older sibling’s footsteps with the same premise; bringing together Europe’s future young stars to compete to be crowned Eurovision winner. Seventeen countries took part, with entrants aged 8-15. It was watched by 1.1 million people in Bulgaria alone, and streamed online across the world. It is as bright, fun and entertaining as you might expect from one of the world’s most well-known music contests, and was host to some very impressive talent. The Hive were bought in to engineer the video playback system. The set consisted of three huge LED screens, which made up the backdrop to the stage, and three equally huge rings that extended out from the stage, also covered in LED screens. The server system was Catalyst running on four Mac Pros - two main and two back up - which were being triggered from the lighting desk at front of house. The stage screens fed into a Spyder system for seamless handover to backups, and the outputs to the rings sat on a matrix for switchover. The Hive handled the onsite engineering and content management for the servers. Much of our energy was put into creating 'Exact Maps', particularly for managing the custom mappings required for the rings, and eventually we wrote python scripts for calculating exact map coordinates, which streamlined the process and made things more efficient. It was an exciting project for us to work on and felt like a truly international collaborative effort we really enjoyed being part of.