The first piece, Fires Ancient, lit up the southern and eastern sides of the dome of St Paul's Cathedral with a fiery projection, echoing the devastating impact of the Great Fire of London and the birth of the building designed by Christopher Wren that emerged from the ashes. To cover the dome with continuous imagery QED deployed six Christie Boxer 4K30 projectors which were positioned on three separate rooftop locations and linked together via long range wireless HD transmission. To achieve synchronicity and to produce the flowing flame effect covering 220 degrees of the dome QED chose to play back the content from a d3 4x4pro media server fitted with the new SDI video format conversion output cards.
"The integrity of the links were fundamental to the success of the project, so we were delighted that the connections were rock-solid throughout the week" said QED Director Paul Wigfield. "Also, some of the projection angles were extremely acute and the way in which the light hit the dome from these different positions made stitching together the seamless canvas one of the biggest challenges".
On the other side of the river, the second piece, Fires Modern, projected text and flames onto the National Theatre's Lyttelton Flytower, revealing stories of resurgence and change that have shaped the capital city since 1666, marking the end of medieval London and helping to create the modern metropolis that we know today. In order to deliver the projection QED chose to use two 30,000 lumen Christie Boxers - the highest quality and brightest single-phase projectors in the world.
The Great Fire of London destroyed the homes of at least 70,000 people, as well as workshops, warehouses and port facilities. Fires were a regular occurrence in seventeenth century London. There was no fire brigade, just a militia who would respond and there was a reliance on the community's own knowledge and abilities. Only six deaths were officially attributed to the fire, though the unrecorded dead left few discernible traces, and there are no figures for the deaths of people made vulnerable by displacement.
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QED Key Personnel