QED was appointed by Glasgow City Council and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau to produce three breath-taking projection pieces to mark the start of the 2014 MTV European Music Awards in Glasgow and also to commemorate 100 years since the outbreak of World War One.

Two specially themed projections were produced for Glasgow City Council's City Chambers Building in George Square and the third brought the Finnieston Crane to life in a spectacular array of colour, intricately mapped to the iconic structure.

Glasgow City Chambers

For the City Chambers, even though the subject matter could not have been more different, the same infrastructure and technical equipment was used for both events, and so QED had to create two completely different UV templates for each artist.

The first projection, specially created by Found Studio for MTV, used the architecture of the ornate building to create a unique pop video for Labrinth's comeback single "Let it Be". It was a true one-off creative piece, utilising the very latest in 3D projection mapping technology whilst deliberately avoiding the use of any conventional or clichéd mapping effects. The second, commissioned by Glasgow City Council and created by Ross Ashton and Karen Monid, was a 30-minute commemoration telling the stories of Glaswegians who died during the First World War.

Whilst the creative challenges were very different, the main technical challenges were largely the same: The biggest challenge was simply how to cover to the entirety of the City Chambers, avoiding not only the large war memorial but also the multitude of trees and lamp-posts that occupy George Square. Although there had previously been projections onto the City Chambers this was the first and only time that the entire building had been fully projected upon, and it required an incredible amount of ingenuity and fine logistical planning to make it possible.

A 10.5m wide by 8.5m high 3-storey glass-fronted tower was erected in the centre of George Square to house technical control and most of the projectors, with two of QED's mobile projection pods being deployed at close distance in order to cover the lower sections of the building that would have otherwise been obscured by the war memorial.

The size of the building with its dark stone, and the large amount of ambient light produced by the streetlights and surrounding buildings, meant that a very high level of brightness was required for the projections to be fully effective. In total twenty-two 20,000 lumen HD projectors were used to cover the whole building - more projectors than QED needed to deploy to cover an entire island off the coast of Jersey only a month earlier.

According to QED Director, Paul Wigfield, Glasgow City Chambers presented a particularly unique challenge. "When first visiting George Square all I could see were trees and lamp-posts , so it was clear from the outset that trying to achieve full coverage would be incredibly complex and that the projector placement would be absolutely critical."

QED's Head of Digital Media, Dan Gray, was tasked with solving the puzzle and preparing the UV templates for both sets of artists with Technical Production Manager, Dave Voyce, being responsible for the technical infrastructure.

All the projectors in the main tower and those close to the front of the City Chambers were linked by QED's specialised fibre-optic system. Because all equipment near to the war memorial had to be removed for Remembrance Day and reinstalled immediately afterwards QED deployed specialist fibre optic multi-cores so that equipment could be disconnected and removed within the tight timeframe, whilst still leaving the fibre infrastructure in-situ for speedy reconnection.

The content was pre-visualised and played back on-site using two of QED's new d3 4x4pro media servers - the first units in the UK - providing a total of thirteen synchronous HD outputs.

Projection Equipment
22 x Christie HD18K 3-chip DLP 20,000 lumen video projectors
4 x Panasonic DZ21K 3-chip 20,000 lumen video projectors
2 x d3 4x4pro media servers
2 x d3 v2.5 media servers
1 x Lightware 32x32 DVI matrix switcher
1 x QED 15-channel DVI/Ethernet fibre-optic distribution system.

Key QED Personnel
Paul Wigfield, Project Consultant
Dan Gray, Project Designer & d3 Operator
Dave Voyce, Technical Production Manager
Harry Ricardo, Senior AV Technician

Finnieston Crane

The Finnieston Crane (also known as the Stobcross Crane) is one of Glasgow's most iconic sights. Standing 175ft high on the banks of the river Clyde it is the largest of the five remaining cranes and is retained as a potent symbol of the city's engineering heritage.

To coincide with the MTV European Music Awards ceremony at the SSE Hydro MTV and the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau asked QED to produce a memorable display to light up the Crane for the night of the awards.

In complete contrast to George Square, the SECC site provides many good places to project from however the challenges posed by the Crane were completely unique. The most obvious problem was the lack of structure compared to the amount of clear air space around it.

QED Director Paul Wigfield commented "We knew from the outset that in order to achieve something spectacular it had to be very bright, especially as more pixels and light would be missing the structure than would actually be hitting it. There were so many possibilities and decisions to be made so we spent a long time discussing all the options with the content designers NOVAK and with MTV's creative team. In the end we decided to concentrate on the viewpoints from across the Clyde and to hit it with twenty 20,000 lumen projectors from a projection point outside STV so that the Hydro and the SECC became the backdrop."

"We UV mapped the crane in every conceivable way so that we could have control over the light spillage that naturally fell onto the rear girders of the structure. Without doubt these were the most complex UV maps we have ever had to produce, however in the end we chose one of the more simple templates and decided to leave it to the skill of the projectionists on-site led by QED's Technical Manager, Dan Hall."

"We pretty much knew how Glasgow City Chambers would look as we were dealing with a large solid surface, albeit incredibly detailed and intricate, however with the Crane it was very much down to taking a leap of faith and sticking with our belief that it would look brilliant if we were able to throw enough light onto it and to control the enormous amount of overspill" said Wigfield.

Projection Equipment
18 x Christie HD18K 3-chip DLP 20,000 lumen video projectors
4 x d3 v2.5 media servers
1 x Lightware 32x32 DVI matrix switcher
1 x QED 15-channel DVI/Ethernet fibre-optic distribution system.

Key QED Personnel
Paul Wigfield, Project Consultant
Dan Gray, Project Designer
Dan Hall, Lead Projectionist and d3 Operator
Mike Snarr, Projectionist
Dave Voyce, Technical Production Manager

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