Southampton's WestQuay light show has become the first event to take advantage of the very latest in high brightness, low power laser projection technology. Created for event producers The Fair, with animations by NOVAK and soundtrack by Ed Carter, the projection show is part of Luminate Southampton, celebrating key moments in Southampton's history and also taking a look into its future.

Commenting on some of the challenges and innovations on the project, QED Director Paul Wigfield said "The projection surface is a 1,000 year old wall situated in the most brightly lit of city centre locations, so being able to deploy the world's highest brightness low power projectors was undoubtedly the most important factor in achieving success. To give a sense of scale of the challenge we're actually outputting the same amount of light that we previously used to projection map an entire island.

Being a new development, and with no opportunity to conduct any advance testing, we had to plan the job around using 30k lumen projectors. We decided to use a mixture of Panasonic RZ31K laser projectors and Christie 4K30 Boxers in portrait orientation in order to best focus the light output on the walls and the two towers. It's a lovely development and a really great space but it's not exactly that helpful for video projection, so we just needed immense brightness for the content to be able to shine through the environmental lighting."

As has now become the benchmark standard in large scale projection mapping a d3 4x4pro server and QED fibre system provided the backbone to the installation, and a d&b V series sound system using wireless transmission and iPad control delivered Ed Carter's soundtrack.

The WestQuay Light show also saw the first outdoor usage of QED's new KVM Xtreme - a waterproof monitor and KVM fibre system specifically developed to enable projection mapping line-ups to be done in the rain. Power, signal and control are all delivered via one hybrid fibre cable with protective circuitry that only activates power when the system is fully connected. Simply place the monitor, keyboard and mouse wherever you need, regardless of the distance, then you line up the show just as if you had the servers right next to you. After so many years of battling with the elements QED has simply decided to embrace them. Like the show itself, the line-up "must go on" and the KVM Xtreme enables it to happen "whatever the weather".

The creative challenges were also quite pioneering as the projection not only covers the wall and the towers but also hits the ground in front of it. Paul Wigfield said "We couldn't resist trying to take advantage of the elevated viewing positions from the Esplanade, so we decided to highlight the connection between the ancient wall and the new public piazza by also projecting onto the ground in order to create an extended content area. Every time we work with NOVAK we seem to provide ever more interesting and challenging UV templates and they always rise to the challenge. Working closely with the developers Hammerson, The Fair has created an amazing new public space that Southampton can truly be proud of".

QED Key Personnel

Paul Wigfield
Dave Voyce
Dan Gray
Mike Snarr
Harry Ricardo
Mark Harris


Event Magazine article

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