Having been chosen as London's first ever Borough of Culture Waltham Forest kicked the year off in real style with a spectacular festival of light and sound that took over the streets for three days in January.

Working with artists Greenaway & Greenaway, QED transformed Waltham Forest Town Hall for 'Into the Forest', a high energy film that tells the story of the borough through the eyes of Waltham Forest's diverse communities. Greenaway & Greenaway collaborated with Mercury Music Prize-winning musician and producer Talvin Singh on the soundtrack, bringing the sounds of drum and bass back to one of the areas where the genre first began in the early 1990s.

"The Town Hall is an extraordinarily impressive art-deco style building set in spectacular grounds, so we were most keen to exploit its full potential and to totally transform it" said QED Director Paul Wigfield. "We decided to use twelve Panasonic 30,000 lumen RZ31K projectors running in portrait mode to cover the front faces of the building, as well as all three visible sides of the clock tower." Extremely precise projector placement and 3D modelling was required to enable full coverage of all the different surfaces in order to fill in the area behind the central columns. By separating the columns and the facade in the template design QED was able to create a seamless canvas for the imagery to flow across, whilst still allowing content to wrap around the pillars.

Four 6m high projection towers were positioned at the opposite end of the site to the building with all the projectors cross-shooting in order to avoid the multitude of lamp-posts, trees and structures that would otherwise have blocked the projection beams. QED's Head of Digital Media Harry Ricardo remarked "It's such a great building to project onto and having a full 3D scan of it and the surrounding area allowed us to figure out the optimal positions for our projectors well in advance. We designed the template to allow Greenaway & Greenaway to really make the most of the architectural features and to play with its form. It is really exciting to be a part of an event on this scale which has been so well received by the community."

The projection line-up had to be incredibly precise, and with many different angles and faces to map QED's KVM Xtreme fibre system for the disguise media server line-up really came into its own, enabling full control of the media servers from anywhere on the site. With the projectors being situated so far away from the building it was critical to be able to get up close to it for the line-up.

"Into the Forest" was preceded in the programme by another projection piece specially created for Waltham Borough of Culture by Addictive TV. Based upon their pioneering "Orchestra of Samples" a large number of local musicians from across the borough playing all manner of instruments were recorded, sampled and put together to create a new piece of music, which was then projected onto the town hall as if they were actually playing together.

Comments on Twitter gave the flavour of the event...

"Amazing video mapping by QED Productions at the Walthamstow Assembly. Top job guys!!"

"Is it me or isn't this the most engaging and mesmerising audio-visual display you've seen on this scale??? What a powerful message! What a fantastic display! What imagination and conception! What perfect delivery!"

"#WelcometotheForest and to the launch of @WFculture19! What an incredible installation on the Town Hall. We are looking forward to the see what other creative events London's first Borough of Culture has to offer."

"The 'top shelf of London' - Waltham Forest on the map at launch of #wfculture19. I got properly choked up as the massive projection showed the 215, a bus I used to catch as a kid. Amazing start to the year."

"Loved #WelcometotheForest opening @WFculture19 . Very proud to live in this diverse, inclusive and creative community #TheNest was spectacular and @IntoTheForestWF & @AddictiveTV inspiring. Brilliant atmosphere #Walthamstow #WalthamForest"

"Genuinely moved by the brilliance of the opening show of @WFculture19. Such an inspiring visual collaboration and so much local creativity at the forefront. #WelcometotheForest"

"Omg that blew us away ♥ #wfculture19 @WFculture19 #WelcometotheForest a Borough I'm so proud to be a part of ♥ the streets are filled with families and party vibes LOVE IT #walthamstow #WalthamForest"

Welcome to the Forest

Created by: Sam Hunt, Creative Director of London Borough of Culture 2019
Executive Producer: Niccy Hallifax

External links

Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019
Greenaway & Greenaway
Addictive TV

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