Christie Transforms Vancouver Bridge into Virtual Ocean

Christie® and Applied Electronics are bringing the annual salmon run to Vancouver’s Cambie Street Bridge in a striking projection mapping display for Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations. With content provided by Canada Wild Productions and using eight Christie 3DLP® projectors, the attraction, titled ‘Uninterrupted,’ opened June 28 and runs into early fall. The cinematic spectacle celebrates British Columbia’s annual salmon run, which sees millions of salmon migrate from the Pacific Ocean to their spawning grounds.

The film’s director, Nettie Wild, wanted the film to strike an emotional chord with an urban audience. But she realized she couldn’t project on most of the city’s buildings, which are glass. She and her editor, Michael Brockington, then cycled around the city and stopped by Coopers’ Park, part of which runs under the Cambie Street Bridge – and knew they had their spot.

“The Cambie Street Bridge has a perfect viewing area where people can see down the length of the bridge and get the idea of a river,” said Betsy Carson of Canada Wild Productions. “We were looking at filming with five projectors in a 180-degree rig, which would allow us to bring the images over top of the audience and behind them on the pillars behind the playground area where they are viewing it from.

Chief technologist Anthony Diehl of Colours & Shapes said the Cambie Street Bridge was also chosen for its minimalist and clean, modern design. “It is really an exciting surface to work with,” he added, “and we used that minimalism in the mapping.”

However, unlike many projection-mapping projects that use tailor-made, computer generated content, the Cambie Street Bridge project would show the natural world without creating the fish digitally and controlling their movement.

“The fundamental challenge we had to figure out was how to tell a story using that bridge as your canvas. When you think of projection mapping still as an emerging medium and art form, a lot of what has been done, has been digitally generated content but we’re looking at it as, ‘How do we get them a canvas they can work with that still works with this style of filmmaking?’ – it’s easier said than done,” said Diehl.

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