Interested in viewing a luxury penthouse suite at London’s South Bank Tower but hampered by the fact that the spaces are still under construction?

INITION came up with a solution in the form of blending together 10 full HD projectors with synchronous 10 channel playback – located on the ground floor marketing suite – giving prospective buyers a realistic, 360° panoramic representation of what they might expect to see from the high value, premium apartments on the upper levels.

“This project came about due to a combination of an existing relationship and INITION’s reputation for producing extraordinary experiences,” Stuart Cupit, technical director and co-founder of INITION, tells CE Pro Europe.

“The show apartment is situated on the lower floors of the tower, however, the building’s key selling point are the views which are not yet accessible as the upper floors are still under construction.”

To remedy this, global marketing events agency, L3 Creative Projects tasked INTITION with finding a way to deliver a unique panoramic installation that would bring the stunning penthouse views to the state-of-the-art marketing suite at ground level.

INITION was given timelapse footage with which the company recreated the impressive views from the building’s upper levels using a huge rear projection display.

“This installation was technically challenging and ambitious,” Stuart reflects. “L3 Creative Projects custom designed a 1:1 mock-up of the show apartment’s window façade which would provide the area upon which the timelapse and real-time footage was to be projected. This simulated the experience of looking out of the windows from the upper levels of the building.”

For the projection itself, INITION integrated five Harkness Translite Grey rear projection surfaces mounted on custom built-frames (creating a 14m wide and 9600 x 2060 pixels surface) into the ‘window’.

However, the 15m x 3m space available for the control room was located behind the window façade and was extremely narrow, resulting in a short throw distance of less than 2m.

“The entire concept of recreating the upper floor views whilst in the ground floor show apartment is, in our opinion, especially innovative”

“With this in mind, we selected 10 HD Canon XEED WUX400ST digital media projectors which overcome this issue,” says Stuart. “At the time of the project’s installation, these projectors were the first to arrive in the UK.”

To ensure frame synchronisation between all 10 projectors, INITION integrated the use of 10 Brightsign XD230 networked media players.

Crestron software was also installed to control and monitor the projectors, whilst iPads were equipped with Brightsign Author and PJlink software, respectively, to allow the client to wirelessly alternate between different views and sequences and control the projectors remotely.

Using an iPad, staff can now show Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest views, morning, daytime or night time, as well as dusk to dawn timelapse sequences capturing London’s iconic skyline.

Finally, a NUC PC was used to control the whole system via a dedicated network.

Stuart reveals that each of the products used were chosen due to the very specific requirements of the unique install. “We were aiming for a completely seamless user experience, with the only piece of technology visible being the interactive iPads used in the show apartment,” he explains.

The 14m wide, 9600 x 2060 pixel resolution, custom rear-projection display is as close to the actual view as is possible to achieve.

Challenges

“The idea of creating the apartment views virtually on this scale was really interesting,” says Stuart. “The entire concept of recreating the upper floor views whilst in the ground floor show apartment is, in our opinion, especially innovative. Added to that is the high-resolution near-panoramic footage and the multiple short throw rear projector setup, which together produced the realistic experience in the show apartment.

“The key challenge was fitting the projectors into the very narrow space behind the rear projection windows. This space was criss-crossed with service ducts and structural supports, so each projector setup needed to be individually customised to fill the window view using lense shifting and digital warping”

“The key challenge was fitting the projectors into the very narrow space behind the rear projection windows. This space was criss-crossed with service ducts and structural supports, so each projector setup needed to be individually customised to fill the window view using lense shifting and digital warping.”

Now that the project is complete, Stuart reveals that INITION’s favourite aspect is the seamlessness the team achieved with the projection and the way the work blended into the surrounds of the show apartment.

“It was fantastic to work on such an impressive experience and push projection technology to its limits,” he enthuses. “The view is truly remarkable and really gives you the sensation that you’re standing in the penthouse apartment.”

Crucially, the client is a happy customer: “We had wanted to create this experience back in 2013 when we took the South Bank Tower project to Asia, but at that time the hardware didn’t exist,” reflects Steve Comerford, executive creative director of L3.

“INITION are major players in the immersive experience arena and like L3 have huge passion for new tech. Canon XEED WUX400ST was the answer and INITION pulled hardware off the production line to enable delivery of the concept. The L3/INITION collaboration has resulted in a stunning experience exceeding client expectations.”

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