Global tech giant Barco wanted to close out the recent CinemaCon show in a big way, and highlight its projection technology at the same time.
So the company turned the facade of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas into a giant canvas, using 3D projections to transform the building into a captivating show for its corporate-sponsored closing party.
Smyrna, Tenn.-based projection expert DWP Live and Orlando, Fla.-based content developer Monster Media 3D collaborated on the eye-snaring project that turned the building facade into a four-minute light and sound show, replete with dragons, dancers and the building appearing to crumble before onlookers' eyes.
Coming at the close of CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, the display was an important branding opportunity for Barco. To display the content, DWP Live used 12 Barco HDX-W18 projectors to provide crisp images and deep colors at ultra-high resolutions, to enhance the dynamic 3D effects. Coolux Pandora's Box Media Server Pro Servers were used to coordinate the projectors.
The crowd watching the light show can be heard cheering after the display finished its run in a YouTube video of the event (watch below):
The show represented another kind of digital out-of-home advertisement, one that has been more common in Europe, but seems to be catching on stateside. Projecting animations that appear to be three dimensional onto the side of a building at night creates a festive atmosphere and has a "wow-factor" that builds a heightened brand awareness.
"It's really limitless. It's kind of up to your imagination as to what you can really do," said Danny Whetstone of DWP, or Danny Whetstone Productions, in a recent interview. "And to be able to do that and to do it accurately onto a facade of a building just really adds a lot of depth — and I think it sticks in people's minds a lot more than maybe walking by a traditional billboard type thing or a plasma screen or whatever. You're going to stick in there for a lot longer."
This type of project is information and technology intensive, since the entire facade has to be mapped in a computer in three dimensions, and the content has to be designed to fit the contours of the building precisely, to make certain the images appear real. The content also has to be designed to fit the angle of the projectors and loaded onto them and tested to ensure alignment with the actual building facade.
But for companies looking to launch a product or reposition themselves in the market and appeal to a different demographic, "it's really a good way to announce yourself," said John Payne, president and co-owner of Monster Media and Monster Media 3D.
"It really creates a centerpoint of interest for people to come and see something that's big and diverse and never been done before, so i think that has a value," Payne said. "Buildings are a really good way to go because of the dynamic nature of it, and it's not overly commercialized so it's typically got some really unique theatrics and creative built into it that really gives you those oohs and aahs."
Big projection productions such as these also tend to have a significant viral aspect, with videos passed around on YouTube and social media sites extending the reach of the event as well, he said.
Both Payne and Whetstone said they expect to see more projects like this in the U.S.
"If you look at the digital landscape ... I just look at it as, it's just a much bigger piece of canvas that you can create something on," Payne said. "It's not always about the brand and the image, it's about the artwork and the creativity, so you can do some really dynamic things."
The Barco project is part of laying the groundwork for that expansion of 3D projections, Whetstone said.
"I think we're going to see that happen (the spread of similar projects in the U.S.) as time goes on," he said. "So it's all up to everybody now to be more creative than the next guy, because the technology is coming together pretty quickly."