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Visual & Lighting
Thousands of festival-goers experienced the uniquely interactive audio-visual environment of the Samsung Hypercube as part of Samsung’s S8 phone UK launch this summer. The Samsung Hypercube toured its mind-boggling ‘360 Infinity Selfie’ Experience to Boardmasters, Bestival and Reading festivals, with Avolites’ Ai media control at the heart of its complex technical infrastructure.
Containing a reflective panelled interior separated by strips of colour changing LED and a 27m x 1m continuous wrap-around LED video screen, the Hypercube immersed audiences into a 360° infinite display of light and colour. Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 smartphone acted as a control interface allowing visitors to influence the cube’s audio and infinite visual effects created through its multiple reflective surfaces.
“We were tasked with delivering the technology and functionality to make the concept of the project’s developers, Iris Worldwide, and its creative director, Ross Cairns, a reality,” says Ben Stern of GaiaNova Productions, the company that managed the technical production of the Hypercube.
Working with a number of collaborators, GaiaNova developed the Hypercube’s integrated, automated playback system using Avolites Ai media server software. The company’s creative partner Immersive developed the consumer-facing applications including the interactivity control app, sign up app as well as the control system apps for hosts. Immersive also developed the back-end system for the upload and distribution of media to the audience who took part.
In addition, there was a 360° camera setup with a back-end system for live stitching the images from multiple cameras, provided by Focal Point VR.
Stern says, “The whole system was controlled by hosts within the space. The control app sent triggers to audio playback which then sent MIDI over IP commands to Ai and to the 360° camera stitching/record system to create the video and still media. Our team even automated the upload process with another MIDI cue from audio playback using a little macro program called TinyTask.” A 12-channel ambisonic sound system designed by Pedro Zaz and supplied by C3 Productions.
The project was built using Ai version 10 software, while onsite GaiaNova used Avolites Miami dongles to run Ai on high spec custom-built laptops that the company maintains as part of its hire stock. The show used 2 Ai outputs, one for the LED ‘Video Flex’ system provided by Light Initiative which divided the mirror sections and another for the LED screen panels provided by Video Illusions.
Stern says, “We were able to use the UV mapping/3D visualiser in Ai to demo the content to the client and help them understand different looks, both prior to the project and onsite during the installation. It also helped us to size the playback media efficiently within a standard video clip size.”
The team also had the opportunity to ‘play’ with the system, as Stern explains. “A number of new ideas were introduced during the tour, including a ‘party’ where, instead of playing back a single edited video to accompany a track, we were asked to VJ. We were able to produce a series of VJ clips, attach a MIDI controller and VJ the show.”
On another occasion, at Bestival, it was decided to use the Hypercube to shoot a music video for Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes. “We were able to add new content and slave the Ai to timecode from our audio playback system, allowing the music video production team to have tight playback of the content for multiple takes,” says Stern.
He adds, “It was also great that Light Initiative used Ai as part of their workflow, allowing us to interface simply with their custom LED control system.” Asked about Avolites’ renowned technical support, Stern says, “We didn’t need any for this project! We regularly use Ai and support others with their projects. In fact, GaiaNova has been using Ai since its early development.”