Whether 3D projection mapping onto the Hollywood sign for Black Entertainment Television or an active Delta IV Heavy rocket on a Cape Canaveral launchpad, the creative technologists at Los Angeles-based PaintScaping know how to grab an audience’s attention with large-scale visuals.
The company has transformed Canada’s Victoria Harbor into Santa’s workshop, projection mapped the background of the “This Is What You Came For” music video starring Rihanna (which has more than 2.6B YouTube views), and earned the Guinness World Record for Largest Projected Videogame Display, among other achievements. To bring these supersized projects to life, the PaintScaping team relies on a significant technical backend, often comprising AJA FiDO fiber Mini-Converters, to move signals as workflows shift towards 4K.
Each PaintScaping project approach varies technically, given that projection mapping is inherently bespoke to the location. The setup also depends on whether the installation will be temporary or permanent. Typically, projects require 4-10 projectors, although the team has used as many as 28 projectors simultaneously. Once the scope has been defined, the PaintScaping team creates a 3D model of the projection mapping target using photogrammetry, and that’s used to select the point of view from which to render the effects. From there, artists begin the animation process, build storyboards, then bake the content. During projections, converters are essential to routing signals.
“We rely on AJA FiDO fiber Mini-Converters to move from HDMI and SDI between the media server and the projector; they’re really useful and reliable,” said Mike Cianciola, PaintScaping’s Vice President of Operations.
While 1080 HD has been standard in the projector space for many years, 4K is gaining wider adoption. Some installations are designed for people to get closer to the projections, requiring higher resolution imagery to minimize pixel visibility. With this in mind, Cianciola has implemented 4K 60p as PaintScaping’s commercial standard. It ensures the team is accustomed to navigating complex workflows, including managing data-rich files, factoring in render times, and moving final deliverables across the internet.
“We use AJA FiDO 12Gs with tactical fiber to reliably move 4K signals more than 300-feet distances; they are perfect for that,” explained Cianciola. For playback, PaintScaping leverages MadMapper, Disguise, and Alcorn McBride servers, and commonly used creative tools include Autodesk Maya and Maxon Cinema 4D, with some Epic Games’ Unreal Engine.
As a self-proclaimed gear enthusiast, Ciancola is always on the hunt for interesting technologies and how he can incorporate them into his workflows. He discovered the AJA OG-X-FR openGear frame when installing a recent project, and found it to be one of his favorite equipment purchases.
“The reliability and redundancy AJA gear provides just can’t be beat,” concluded Ciancola. “There’s an understanding that in event production it’s nearly impossible to balance quality, speed, and price – you’ll have to compromise in one area. We try to bridge those elements as much as possible to create projects affordably, fast, and with high quality, which is one of the many reasons why AJA products are always present in our workflows.”
About AJA FiDO Optical Fiber Solutions
AJA FiDO Mini-Converters offer unmatched flexibility and cost efficiency for 12G-SDI, 6G-SDI, and 3G-SDI Fiber conversion, allowing for long cable runs up to 10km for single mode FiDOs and up to 700m (2296ft) for OM4 and 300m (984ft) for OM3 multi-mode fiber optic cables when using models with optional multi-mode SFPs. FiDO converters use a compact, low profile enclosure that works well in tight spaces around and behind equipment racks, trucks and on camera. www.aja.com/products/fido
About AJA OG-X-FR
openGear is an open-architecture, modular frame system designed by Ross Video and supported by a diverse range of terminal equipment manufacturers, including AJA. The AJA OG-X-FR is a 2RU high openGear frame which is compatible with any openGear card and offers Dashboard support for the latest AJA Dashboard compatible openGear cards. The frame has a 20-slot capacity with excellent cooling capabilities for high-density applications and compatibility with advanced openGear connectivity options for supported cards. www.aja.com/products/og-x-fr
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