Hot on the heels of our inaugural edition, Definition Live spring issue 2 capitalises on the latest live event technologies and advances shown at ISE Europe. With features dedicated to cutting-edge, large-format LED; advanced projection-mapping products and solutions; plus the latest in immersive audio tech.
ISSUE 02 DEFINITIONMAGAZINE.COM
NAB 2023 PREVIEW HIGHLIGHTS FROM ISE
POWERING TOMORROW’S EVENT TECHNOLOGY
Uncovering the disruptive potential of microLED
ACOUSTIC IMMERSION HOW OBJECT-BASED AUDIO IS POWERING NEXT-GEN EVENTS PHYSICAL Let’s get The evolution of projection mapping, from interactive surfaces to colossal landmarks
04 INTRODUCTION Physical spaces go interactive 06 HOLDING COURT What you saw and what you might have missed at ISE 10 IT’S A SIN Things to expect at NAB’s 100th birthday bash 14 THE $50 BILLION OPPORTUNITY Disruptive technology microLED is making its mark 20 SCRATCH THE SURFACE How buildings and landmarks are modern day canvases 29 HEARING IS BELIEVING Audio connects audience with artist
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MEDIA PARTNERS & SUPPORTERS OF
DESIGN DESIGN DIRECTOR Andy Jennings
DESIGNER AND AD PRODUCTION Man-Wai Wong JUNIOR DESIGNER Hedzlynn Kamaruzzaman
ACTING EDITOR Robert Shepherd CHIEF SUB EDITOR Matthew Winney SUB EDITOR Ben Gawne JUNIOR SUB EDITOR Lori Hodson CONTRIBUTOR Adrian Pennington & Kevin Emmott
Definition Live is published by Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge CB22 3HJ. No part of this magazine can be used without prior written permission of Bright Publishing Ltd. Definition Live is a registered trademark of Bright Publishing Ltd. The advertisements published in Definition Live that have been written, designed or produced by employees of Bright Publishing Ltd remain the copyright of Bright Publishing Ltd and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Prices quoted in sterling, euros and US dollars are street prices, without tax, where available or converted using the exchange rate on the day the magazine went to press.
PUBLISHING MANAGING DIRECTORS Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck
3. APRIL 2023
INTRODUCTION. ARE YOU EXPERIENCED?
ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? INTRODUCTION.
Physical spaces go interactive
Immersive experiences present a new way to engage
WORDS. Adrian Pennington
C reative use of light, images puppetry to phantasmagoria shows with magic lanterns. During the technological revolution of the 19th century, projection was introduced to the wider public in movie screenings. With the arrival of television, then the home cinema, audience expectations grew and the entertainment industry moved inexorably towards more immersive experiences. The Walt Disney Company was a pioneer in the use of projectors to bring stories to life in a unique and immersive way. In the sixties, images of human and canvas can be found in the earliest examples of storytelling entertainment, from shadow faces were projected onto animatronics in Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride to make the lifeless busts look animated. Since, projection mapping has found its way into applications spanning advertising, concerts, immersive museum exhibitions, theatre staging, gaming, trade shows, decorations – any environment where you want to engage and compel large crowds, even from a distance. As technology and projectors became more powerful, so has the ambition of designers. With audiences craving the social element of a shared experience, projection mapping is moving to its next evolution – which involves the audience themselves shaping the event. Sensors, IR scanning and gesture recognition, among other tools, are being integrated to create multisensory environments influenced by guest interaction. Installation artists have historically created immersive and multisensory experiences, pulling viewers into their alternate realities. Now they have a slate of new technologies at their disposal to heighten these experiences, blurring the lines between physical and digital realms. Haptics (scent and touch), augmented reality viewed via mobile screens and immersive audio are other key elements to transforming the physical. Indeed, spatial soundscapes for some cutting- edge experiences are just as psychedelic as the artwork.
According to the latest Tech Trends Report from the Future Today Institute, although traditionally not thought of as a technology, physical spaces are becoming more hybrid, giving artists free rein on the built environment and resulting in adaptable experiences for viewers. For instance, Disney recently partnered with Lighthouse Immersive to launch a live experience that celebrates several iconic animated franchises. Lasting 60 to 90 minutes, the exhibit allows guests to interact with displays and get immersed in projections and screens that depict how an animated film is created. Architect Chafik Gasmi told the FTI report that, when physical spaces become dynamic or hybrid, then shops, restaurants, museums, theatres and hotels must no longer be separate entities; they can become fully integrated experiences. Interactive spaces will no longer be inert, but must change with frequency to keep people engaged. As the physical spaces we occupy become more adaptive, they will usher in new forms of entertainment and ways for it to be consumed. Zoos, aquariums and museums must evolve in order to hold the attention of visitors who expect interactivity. Augmented reality lets visitors become part of the show, making educational components more entertaining – and therefore more absorbing. Competition will be fierce, though. What kid wouldn’t want to see 35ft holographic dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum?
LIGHT UP THE NIGHT Advancements in projection and audio technology are unlocking new ways to create installations
05. APRIL 2023
INDUSTRY. ISE REVIEW
King Felipe of Spain and the president of Catalonia tour the biggest ISE event yet Holding court I ntegrated Systems Europe (ISE) made a triumphant return to Barcelona, with a record 58,107 attendees from 155 WORDS. Robert Shepherd IMAGES. Various
countries covering the largest ever ISE show floor – 56,870 sq m across six halls. The four-day event, which is the largest AV system integrations show in the world, even attracted royalty. Day one saw King Felipe VI of Spain touring Fira de Barcelona Gran Via, stopping by several booths to experience the incredible technology on display. New this year was the content production and distribution zone in Hall 6, where Grup Mediapro’s Content Studio featured a virtual production (VP) set to host C-suite interviews and panel discussions. Visitors to the stand saw first-hand experience of VP recording through Unreal Engine. THE GRAND OPENING The opening-day keynote by BK Johannessen of Epic Games highlighted how tech trends in the gaming industry are driving audio-visual innovation to new heights. He drew on experience of cutting-edge projects in gaming, film and broadcast to engage and entertain. Fans of veteran French electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre saw him unveil his latest album on the first day of the show, using the Audio Demo Rooms. Mike Blackman, managing director of ISE, calls it ‘an extraordinary week’, explaining how gratifying it was to see that they had ‘delivered an exceptional show’ for the industry and Barcelona. “We’ve had unprecedented visitor levels to the event, so much inspiring content and features on display – and visits from the king of Spain and the president of
Catalonia to add a royal and political seal of approval,” he adds. “This week at ISE 2023 confirms it; we can safely say the global AV and systems integration industry is back with a bang.” A WORD FROM THE EXHIBITORS ISE is a key educational platform for the AV space, and Isaura Gantner – head of sales, EMEA at Atomos – explains that ISE 2023 was a great opportunity to learn more about how broadcast products are being integrated into AV workflows. “Also, it gave us a chance to demonstrate how Atomos has evolved from supplying stand-alone monitor-recorders to becoming a key player in the connected and collaborative environments driving video production today.” Sony is incredibly proud to have taken part in ISE’s most successful show yet, enthuses Adam Dover, trade and segment marketing manager at Sony
Professional. “It was an extremely busy show. We enjoyed being connected to our customers, partners and colleagues, and showcasing the innovations we’ve been working on. This is such an exciting time for businesses, and seeing how everyone’s evolving with the future of the workplace was extremely insightful. The rise of VP was prominent this year, with several studios exhibiting, including our own with Crystal LED and Venice. The other key theme was sustainability, with brands coming together to send a clear message that AV needs to become and is becoming “We can safely say the global AV and systems integration industry is back with a bang”
ONWARDS AND UPWARDS A record-breaking ISE is plenty of proof that the industry is going through a renaissance
ISE REVIEW INDUSTRY.
a more environmentally friendly industry. We are already looking forward to the next show in 2024.” Hans Christian Stucken, global marketing advisor at AV Stumpfl, adds that it’s not the number of visitors that makes ISE special, but the high level of technological expertise present. “For a manufacturer like AV Stumpfl, it is brilliant to be able to exhibit and present our latest products in such an inspiring context,” he beams. “ISE was the perfect place to allow visitors a sneak peek at some of the core features of our upcoming Pixera media server system version 2.0 – which will include true multi-user capability and elements relevant to VP scenarios.” ISE will return to Barcelona from 30 January to 2 February 2024.
LATEST AND GREATEST Over 1000 exhibitors descended on Fira de Barcelona for the four-day event
SEEN AT ISE
ASTERA The Hydrapanel from Astera took the spotlight at ISE: a 1300-lumen light that fits in the palm of your hand. Watertight, robust and weighing just 600g, it can be mounted anywhere and has a battery life of one hour 45 minutes. But what really sets the Hydrapanel apart is the creative control it offers. With beam shaping and six interchangeable light modifiers, the Titan LED engine ensures absolute colour fidelity and lighting consistency, while wireless DMX, CRMX and Bluetooth Bridge allow a range of connectivity options. Moreover, the Hydrapanel delivers an incredible 750-20,000K range and full-spectrum RGB+Mint+Amber colour, meaning the only limit is the creativity of the user. astera-led.com BROMPTON TECH Brompton Technology announced a game changer – the Tessera G1 receiver card. The revolutionary G1 supports 10Gb fibre connections direct to the panel. It’s also capable of supporting one-million-pixel capacity for a new generation of ultra-
CHRISTIE Christie showcased technologies from across its range, including the launch of the Christie 4K22-HS laser projector. The new model strengthens the successful HS Series – Christie’s highest-performing 1DLP laser projector line. The Griffyn all-in-one RGB pure laser projectors were on display, including the 4K50-RGB – the lightest, brightest, most energy-efficient laser projector available in its class, at 15.9 lumens per watt-hour, as well as the Griffyn 4K35-RGB, which delivers 36,500 lumens in a compact design, weighing only 81kg (179lb). Among a feature-packed stand, creative video wall displays showed the versatility and architectural design capabilities of Christie Microtiles LED in various pixel pitches, as well as the improved visual acuity and energy efficiency of the 0.75 and 1.0mm models. Additional areas exhibited an array of technologies and solutions, including Christie’s newest innovations and developments in image processing, AV over IP and content management. Demonstrations included Pandoras Box’s updated software, sensor-
fine pixel pitch panels, or up to 1000fps. “G1, with its 20x increase in power, will deliver a new level of exceptionally realistic visual performance,” explains Cesar Caceres, product lead at Brompton Technology. “It will also facilitate the integration of additional calibrated channels, which Brompton defines as RGBW (red, green, blue and ‘whatever’). This will lead to incredibly realistic visual experiences in the future.” bromptontech.com/news/ brompton-reveals-g1-receiver-card/
07. APRIL 2023
INDUSTRY. ISE REVIEW
SEEN AT ISE continued
activated interactive content using Widget Designer with Christie Airscan, plus blended projection with Mystique Lite camera-based alignment software. christiedigital.com DIGITAL PROJECTION Manchester-based Digital Projection displayed its high-end products and technologies, including what it argues to be ‘the most important development in projection since the advent of laser light source’ – its revolutionary Satellite Modular Laser System (MLS). digitalprojection.com/en/news/ digital-projection-to-showcase-industry- most-comprehensive-high-brightness- projection-range-at-ise-2023/ PANASONIC Panasonic Connect Europe unveiled four new solutions designed for business collaboration, education and the location- based entertainment industry. Two next-generation PT-REQ12 Series (4K) and PT-REZ12 Series (WUXGA) 1-Chip DLP laser projectors are designed to deliver new production possibilities and simplify workflow for the location- based entertainment industry. With up to 12,000-lumen brightness, 4K resolution and 240Hz projection capability with minimal latency of 6ms or less, the two new series are ideal for museums, immersive experiences and the rental and staging industries. The latest range of 4K UHD LCD displays, the SQ2H series, is designed to meet the growing demand for premium-level professional business displays that can cut through bright lighting conditions. Ranging in seven screen sizes from 43-98in, these 24-hour displays, with high brightness and an anti-glare haze treatment that reduces reflection, are ideal for boardrooms, meeting and learning spaces, as well as digital signage in retail and public information areas. In addition, Panasonic
with the sustainability zone at its booth showcasing the eco-conscious practices applied to digital signage products. These practices are based on the five stages of the product life cycle – which are sourcing, production, distribution, using and recycling. samsung.com 7THSENSE 7thSense displayed the R-Series 10 hardware solution, which it says caters to the needs of the most demanding generative projects and complex media- based attractions. Winner of a Best of Show 2023 award at ISE, the R-Series hardware range is optimised for the most challenging of use cases and leverages the power of generative engines like Unreal Engine and Unity. Another 7thSense product to win an award was Conjurer, which brings the well-known generative engines within its Compere workflow (Unreal Engine, Unity, TouchDesigner and Notch) to allow control, show programming and configuration of the generative clusters within the same UI and workflow as 7thSense’s media servers and pixel processors. 7thsense.one
has expanded its range of 4K touch displays with the introduction of the best-in-class EQ2-PCAP series. With six screen options, ranging from 43-86in, these interactive multi-touch professional displays with capacitive touch technology are designed to make collaboration in meetings, brainstorm sessions and classrooms effortless and productive. Meanwhile, Panasonic is growing the Kairos ecosystem by adding two new powerful and quiet Core mainframes, the AT-KC200 and AT-KC2000. panasonic.com SAMSUNG Samsung Electronics showcased ‘the future of digital signage’ at ISE 2023, with technologies and eco-conscious efforts guided by the brand’s newly focused environmental goals. The company highlighted its sustainability initiatives based on environmental targets announced in September 2022. Visitors saw Samsung’s vision come to life, “Visitors saw Samsung’s environmental vision come to life, with the sustainability zone at the booth showcasing eco-conscious practices”
INDUSTRY. NAB PREVIEW
NAB shines a spotlight on innovation as it marks its 100th birthday in Las Vegas IT’S A SIN
WORDS. Robert Shepherd IMAGES. Emma Stevens
NAB PREVIEW INDUSTRY.
A s the world becomes increasingly connected and reliant on technology, the broadcasting industry remains at the forefront of innovation. For that reason, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show remains a much-anticipated event in the calendar worldwide. Marking its centenary at its home in Las Vegas, over 1000 exhibitors from various companies will showcase their latest innovations, products and services relevant to the broadcast industry. The exhibition hall is an excellent opportunity for technicians to see first-hand the latest tech solutions that will revolutionise their work. Another highlight is the keynote sessions featuring renowned industry leaders. Expect to hear inspiring speeches and thought-provoking ideas on emerging trends, challenges and opportunities that are shaping the future of broadcasting. You certainly do not want to miss these insights into what’s driving the industry’s exciting evolution. LOOK WHO’S TALKING One panel discussion not to be missed is the ‘AI Solutions for Broadcasters Roundtable’. Timothy Wolff, VP for TV & digital publishing innovation at Futuri Media, will be on the panel. Wolff “Attendees can register for any of the pre- conference workshops, which offer practical training on the latest broadcast techniques”
says the sheer quantity and quality of attendees and vendors means it’s a conference where one can find everything at the cutting edge. “Serving our audiences has always been the most important thing we do. Now, with AI, understanding the latest technologies allows us to do our best work serving the audience – even in the face of economic headwinds,” he explains. “It’s such a challenge to bring experienced people into the industry and keep them there. But the most dramatic change has been in the advancement of AI and how it can help our teams bring a higher volume and quality of content.” Maribel Lopez, senior director, head of PBS Digital Studios, is attending NAB for the first time and will be on a panel called ‘The Evolution of Video’. “Our panel aims to address the constant pace of change in the video content landscape,” she says. “For the past ten years, PBS Digital Studios has been a leader as a digital-first programmer, and we’ve incorporated our perspective to highlight strategic challenges and opportunities presented by changes in consumer behaviour, new platforms rising and falling and mysterious third-party algorithms wielding power. Based on what we know about the demands of today’s video landscape, we believe it’s imperative to keep key decision makers informed on the constant changes. Sharing best practices, research findings and other strategies has strengthened our network of content creators and we seek to replicate that best practice with our peers at NAB.” The Sin City event will also provide ample learning and networking opportunities for broadcast technicians. Attendees can register for any of the pre-conference workshops, which offer practical training on the latest broadcast
CUTTING EDGE NAB is set to provide incredible insight into the latest media and production technology
techniques, software and hardware. It’s a chance to hone skills, learn best practices and exchange ideas with other professionals in the field. For those seeking certification or further professional development – NAB 2023 offers that too. The conference will have plenty of educational sessions and certifications that will bolster your credentials and prepare you for the changing landscape of the industry. John Clark, senior vice president, emerging technology and executive director, Pilot, explains: “There is no better event than the Broadcast Engineering and IT (BEIT) Conference to look further into the future at technical opportunities and challenges broadcast engineers and technologists face. “Renard Jenkins’ keynote ‘New Tools, New Opportunities: Preparing Engineers and Technologists for Longevity’ is the perfect set-up for all the sessions that follow,” he continues. “Topics explored in BEIT were selected by a committee of industry professionals as the biggest areas of focus for media professionals and technologists. The presenters are experts offering real-world insights into trends and technology shaping the industry.”
Show business Don’t miss out on NAB Show! Catch it at the Las Vegas Convention Center from 15 to 19 April 2023.
INDUSTRY INSIGHTS Workshops will be on offer for broadcast technicians to gain trailblazing practical training
11. APRIL 2023
INDUSTRY. NAB PREVIEW
WHAT’S ON SHOW AT NAB 2023?
CLEAR-COM Stand C5507 Clear-Com will celebrate its 55th anniversary at the centennial NAB Show. The company will showcase its award- winning IP-based Arcadia Central Station, as well as innovative new product features of the flagship Eclipse HX Digital Matrix Intercom System, including Dynam-EC real-time production software, IP-based V-Series IrisX user panels, and industry-leading role-based workflows. A popular choice for broadcast applications such as flypacks and OB vans, Arcadia Central Station brings together Helixnet, Freespeak, Clear-Com Encore, other 2W/4W endpoints and third-party Dante devices in a single, integrated system. Arcadia offers licensed-based scalability that allows it to meet numerous production needs, with support for over 100 beltpacks and up to 128 IP ports, with additional upgrades available in the future. For applications requiring up to 200 Freespeak beltpacks and point-to- point workflows, the Eclipse HX Digital Matrix offers a range of unique tools to deliver power and efficiency, notably the powerful, innovative Dynam-EC software tool that allows for operator situational control over all Clear-Com audio input and outputs, audio mapping, IFBs and partylines. New features introduced in EHX 13 support many of the needs of broadcast applications for large-scale productions, such as the World Cup or other global sporting events. clearcom.com
GHOSTFRAME Stand N208LMR This year’s show holds tremendous significance for Ghostframe, its first NAB. Introducing its virtual production toolkit for film, broadcast, sports and live event production, Ghostframe is a powerful suite of features for virtual production and XR stages that simultaneously captures multiple independent images on camera while the human eye sees one. Using a combination of hidden chroma key compositing, tracking and multiple-source video feeds into a single production frame, creative teams choose which elements are visible to the human eye and which are only to the camera,” explains Peter Angell, CEO at Ghostframe collaborator AGS. “For example, allowing four live cameras to cut to and from at the Fox NFL Sunday studio. NAB attendees can experience Ghostframe at our VIP suite in the North Hall or partner stands including Roe, Disguise and Vizrt.” ghostframe.com
Studio (ACS) consists of Live Production, Capture to Cloud and streaming. It also has the benefit of being anchored by its range of first–class Atomos Connect products. This ecosystem works in harmony to unlock a comprehensive cloud production system. “ACS offers access to affordable and flexible subscription-based tools, which can adapt to meet filmmakers’ needs as they progress on their journey,” says Trevor Elbourne, CEO, Atomos. “If you would like to experience ACS, please join us at the Atomos booth. We look forward to hosting you.” atomos.com
SENNHEISER Stand C5217
Visitors will see the EW 112P G4 camera mount wireless microphone system from Sennheiser – the latest addition to its evolving family of wireless microphones, fully compatible with previous series. This package includes the EK 100 G4 camera mount receiver, SK 100 G4 bodypack transmitter, and ME 2 lavalier microphone. Accessories include a CA 2 camera mount, 1/8in to 1/8in cable, and 1/8in to XLR cable. It can be used to capture audio for live sound, broadcast and film, business and educational applications. The SK 100 G4 bodypack transmitter and the EK 100 G4 receiver sport an updated high-contrast LCD display and a dedicated escape button. They synchronise channel and frequency at the touch of a button. There’s also an optional rechargeable battery pack, allowing the user to charge batteries while they remain inside the units. The CA 2 shoe-mount adapter provides easy installation onto a camera shoe. en-uk.sennheiser.com
MARSHALL Stand C5520
Marshall Cameras continues to evolve its AV over IP products with the latest NDI codecs; showcasing four new POV cameras and two new PTZ cameras at NAB 2023. The miniature CV574-ND3 and compact CV374-ND3, both with up to 4K (UHD, 60fps), will feature low-latency and lossless NDI|HX3 streaming as well as standard IP with SRT plus HDMI simultaneous outputs. Also on display will be the CV730- BHN PTZ with Full NDI and CV730-ND3 PTZ with NDI|HX3. These brand-new cameras are designed to accommodate broadcast production facilities who are looking to produce high-impact content with fewer staff members on-site, while maintaining the broadcast video quality of the source. marshall-usa.com
PANASONIC Stand C3308
Panasonic Connect will show its key AV technology designed to support broadcasters and producers. Stop by to see the latest generation of broadcast cameras, PTZs, audio-visual products and Kairos, its proprietary live production platform.” panasonic.com ATOMOS Stand C4135 Atomos will be showcasing the latest innovations in its rapidly expanding and cutting-edge cloud service. Atomos Cloud
INDUSTRY. STATE OF DISPLAY
STATE OF DISPLAY INDUSTRY.
MicroLED – the $50 billion opportunity
Analysts predict the disruptive technology of microLED is set to start an astonishing journey
WORDS. Adrian Pennington IMAGES. Various
15. APRIL 2023
INDUSTRY. STATE OF DISPLAY
M icroLED is tipped to become the dominant display technology for professional AV solutions, outperforming competing technologies such as LCD, OLED, LED and mini LED as soon as 2030. Multiple market research and consulting firms agree on the direction – if not quite the timescale. Omdia, for example, projects around five million microLED displays shipping in 2025, which will generate around $7 billion in revenue. By 2027, it predicts the market will grow to over $11 billion.
by which time it will account for the dominant share of the global market. Futuresource Consulting, meanwhile, anticipates over 60 companies will invest around $10 billion in the technology over the next few years, creating a $50 billion market in the next decade. It predicts the global professional display market to grow at 8% a year from 2022 to 2027, taking LED from 23% of a $33 billion market share to 40% of a $50 billion market in that period. Alternative technologies such as projection are in decline – though that’s still a $4.5 billion
These are some large numbers – although compared to the total display industry (estimated at over $200 billion), it’s actually relatively low. Similarly, Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) says microLED display revenues will grow from around $40 million this year to over $1.3 billion in 2027. While this is fast growth, it means DSCC doesn’t believe microLED is going to penetrate large display markets at least until 2028. Transparency Market Research estimates the microLED display market growing 26.4% between now and 2031,
STATE OF DISPLAY INDUSTRY.
TAKE IT ALL IN LED volumes are the most high-profile example of the technology, but the next few years will see it expand into a dominant position across consumer tech too
market – while rear projection ‘is hanging on by a thread’, according to Futuresource analyst Ted Romanowitz. Indeed, one major projection company demonstrated an LED prototype at ISE 2023, indicating perhaps that the writing is on the wall for projection displays. CAUSING A STIR The success of microLED is largely due to its chiplet size – the individual red, green and blue sub-pixels that are between just 0.02 and 0.1mm wide. They allow for a pixel pitch of <1mm, making the
displays suitable for pro AV applications. Delivering near-perfect off-angle viewing and a wide colour gamut with deeper blacks, microLED is considered superior to OLED. Its position is strengthened by a higher brightness potential, ultra-thin profile and greater stability. “Control rooms, presentation displays, brand enablement, broadcast and architectural applications are ideal environments for microLED,” explains Chris Mcintyre-Brown, director at Futuresource Consulting. “The narrow pixel pitches make close-up viewing
“Narrow pixel pitches enabled by microLED make close-up viewing increasingly viable. This opens up collaboration usage models that just are not possible with SMD LED”
17. APRIL 2023
INDUSTRY. STATE OF DISPLAY
more viable. This opens up collaboration usage models that are not possible with surface-mounted diode (SMD) LED.” The technology can also support refresh rates up to 240Hz – ideal for high- motion video and gaming. Since the LEDs are non-organic, unlike OLED displays, microLED pixels are not expected to fade (so-called screen burn) over time. Not only does this mean displays are extremely energy efficient, but they could keep going for 100,000 hours. However, there are a number of critical manufacturing steps that need to be perfected before microLED can be integrated into professional AV at a price that’s affordable to the mass market. These range from the process of growing a thin crystalline layer on a substrate, to chiplet cutting and module board production, as well as TFT backplane manufacturing innovation. “Reducing LEDs to microscopic size and accurately placing millions of them onto the display surface is a compelling challenge,” explains rental company PSCo in its handbook on the technology. “Achieving this while maintaining colour uniformity and eliminating pixel failure is an even larger one. Advances in flip- chip LED technology have enabled the launch of microLED video wall displays light years ahead of poor-performing face- up COB (chip on board) LED displays. “These displays not only reduce pixel size, but also outperform traditional SMD LED displays in a number of key areas, including higher resolutions, increased contrast and reduced viewable distance.” NAMES IN THE GAME Due to high entry barriers, Futuresource believes only a few companies will retain control over the tech. Among the leaders are Samsung, Leyard and Foxconn, who will develop their own supply chains for system-level components. Others include BOE Technology, LG and Sony. Samsung has bet its future as a display vendor on microLED. Already, 77% of all displays in command and control rooms
ON THE UP Market forecasts predict microLED will soon be the dominant display format
are based on LED. According to Samsung, microLED will grow more than 110% over the next four years. “When we can make production cheaper, we will go to the consumer market,” Kim Rasmussen, Samsung’s European command & control business development manager, said at ISE. “It will be the dominant display technology on the market by 2031.” Samsung’s The Wall, which debuted in 2017, is the most famous example. “It represents a defining moment, as we enter a new era of microLED display technologies set to completely reshape the display market as we know it,” said Liam Winter, head of LED at PSCo. Now other vendors are following suit. This year, LG has previewed a 272in microLED 8K display (LG Magnit). Leyard unveiled DirectLight Pro, a 1.2mm pixel pitch microLED display. Leyard also showed a 0.7mm pixel pitch video wall constructed from TX Series microLED. “By 2024-25, the scale of production for microLED will increase and prices will begin to drop,” predicts Romanowitz. That’s important, because right now they are exorbitant. Reports say a microLED 14in TV display costs north of $1m. Futuresource expects this to drop below the $40,000 range by 2026-2027. There’s a side effect to the rise of microLED, too, which could see the
“From manufacturers and suppliers to resellers and end users, we are going to see microLED begin to dominate the
marketplace in the mid to long term”
decades-long dominance of Chinese manufacturers supplanted by those from South Korea and the US. “Several companies are developing the ecosystem enabling the technology, but few will be able to invest the billions of dollars to do that, so the whole pro AV economy will change,” says Romanowitz. MicroLED displays will also be used in consumer applications, from smartwatches and phones, to >100in residential TVs and AR displays. “MicroLED is on a direct path towards the centre of the consumer electronics and professional AV industries,” added Mcintyre-Brown. “From manufacturers, suppliers and brands to resellers, channel partners and end users, we’re going to see microLED begin to dominate the marketplace in the mid to long term.”
PUTTING IT ALL ON LED Samsung’s investment in microLED shows a willingness to gamble on its success
7THSENSE ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE.
FUTURE OF FILMMAKING The mechanics behind creativity
TARGET3D SPECIALISES IN the implementation of cutting-edge tracking technologies for a range of industries including virtual production, VR and AR, robotics, biomechanics, animation, VFX, gaming, training and simulation, 3D scanning and haptics. Its central London studio houses a 12x4m, 4° custom curved and moveable LED wall and is home to the widest range of motion capture and tracking technology under one roof. Now, Target3D has installed the ‘R-Series 10’ hardware solution from 7thSense to cater to the needs of the most demanding generative projects and complex media-based attractions. From StudioT3D, the Target3D team can set you up for remote connection with performers, creatives or directors anywhere in the world. All the way from previs through to postvis, data cleaning, retargeting and post-animation, Target3D’s experts ensure you get the highest level of accuracy from your motion capture data and seamlessly integrate it with your pipeline. The new R-Series 10 was unveiled by 7thSense in January this year. It is the first time 7thSense has delivered a hardware-only solution opening up access to the firepower of its media server for customers to install, and its own tailored software set-up for virtual production. “The R-Series hardware range is optimised for the most challenging of use cases and leverages the power of generative engines like Unreal Engine and Unity,” explains Eric Cantrell, director of sales and marketing. “Our product offerings include the highest-quality video playback, “R-Series hardware is optimised for the most challenging of use cases and leverages the power of generative engines”
TARGETED Installed by Target3D, the R-Series 10 runs software applications such as Actor and Conjurer, leveraging the power of Unreal Engine
pixel processing and control solutions available today, enabling storytellers worldwide to fulfil their visions.” The PCIe 4.0-based SMPTE ST 2110-ready media server arrives from 7thSense with all drivers preconfigured for graphics cards supporting genlock, framelock and swaplock. Target3D’s team can quickly install whatever version of software required to run on it, whether it’s Notch®, Unity®, TouchDesigner®, Unreal Engine®, Delta Media Server® and more. Target3D is also using 7thSense Juggler® for pixel processing, allowing Target3D to take in all kinds of media from Powerpoint to video conference streams and open up the volume stage to corporate clients. Dynamic creative presentations
enabled by the 7thSense set-up include layering media on top of an animated background and then adding Picture-in-Picture or camera feeds. “It is with partnerships like this that we get to learn about new markets and develop our toolset to better fit a variety of applications,” says Cantrell. “We really enjoyed working with Target3D’s team on this project and are excited by the fast- growing world of virtual production.”
19. APRIL 2023
INDUSTRY. PROJECTION MAPPING
Scratch the surface Experiential design is on the rise. Pop-up exhibitions of immersive artwork – displayed using mapping – are now projected on all kinds of exteriors
WORDS. Adrian Pennington IMAGES. Various
P rojection mapping is a technique used to create the optical illusion of 3D effects on an object or building. The artistic manipulation of light transforms virtually any surface into an immersive canvas and attention-grabbing experience, captivating large audiences. It’s especially popular as an urban art technique, using public buildings and iconic landmarks as display surfaces. “We’re seeing a lot more mapping, whether that’s 2D immersive art or 3D mapping onto sculptures,” says Steve Selwyn, director at Mirage Associates – Dataton’s UK and ROI partner. “Even in educational institutions or architect’s offices, everyone wants to see something a bit different.” It goes without saying that there’s a significant difference between projecting a 2D image onto a flat and uniform screen, and projecting onto medieval
façades or monumental constructions which vary in form, colour and structure. That’s why projection mapping requires specialised software for content creation and previsualisation. The software integrates all necessary data of the imaging object and the surroundings to build up the project virtually. Previsualisation teaches you a lot about how the light falls on certain angles and what the content looks like from many different perspectives. “It’s especially popular as an urban art technique, using public buildings and iconic landmarks as canvases”
ABSORBING IT The depth of colour and sheer size of the projections make it seem as though you are part of the historic works
PROJECTION MAPPING INDUSTRY.
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INDUSTRY. PROJECTION MAPPING
ALL BLOWN UP A Frida Kahlo exhibition featuring the Mexican painter’s work blown up in immersive arrays – just one example of a prolific artist involved in the world of 360 experiences
PROJECTION MAPPING INDUSTRY.
“Projection warping, also called geometric correction, is the process of digitally manipulating the image data to make it look accurate” “It’s also becoming achievable for more people to projection map with free software downloaded from the internet,” says Selwyn. “On the professional side, the computers needed to run software are vastly more powerful than they were five years ago,” he explains, hinting at a major Dataton software release later this year that’s concerned with 3D mapping. There are limits to how much canvas one projector can cover. For example, you can’t project on the 640 sq km surface of the Hoover Dam with just a single projector. In many cases, you will need multiple projectors as well as software for edge blending – to remove the visible borders of overlapping images – for a seamless viewing experience. Projector warping, also called geometric correction, is the process of digitally manipulating the image data to make it look accurate on the specific projection surface or shape. “We’re seeing a clear distinction between cutting-edge and entry- level applications from a technology, complexity and content creation point of view,” says Lieven Bertels, segment marketing, immersive experience, Barco. “A lot of the earlier work was makeshift, you pieced together a show from scratch each time for one particular space.” In the US in particular, this trend is driven by the need to make immersive
CAPTIVATING Many different immersive experiences projected in large indoor spaces exhibit works of famed artists, and are enjoyed by all age groups
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INDUSTRY. PROJECTION MAPPING
experiences ‘tourable’ rather than simply confined to one venue, in order to yield a better return on investment. “You need to be able to replicate the study work across multiple spaces, even if the physical spaces themselves need to be tailored differently. In North America, we are seeing a proliferation of spaces used in all kinds of industrial venues.” One of the challenges the whole AV industry faces is a lack of skilled personnel, and that pressure applies to projection mapping, too. “Anything you can do to standardise will help the business scale,” says Bertels. On the content front, Bertels observes: “Audiences are hungry for something beyond a van Gogh or Klimt experience. There’s an appetite for interactive spaces, where some elements are played back and others are generated with a rendering engine, both in real time.” Immersive experience and art installation in Berlin, Genius da Vinci, invited guests to interact using QR codes and tracking technologies. One room featured touch technology where up to 30 visitors at a time could draw on
“You need to be able to replicate the study work across multiple spaces, even if the physical spaces themselves need to be tailored differently”
LIGHT IN THE DARK External façades take on a different persona when illuminated with imagery
INDUSTRY. PROJECTION MAPPING
SYDNEY SUCCESS Technical Direction Company took home the best technical achievement gong at the Australian Event Awards, for its work on the Vivid Sydney 2022 event
the walls, and have their individualised output tracked by LiDAR and rendered in the Notch game engine. “We’re starting to move beyond copyright-free dead painters,” he says. “It means producers are going to have to negotiate with new owners of IP, be that a painter’s estate, Disney or a sports owner. If you get access to, for example, Disney cartoons, it’s in your interest to scale that for a network of dozens of outlets, since that gives you more financial power to broker that deal. In turn, this requires more standardisation of technology.” Zoos are an example of a visitor attraction dabbling in video projection,
“You don’t need a 360 environment for guests to appreciate it’s interactive. It’s common to find floor projections that change as you walk through them – fish swimming around you, or fallen leaves parting”
enticing and educating customers about wildlife ecosystems. You don’t need a 360 immersive AR/ VR environment for a guest to appreciate that it is interactive. It’s fairly common to find floor projections that change as you walk through them – fish swimming around you, for example, or fallen leaves parting. Montreal-based creator Moment Factory has pushed this further by developing games like air hockey and Twister on a large, projected playing field. Latency is a factor in the technology enabling this – that’s the time for an input ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES Not just limited to the built environment, designers have mapped some of the complex geometries of nature, too (left)
(eg from LiDAR) to generate an output (Barco claims very low-latency projection). Refresh rate is another factor; we’re used to seeing 25/30fps video, but to achieve a more fluent motion capture, 60fps is the standard, with 120fps common and up to 240fps possible from some projectors. Colour rendition is another important criteria. “We are working on a video mapping project for a National Heritage listed building where colour is super important,” insists Bertels. “The client doesn’t want it to look too kitsch, but for the projection to show respect for the architecture.” He adds: “It’s also important the technology is concealed; so it doesn’t appear as if some alien nation has landed on the building!”
IMMERSIVE AUDIO GEAR.
Hearing is believing How audio is bridging the gap between performer and audience
WORDS. Kevin Emmott IMAGES. Various
SUBVERTING STEREO Audio innovators are reappraising the way we approach sound. Object-based audio and novel speaker designs can make it truly experiential
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T he ancient Greeks knew a thing or two about culture, and they were well up for a bit of live entertainment. Two and a half thousand years later and we still can’t get enough of it. Live entertainment satisfies a basic human requirement for connection. It not only provides a link with the subject, but a bond with other people at the event; we’re all in it together. But what if there was a way to amplify that connection? Venues all around the world are discovering how audio can provide more value to talks, installations and live events than visual elements alone – and technology is providing the toolkits to augment that. Object-based audio (OBA) is the key. OBA treats an audio component – such as a microphone, an instrument or even a full mix – as an independent object, rather than an input channel to be combined with others to create a conventional, stage-front mix. Objects can be defined as occupying any given position in any given space, and combined with other objects in countless creative ways. This was definitely a theme at this year’s ISE in Barcelona, where audio companies like Coda Audio, Holoplot and d&b Audiotechnik used valuable demo space to focus on how their creative tools and technologies can exploit this shift. Each illustrated how the move from traditional stereo arrays to more nuanced OBA approaches opens an audience’s eyes – and ears – to new possibilities. SOUND UNWRAPPED This isn’t lost on sound engineer Gerardo Marrone. His series of Sound Unwrapped events at London’s Kings Place are designed to push these boundaries as far as they will go. In collaboration with d&b Audiotechnik, Gerry is working with an eclectic range of artists to explore spatial dimensions in live performances. “We’ve been listening to events in the same way for so long that people don’t have the vocabulary to describe how it feels to be embraced by the sound,” he says. “There has always been a sensory
conflict between what you see and what you hear, but the development of object-based systems allows the natural coherency of sound and vision to be achieved – and on a much larger scale. “It means the focus of the performance no longer has to be on the stage and can provide an intimate connection between the art and the people it’s created for. The audience becomes part of the performance and not just a witness to it.” STICK YOUR TECH OUT The technology Gerry uses to create these environments is d&b Soundscape. Products like this enable sound designers to create a sonic environment in any given space. When we talk about immersion, we’re not just talking 360° sound. We’re talking immersion in the environment, losing the technology and getting lost in the moment.
“A channel-based approach requires everything to be predetermined and placed into two channels, but an object- based route makes everything more flexible,” says d&b Soundscape business development manager Adam Hockley. “For example, a string quartet may want a subtle, natural reinforcement to make it seem as if there is no amplification at all, which would be impossible in “We’ve been listening to events in the same way for so long that people can’t even describe how it feels to be embraced by the sound”
MULTI-SOURCE MODULES The modular Holoplot X1 Matrix Array can emit 12 separate sound beams per array
IMMERSIVE AUDIO GEAR.
a traditional channel-based approach because the audience is aware of the amplification through the speakers. Using objects means the audience shouldn’t notice the technology.” Sound engineers do this by using prediction software to place a sound object in a virtual space, which also maps the loudspeaker system designed for that space. Knowing where the loudspeakers are located in an XY grid, and knowing the relationship between those speakers and each sound object, means software can work out how the acoustic wavefront would propagate. “We can calculate the time and level relationships between an object and all the speakers in the system, and the speaker system reproduces the acoustic wavefront at the correct time and level relationship,” explains Hockley. “From an audience perspective, you only hear
FULLY INTEGRATED More companies and installation designers are considering the visual impact of audio elements
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BE TRANSPORTED d&b En-Space can emulate the reverberation signature of different areas, spatially transforming one room into another
LOST IN SPACE This illusion is a common theme, and at ISE, Coda Audio introduced a speaker system that literally makes the hardware invisible. Space by Coda uses slimline speaker panels which can be combined with diffusers and absorbers in a 70mm deep framework and covered with anything from large format artwork to projector screens, encouraging architects and interior designers to design versatility into a space from day one. “Space panels can create any experience in an environment that already exists,” explains Coda’s director of global marketing, David Webster. “Traditional speakers are always destructive to the visuals, and so are often hidden away in corners, which can look ugly and cause dispersion issues. Space panels can be flat against the wall and are both visually and acoustically transparent.” Object-based approaches can also minimise dispersion issues by providing detailed control of the audio in a defined space. Berlin-based Holoplot not only gave demos of its 3D Audio-Beamforming tech at ISE, but ran educational sessions on how its X1 Matrix Array can help sound designers traverse complicated acoustic environments. Located just half a mile from Kings Place, the David Hockney: Bigger & Closer
the original source, and you don’t hear any particular speaker; what you hear is made up of multiple speakers so everyone gets a true reflection of the sound.” In this way, a venue can share headroom across a larger number of smaller loudspeakers, reducing the aesthetic impact in a space and effectively hiding the speakers from the audience.
“Traditional speakers are always destructive to the visuals, and so are often hidden away in corners, which can look ugly”
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