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Optoma and tvONE project and blend onto iconic London model

Paddy Baker 2 September 2015
NLA model of London tvONE Optoma

tvONE and Optoma have both contributed to the creation of a huge interactive model of London, commissioned by New London Architecture (NLA). This impressive model includes 170,000 buildings and covers 85sqkm (33 square miles) of London.

Model maker Pipers was appointed to construct the model for this ambitious project, while AV expert GHA Group oversaw the projection system. GHA installed eight Optoma ProScene EH505 projectors with short-throw lenses to project down onto the model, and a tvONE CORIOmaster Mini C3-510 to blend the output from these projectors.

NLA wanted to build a huge model of London that showed its iconic skyline, revealed the capital’s planned developments and demonstrated graphically how the city has changed over the last two millennia. An existing app on its website was to be used as the basis for an interactive feature on the model, allowing visitors to search and see planned developments across the city.

Covering a city the size of London, even at a very small scale, meant creating a very large model. The ceiling in the room is low and GHA needed to cover the whole of the model with no more than eight projectors to keep within its budget. The short distance from the projectors to the model meant that the widest possible angle lenses were needed to cover the whole model, that the projectors needed to be carefully set up and aligned and that edgeblends between the projectors were kept to an absolute minimum. Three of the projectors were installed in landscape mode and five in portrait.

The tvONE CORIOmaster Mini videowall processor provided eight outputs connected to the projectors to create the video scaling and the edgeblend and make one large seamless image. Optoma’s EH505 had the flexibility to install in either orientation and had the multiple lens options including the off-axis short throw lens.

Andy Ince, chief engineer at GHA, said: “The overlap on the edgeblends is incredibly small, leaving no room for error. We planned the projection out on CAD before installing the projectors and knew how challenging it would be to cover the whole model with eight projectors.”

The New London Model is the flagship exhibition at NLA Galleries. On the hour, every hour, a series of five films are shown on the main screen, synchronised with projection onto the model. For example, as the film talks about the growth of the Underground lines, or the spread of the Great Fire of London in 1666, these are shown snaking and unfurling across the model. When the film is not running, a central interactive iPad allows visitors to search developments across the city. The projection on the central screen mirrors this device for all visitors to see the results. The geographic locations of the developments shown on the iPad and screen are projected onto the model.

Ince added: “We’ve probably done more of these projects than anyone, but this was an exceptionally challenging installation because of the need to cover such a large model from a low height with a limited number of projectors. Without the flexibility of the CORIOmaster technology and the short-throw performance of the Optoma projectors, we wouldn’t have been successful.”

The New London Model will continue to be updated with projects that have planning permission or are under construction. This includes current projects such as Crossrail and the upgrade of London Bridge Station, and future projects such as Crossrail 2 and High Speed 2.

Video signal products from tvONE

Projectors from Optoma

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