Powered by a single RealMotion 4 Karat Gold Series server, the entire facade of the 400ft-tall, $1.5 billion hotel is now one of the world’s most unique digital sculptures, capable of presenting a multitude of dazzling visual effects and presentations that utilise 2.3 million LED lights, video mapping and lasers – a project that was managed, directed, engineered and installed by Boston-based custom fabricator DCL (Design Communications Ltd).
“The front facade of the hotel is both a media system and a dynamic sculpture,” said Geoffrey Platt, director of RealMotion. “Lined with LED products and power systems provided by SACO, the front will serve as a screen and stage to daily musical showcases. The shows will be a testament to how music has been instrumental in defining Hard Rock hotels, restaurants and entertainment properties around the world.”
At the hotel’s recent grand opening celebration, the capabilities of its LED facade were on full display, with generative and sound reactive content created by Float4 delivering hours of vibrant visuals unlike any other display system in the world.
As the crowd ambiance built through the early evening, the official guitar SMASH experience marked the beginning of a custom drum sequence, triggering a bold guitar activation. The show then journeyed through different decades, musical styles and energies, presenting audio-driven dynamics, intricate line compositions, cascading waterfalls of light and energy as transitions, and a full 3D guitar effect, complete with lasers extending into the sky to represent guitar strings.
“The 4 Karat server plays a huge role in the technical management of the show itself,” added Platt. “We used ISAAC, an integrated scheduling and automation control platform created by Smart Monkeys, to develop a system to ingest content into the 4 Karat Server to manage and synchronise the millions of content elements of the show. RealMotion’s reliability ensures that the Guitar Hotel’s shows will run long-term. What DCL has put together is a huge feat in digital signage, architecture and entertainment. We couldn’t be prouder to have been brought onto this project, and to know that a 4 Karat RealMotion Server can manage a spectacle such as this.”
The facade has five core elements that can each be used for specific effects. The Front & Back are the main sections on which dynamic content can be video mapped. The Outline delineates the edges of the guitar shape, and content plays with this aspect by hiding and revealing the guitar’s contours. The Sides enhance the illusion of depth for visual effects, while The Strings, which utilise lasers instead of LEDs, are used to show vertical motion and effects such as fountains, chord strums and string plucks. Lastly, The Spandrel Glass section is ideal for expanding content from the face and body to create the illusion of another level of content.
While the grand opening was indeed a major celebration, the full goal of this project was to enable a long-term digital sculpture installation that can display new content and themes as the owners desire.
“We needed a media server for a permanent architecture setting, that could be integrated into a larger network,” said Jeff Grantz, director of creative technologies at DCL. “The 4 Karat server from RealMotion’s Gold series has a robust architecture setting and required minimum project-based customisation. We’re well-informed of the server’s dexterity for generative content and knew it would be an intuitive tool to pass on to our client for when they begin to facilitate their own programming.”
RealMotion took special care to build the content system in such a way that Hard Rock would be able to make relatively quick adjustments that could otherwise take hours of video rendering to complete. To achieve this, RealMotion used image sequencing instead of video, so that any changes would only require replacing or editing images within the sequence, eliminating the need for a new video file to be rendered.