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Divine intervention at the Isha Yoga Center

One hundred and twelve feet tall, the statue of Adiyogi rises above the Isha Yoga Center in the foothills at Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India. Each weekend, the world-record bust comes to life in a projection-mapped interpretation of the story of the Adiyogi’s divine appearance

The premiere of Adiyogi Divya Darshanam (roughly translated as Adiyogi’s Divine Appearance) was one of the main highlights for this year’s Mahashivratri event, an annual celebration in honour of Lord Shiva, at the Isha Yoga Center in southern India.
The interpretation was commissioned by the yoga centre to reach out to visitors and devotees in a visually immersive manner, the likes of which had never been seen before.

The centre appointed Axis Three Dee Studios to execute the entire project from start to finish, including the complete production of the visuals. The technical team also included representatives from Dataton and Epson to ensure that the spectacular show performed flawlessly and with maximum impact. The undertaking resulted in several firsts – and presented a number of challenges.

Challenging times
The holder of the Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Bust, the Adiyogi statue is built of steel and painted black. The satin finish and highly uneven topography called for some creative thinking by the team at Axis Three Dee Studios.

“Projection mappings are usually attempted on lighter coloured surfaces that evenly reflect light, unlike black which greatly absorbs it,” says Avijit Samajdar, CEO, Axis Three Dee Studios. “What’s more, the sheen on the surface meant that the proper colours did not appear and the team devised a unique colour palette (Real Time Colour Cancellation process) to counter the interference hues from the shiny surface. Thus, the final amalgam of colours using this process, came out vivid and rich during projection, with unwanted reflective hues cancelled out in real time.”

Another challenge was the sheer scale of the project. The entire surface area to be projected upon was over 8,000ft2. To achieve full image coverage with crisp and vibrant imagery, 2415,000 lumens laser projectors from Epson, running under Dataton WATCHOUT, were used in a stacking configuration.

“Due to certain inherent constraints to the locations for the permanent setup of the two projection towers at the site, the projectors were arranged in four stacked sets by the technical team, to ensure maximum optimisation of lumens and angle of incidence of the projected light,” explains Samajdar.

Ashok Sharma, regional sales manager at Dataton, elaborates: “Naturally, the centre did not want to have a projection tower built in front of the Adiyogi statue as this could obstruct viewing. The solution was to build two towers, of limited height, at 45º angles. The left tower covers the entire left side of statue and right tower covers the whole right side of the statue.

“The mapped show was programmed in WATCHOUT production software by Manesh ‘Manu’ Kadam and we then deployed two WATCHMAX media servers to ensure flawless mapping of the content on the surface of the Adiyogi from both left and right sides. The Dataton WATCHMAX servers are also integrated with the 5.1 channel sound of the show.”
As the first performance of the show was in front of a VIP audience, headed by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, there was absolutely no room for anything less than perfection.

Sharma concludes: “The show creators appreciated the easy-to-navigate interface in WATCHOUT and how smoothly changes could be implemented – even on the day of the launch. On the big day, the mapped content played back flawlessly on the surface of the Adiyogi, creating a truly magnificent experience for over 350,000 spectators.”

Adiyogi Divya Darshanam is now a permanent show at the Isha Yoga Center, playing every Saturday and Sunday evening.