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Brightsign for Barbican

London's Barbican is said to be Europe's largest multi-arts and conference venue. For a recent exhibition of animated imagery, 67 Brightsign digital signage players and controllers were deployed.

Specialist distribution company Pixels UK has supplied 67 BrightSign HD media players to Pinnerton Video Systems for installation at Watch Me Move: The Animation Show at London’s Barbican Art Gallery.

Renowned for its ground-breaking programmes, the Barbican is Europe’s largest multi-arts and conference venue, making its art gallery an apt setting for Watch Me Move, described as ‘the most extensive exhibition ever mounted to present the full range of animated imagery produced in the last 150 years’.

Watch Me Move does not simply chronicle animation in all its forms; it highlights it as an influential force in the development of global visual culture. It is designed as an immersive experience, with footage from commercial giants such as Walt Disney, Aardman and Pixar running alongside work from contemporary artists including Étienne-Jules Marey, Harry Smith, Jan Švankmajer, William Kentridge and Nathalie Djurberg.

For Watch Me Move, Pixels UK supplied a total of 67 BrightSign units – sixty HD110 looping players, six HD210 network players for the synced pairs, and one HD410 interactive player controlling an Audionics EMU.

All BrightSign players are fitted with 8GB SDHC high-speed flash cards, providing sufficient storage for the hundreds of standard and high definition media files for the Watch Me Move exhibits.

“We worked very closely with Pinnerton on this project,” said Pixels UK’s Norman Garland. “Not only did we supply the BrightSign players at very short notice, we provided a lot of technical support. This included specifying the correct models of BrightSign players to drive the chosen projectors and LCD screens and programming several players for specific tasks.”

“The Barbican has been our client for many years,” explains Pinnerton’s Stuart Wardle. “We generally supply equipment for the Barbican which they install themselves, but as this project had more technical involvement, we undertook the installation as well which, because of its complexity, took a total of two and a half weeks.”

“We’d worked with Norman at Pixels UK before on a 3D project,” continued Wardle, “and when it became obvious that the BrightSign players were the ideal solution for Watch Me Move, we instantly got in touch with him again, knowing that he and his team could help us with the necessary programming, as well as supplying the units.”

“Many of the players at Watch Me Move are set up to play continuously from power-on without operator intervention,” added Garland. “Others are set-up and programmed to play continuously in networked synchronised pairs and one was programmed to directly control an Audionics EMU power switching and management unit which is used for spot fx lighting. This eliminated the need for a separate, expensive show controller, thereby saving Pinnerton and the Barbican unnecessary cost and simplifying the design.”

“The HD410 was used to spotlight the title subjects (Popeye, etc) of the films in the Superhumans room,” confirmed Wardle. “Pixels UK wrote the scripts to make that happen, the BrightSign HD410 being the best solution here as it has the serial control for the lighting.”

Watch Me Move is curated by Greg Hilty, Curatorial Director at Lisson Gallery and designed by Chezweitz & Roseapple. It ran at Barbican Art Gallery until 11th September and then went on tour to the Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Canada, 8 October – 25 December, before commencing a two-year tour in Asia.