Vista Systems Spyder X20 played a key role in supporting digital artist and technologist Jon 9’s participation in TEDx Caltech, an immersive one-day experience that grew out of the celebrated 26-year old TED idea conference.
Held in the Beckman Auditorium at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, the independently-organized TED event explored the topic of the brain with a diverse group of speakers sharing their newest, most unique and visionary ideas. Their appearances were punctuated by music, performance and comedy.
Supported by the Vista Systems Spyder, Jon 9 of Holonyne Corporation, Los Angeles, produced innovative backdrops and content for the expert presenters and did improvisational video mixing for musical performers David Torn and Moira Shirley.
“You could best describe my role as projection designer,” he said. “The brief from the conference organizers was to create an immersive, interesting, visually stimulating environment that could display content related to the theme of the brain and also create an overall ambient environment. My creative approach was to make the audience feel that they were ‘inside’ the brain of the conference itself.”
Jon 9 was instrumental in crafting the display system for the stage. His Holonyne Corporation specializes in creating WallSite installations, an approach to large-scale immersive display systems that mimics the interactive and information delivery functionality of a website but on large scale for public events.
Three 1080P screens were onstage at the Beckman Auditorium, with 180 pixels in between. Twenty-four Christie MicroTiles, also 1080P, formed a 4x6 videowall centered beneath the center screen with 120 pixels between the top of the MicroTiles and the screen. Content was driven by the Spyder, whose I/Os included four 10K and 20K projectors, four Green Hippo Hippotizer HD digital media servers and a live video truck.
“This represented a cutting-edge configuration that went far beyond the typical set up for conferences of this nature,” Jon 9 said.
“The Spyder played a crucial role in the immersive video configuration, linking together the four Hippotizers with the four projectors and 24 MicroTiles plus the speech-support system and confidence monitors,” he explained. “We were able to monitor all the inputs on a single screen in two locations, backstage and the booth. We were also able to send and receive feeds from the video truck where the event’s video director was calling a five-camera shoot. The flexibility and programming power of the Spyder meant we could use one device to do all our switching and scaling instead of a rack of separate components.”
For playback with realtime control for the improv video mixing for the musical artists, Jon 9 tapped four Hippotizer HDs, which integrated smoothly through the Spyder, he reports.
“The entire configuration was an example of what’s possible when you want to expand the boundaries of digital environmental design for academic and other types of informational events,” said Jon 9. “By combining the high-powered projectors with an on-stage MicroTile videowall and the flexibility and power of the Spyder, we created an environment that was both highly functional and visually stunning.”