7thSense Design at 2011 Radio City Christmas Spectacular

7thSense Design at 2011 Radio City Christmas Spectacular
  • The 2011 Radio City Christmas Spectacular stars the world-famous Rockettes. Image credit: MSG Entertainment
  • 7thSense Design has announced their project involvement with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, starring the world-famous Radio City Rockettes for the 2011 edition of the production.
  • For this project, 7thSense design worked with Madison Square Garden Entertainment, producers of the Christmas Spectacular, batwin+robin productions, a New York-based multimedia design company, and Visual Acuity, an independent media and technology consultancy.
  • Two racks of Delta Media Servers were able to produce a ‘pixel map’ of the show’s entire laser-scanned 3D display surface for the production’s new digital mapping technology. This enabled batwin+robin’s content creators to place media exactly where they needed it inside the theatre, without having to work in a 3D modeling environment.
  • Ian Macpherson, Managing Director, 7thSense Design, explains: “This year’s Christmas Spectacular will showcase the extensive use of true 3D mesh-based projection mapping on an architectural scale, with multiple, high-power projectors from Digital Projection blending images onto the art deco ceiling and proscenium arch of Radio City Music Hall. Through this display, the surface will be further extended by the 2D and 3D LED walls.”


Architectural scale projection for the 2011 Radio City Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, New York. Image credit: batwin+robin productions, Inc


7th Sense Design supplied seven Delta Media Servers in all. The first serves content to the three projectors projecting onto the main proscenium arch and the second feeds the eight projectors used for the arches either side of the stage. Two additional servers handle the content for LED walls serving as backdrops on the stage and two serve as backup projectors.

“As well as serving 4k uncompressed video content to the proscenium arches through the internal 3D representation of the theatre's walls and ceiling, the servers are all synchronized with the main audio system in the theatre, which sends Locate and Play commands to the Delta Media Server. Real-time commands are also received from the house lighting desk using ArtNet data – which alters the color and transparency of the proscenium arch. The projector shutters are also controlled for when the show requires a dark stage,” explained Macpherson.

In speaking about the technology required for this challenging and exciting installation, Magnus Kemp, Lead Consultant at Visual Acuity explains: “Visual Acuity began the consulting, testing and design of projection technology tocover the art deco interior of Radio City Music Hall for this year’s Christmas Spectacular more than a year ago. We supported the efforts of 7thSense Design to coordinate the content from batwin+robin productions and to perfectly work with the design and layout of Digital Projection projectors.”

Linda Batwin O’Donovan, Partner, batwin+robin, adds: “In terms of multimedia design, we had to find creative ways to project imageryonto the art-deco arches of Radio City’s theater. Through 7thSense’s assistance we were able to implement new geometry controls which, in addition to the Mesh Mode, allowed us to feed our 3D models of the arches directly into the Delta Media Server and project the Christmas imagery.”

The process of fine-tuning the Christmas Spectacular continued into rehearsals, with 7thSense Design’s Delta Media Server working with batwin+robin and Visual Acuity to enhance the media such as placing and sizing ‘Dancing Santa’ shadows, and moving media frame-by-frame in time to match the world-famous eye high kicks of the Rockettes.

Ian Macpherson concludes: “This year’s Christmas Spectacular will be the most dynamic production to grace the Great Stage of Radio City, It has been a privilege for 7thSense Design to be associated with the technology companies involved in planning, design and production for a show that has such rich history and tradition. The Christmas Spectacular and the Rockettes have been a New York City holiday staple for 79 years!”