Protec sees BlackTrax advantage
UAE: Dubai-based rental house, Production Technology (Protec), recently supplied a complex BlackTrax real-time motion tracking solution for the Hamdan bin Mohammed Programme for Smart Government awards – HbMPSG.
For the HbMPSG Awards, Protec used a 5m x 5m rotating cube structure hanging above a 22m diameter circular stage, during the ceremony the cube pitched forward, rotated and lifted up and down. The cube was tracked using BlackTrax realtime motion tracking and integrated with d3 Technologies 4x4pro media servers. Additionally BlackTrax tracked two 13m x 14m pieces of jigsaw-shaped scenery located around the edge of the stage that were used as a projection canvas. These tracked around the cube during the ceremony.
This was the first project to use 6D tracking on this scale in the EMEA region. BlackTrax not only tracks XYZ positions, which is the regular 3D positional information, but will also track Yaw, Pitch and Roll for rotation in any direction. This means that objects can move, spin, rotate in 6DoF (six Degrees of Freedom) and still be tracked.
‘We chose BlackTrax specifically for this project, because we knew it was the only solution that would work,’ said Protec lighting designer, Aaron Russ. ‘We needed to track each surface of the cube and jigsaw so we could project on all surfaces as they moved during the show. To do this, we added four BlackTrax beacons into the cube, each with two stringers for a total of eight tracking points. We placed one tracking point on each corner, so that we had complete coverage of all sides of the cube. We then placed the BlackTrax Beacons at the top of the cube for easy access, and ran stringer extensions down to connect the tracking points to the beacon. For the jigsaw pieces we used three beacons in each piece. The BlackTrax cameras were hung on an angle so that they could see over the jigsaw pieces and be able to track all eight corners of the cube.’
BlackTrax streamed realtime positional information via high-speed protocol (RTTrPM) to the d3 media server. This was able to construct a rigid body cube in the media server design tool that behaved and moved like the real cube, in realtime by using the positional information received from BlackTrax.
‘We used the d3 media server to create a virtual representation of the stage set including the cube and jigsaw,’ explained Mr Russ. ‘Even if five tracking points were obscured, we could rely on only three tracking points and still be able to track the entire cube. This was because the clever d3 system understood the object as whole, instead of six individual screens.’
The content for the awards ceremony was created using live camera feeds of award winners, audience members and custom created graphics and videos. Along with the BlackTrax and d3, Protec also supplied 32 Christie HD20K J Series projectors to create the visuals along with the complete audio, lighting and rigging solution.
‘Set up and integration with the video servers was really easy. Everyone was very impressed with what BlackTrax did,’ said Mr Russ. ‘d3 and BlackTrax experts were on hand to help with set up. They were great guys and knew their products. We’d happily have them back over again for future projects.
‘We are the only company in the Middle East able to offer realtime motion tracking that really works,’ concluded Mr Russ. ‘BlackTrax is the next step forward as far as technology goes. The creativity that it can unlock and what it allows you to achieve in terms of lighting and video are beyond anything else out there before BlackTrax. BlackTrax is an amazing bit of technology and the spectacular results of the HbMPSG prove its unrivalled performance!’