LED, projection and lighting transform Abu Dhabi media zone

When production company twofour54 moved to a new home on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island it wanted to make sure the exterior of the new facility was as engaging, innovative and creative as the work going on inside.

In 2021, Abu Dhabi media and entertainment production company and media free zone twofour54 moved to a new permanent home on Yas Island. The 95,000 sq m facility, developed and built by real estate company Aldar, incorporates state-of-the-art offices, TV studios and retail.

Conveying the creativity, innovation and content development going on within the Yas Creative Hub to visitors and passers by outside was important and incorporated in the design of the building is an open-air atrium with a seating area that faces a 435 sq m wall.

Spotting the wall as a potential canvas for content, twofour54 and Aldar engaged the services of 3S Lighting Solutions, a creative lighting specialist that has worked on prestigious projects including the exterior of the Burj Khalifa and World Expo’s Al Wasl plaza.

“They wanted to use the wall to make the space more attractive and share the messages to visitors and people using the area,” explains Fayas Babu, COO of 3S Lighting Solutions. “Also the plan is to celebrate special occasions and play customised content for different celebrations.”

3S Lighting Solutions moved forward with a central LED screen supported with lighting effects on the surrounding building façade and projection mapping on the sides of the building facing main roads, targeting people driving by.

There were several factors making installation and operation of the technologies a challenge for the 3S Lighting Solutions team. A team of 25 people including designers, engineers, project managers and technicians were deployed to ensure a good outcome.

It also engaged the services of consultancy IAD which was brought in to design the projection studies and the video synoptic. IAD also oversaw the installation of the projection mapping system and developed the CMS for the projection mapping system, which included a schedular for all servers.

“When 3S Lighting introduced me to the Media Zone project, some of the biggest challenges with the mapping were the projectors’ distance to the glass, projecting onto glass and meeting the minimum LUX level requirements,” says Robert Cole, CEO of IAD. “Also, limited projection space creates a challenging geometer for digital warping and LUX level roll-off due to pixel stretch.”

After extensive testing of glass that would maintain LUX levels and colour, IAD settled on an adhesive product from 3M that also had 50% opacity so it didn’t obstruct the view for tenants in the office space in the day.

Twenty-seven Digital Projection M-Vision 21k projectors were installed, powered by an AV Stumpfl Pixera media server system. The architectural design of the Yas Creative Hub incorporates six towers and projection mapping is delivered on four surfaces of those towers.

“Due to the budget and to maximise the mapping solution, we found that the 21K models with red laser was the best price point to meet the LUX level requirement for the canvas size,” adds Cole.

“Pixera manages the projection mapping, the control of the projectors, and the CMS / scheduler,” he continues. “We decided to go with Pixera’s new internal control system that provides a web interface for the CMS and projector control. It also gives feedback on projector health and enclosure health.”

Signal extension was handled by a Lightware optical fibre extension system with HDMI20-OPTJ-TX90 transmitters and HDMI20-OBTJ-RX90 receivers, housed in an OPTJ PowerTray.

Disguise’s Mapping Matter web based creative tool helped the IAD team simulate and plan the projections.

A 10mm pixel pitch LED screen from King Aurora was installed on the side facade of the building. Power and data cables were connected to a rack in a separate control room housing a media player and controllers.

“For the screen the major challenge was the height of the building,” continues Babu. “Our team was working for four weeks to prepare the access and install it. Another challenge is the very harsh weather conditions in the UAE with summer temperatures raising up to 50C and electronic components overheating. The solution was to use very durable high-quality products that are tested for local weather conditions. In addition, the wind load was very heavy as the screen is installed in the open area. Our structural engineers calculated the local wind load and installation has been done as per structural calculations.”

For the lighting installation 3S Lighting Solutions deployed YYZ LWWPRO linear wallwasher pro series and GVA Lighting Lira spot and flood LED lights.

“Both lights have DMX protocol and work through a single controller,” says Babu. “They are connected through a single loop. The system is connected through the building’s VLAN network. It was the first time 3S had connected the data for the lights in such a manner.”

3S Lighting Solutions programmed the lighting system and projection mapping to work automatically, with a timer set to start the show at 6pm every day, and turn off lighting and projection at 1am. The screen can also be controlled automatically if the facilities management team at TwoFour54 wants.

“With the large LED screen, dynamic façade lighting and projection mapping on four different sides of the block, the entries space was enhanced and activated, and it became more attractive and easier to recognise as a major landmark,” says Babu.

3S Lighting Solutions is already working with TwoFour54 and Aldar to plan another screen in the same area and install additional lighting on the surrounding buildings with work set to begin in the next six months.

Tech-Spec
Lighting

GVA Lighting spot and flood LED lights
YYZ LWWPRO linear wallwasher pro series

Video
AV Stumpfl Pixera media server system
Digital Projection M-Vision 21k projectors
Disguise Mapping Matter
King Aurora 10mm LED display
Lightware HDMI20-OPTJ-TX90 and HDMI20-OBTJ-RX90 extenders, and OPTJ PowerTray


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