Rooms with a view

AUTHOR: Inavate

Turn-key visualisation technology supplier Cyviz, has been serving the specialist high-resolution needs of the Oil & Gas and industrial sectors since 1998. In 2007, the company opened the Cyviz Technology Centre as a showcase for its talents.

Established in 1998 as an R&D outfit specialising in high resolution visualisation products for the Oil & Gas industry, Cyviz has evolved over the years. Making the transition from manufacturer of enabling technologies to turn-key solutions company has necessitated a shift in emphasis and this culminated in 2007 with the unveiling of the company’s first Technology Centre in Stavanger - the epicentre of Norway’s crucial oil and gas industry.

The demonstration suite was designed to showcase Cyviz’s range of turn-key solutions to potential customers, in partnership with their key technology suppliers. From the outset it was a co-operative project with those partners and the space is also available to them to bring clients in and show-off their products. The key technology providers are Tandberg, Crestron, fellow Norwegians projectiondesign, PC suppliers Hewlett Packard and computer graphics giant Nvidia.

In situating the CTC in a building already occupied by important clients such as Statoilhydro and Gaz de France. Cyviz have provided ready access to their solutions to the market place.

Upon entry to the suite, the visitor is greeted by a reception area dominated by a full-wall photo of one of the areas most striking views – the Lyse Fjord. Background music is provided by Bose ceiling speakers, a pair of DS16F ceiling speakers coupled with a 100F full range ceiling unit is powered by a Marantz PM7001 amp.

The first demonstration area is named Gravakke, which takes the form of a 40-seat auditorium equipped with Cyviz’s Bizwall solution. The luxury eating arrangement faces a giant 6 x 1.8m projection screen supplied by Stewart Filmscreen, which when matched with three of projectiondesign’s F3 units acts a single, edge blended, desktop display with a total resolution of 3.7 megapixels. The projectors are modified to include Cyviz’s own xêd digital blending electronics, which are tailored to the projectiondesign units to optimise the display characteristics. Each pixel in the overlap area is individually processed by the electronics to provide optimal blending curves.

The primary video source is the HP computer fitted with a pair of Nvidia Quattro FX5500 graphics cards, however the equipment rack also features a Pioneer DVD player for additional content.

The room is also fitted with a Tandberg 6000 MXP videoconferencing codec and a pair of PrecisionHD motorised PTZ cameras. One is located on the front wall to provide shots of the audience with the second mounted on one side to focus on a presenter. Cyviz use an RGB Spectrum Mediawall 2500 processor to provide PiP arrangements of the videoconference feed on the screen, and there are a number of pre-set screen layouts and camera positions, which can be flicked between via the Crestron TPMC 8X touch panel and rack mounted CP2E controller.

Sound reinforcement in the auditorium is again provided by Bose. A 5.1 system has been installed using MA12 line array speakers for the left / right and surround channels, with a pair of MB4 subs providing bass support. The centre channel is covered by a solitary 802 cabinet. The set up is driven by a Bose Entero 8800 amplifier with DSP provided by a ControlSpace ESP-88 unit. A Marantz SR6001 is used as the surround sound decoder.

Cyviz’s second “proof of concept” demonstration is the Granitt room. This showcases the Clusterwall solution – Cyviz’s ultra high resolution offering. In this particular example the display is a rear-projection screen situated in front of a boardroom style table, intended to allow executives to discuss and collaborate over high-resolution visualisations of a number of different data types. Whilst only being 3.8m x 1.9m in size, the display still musters up a total resolution of 6.3 megapixels derived from a linked array of 6 projectiondesign F3 projectors. These are mounted on a bespoke aluminium structure using Cyviz’s special projector alignment unit for precise positioning.

Cyviz hardware again provides the processing required to split the video signal accurately across the six projectors. In this case the xpo.3 processor, which carries out image linking and picture in picture functions.

In the Granitt room, it is also possible to switch between Windows and Linux operating environments, an important feature for many of Cyviz’s client who are not tied to a particular OS. The operating systems each have a dedicated PC, and their video outputs can be seamlessly switching from the Crestron TPS-4000 panel on the boardroom table. This touch panel also allows switching of layouts in the same way as in the Gravakke auditorium. Using Cyviz’s own software running on the Windows XP PC, it is also possible to dynamically resize any of the PiP windows on the fly, making the display more flexible than if one was simply relying on pre-sets.

Bose loudspeakers are mounted in the ceiling tiles at the front of the room, for sound reproduction from the Tandberg VC codec, and audio pickup in the room is from a couple of ceiling-suspended microphones above the table. In the table itself there are input tanks with power outlets, network connection ports and VGA inputs allowing laptops to be plugged into the visualisation system if necessary.

The final, and perhaps most exciting stop on the CTC tour is the so-called Stereo-room, known as Sandstein. This houses an implementation of Cyviz’s Vizwall passive stereographic 3D solution. This application is often used for the analysis of seismic data in 3D by the oil and gas fraternity and relies on the use of polarising “3D Glasses”. The system runs on an array of three pairs of projectiondesign F3s creating a 3.8 x 1.6m display at 3230 x 1400 pixels. In common with the other rooms the screen was specially supplied by Stewart Filmscreen as a single sheet. It actually had to be craned into the site because, unlike the other rooms, it is a solid screen.

The solid versions offer a number of advantages over their flexible friends. Firstly there is better sound isolation from the projectors, which when you have six of them is a good thing, no matter how quiet they are engineered to be. Solid screens also give sharper images, which is important in stereo 3D, and are less prone to damage. However there are drawbacks, namely the aforementioned issues with installation, and the fact that colour reproduction is not perfect.

In order to create the 1400 pixel high display, instead of blending two banks of projectors, in this case the solution is to mount the projectors at 90’ to the normal and use the usually horizontal resolution to create the vertical on the projection surface.

The display can in fact operate either in a stereographic or 2D mode, via motorised blanks, which mask one set of projectors when the stereo functionality is not required. In the same manner as the Granitt suite, it is also possible to rapidly switch between the Linux or Windows XP operating environments by selecting the output from the appropriate PC.

As a showcase for Cyviz’s capabilities the CTC is an undoubted success, the ability to demonstrate technology in the flesh to potential and existing clients has proved invaluable since it opened in 2007. The concept has been so successful that Cyviz is undertaking two more similar projects this year. The first will be the CTC in Houston, Texas, due to open in May, followed by another in Dubai, which is expected to open in the Autumn. Cyviz truly is going global.