18.12.08

Students get hold of 120ft videowall

AUTHOR: Inavate

NYU (New York University) students took over a 120ft videowall in the lobby of an internet giant’s headquarters for their final exams, compelling onlookers to interact with projected content. Pupils, of the university’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), used the massive screen in the lobby of the IAC Building to display their projects.

The IAC conglomerate, which owns numerous internet brands including Ask.com and Ticketmaster, installed the videowall in the lobby of its New York global headquarters. It uses 27 vertically oriented Digital Projection 3 chip DLP projectors firing onto a Stewart Filmscreen translucent screen. Content is linked by Christie’s Vista Spyder software.

NYU projects include birds perched on a 120ft power line that scatter when microphones detect a loud noise and silhouettes combined with the shadows of real actors to create a sinister city street scene.

The students use three dual-head Mac Pros to power the wall. Each machine drives a pair of 16:9 aspect-ratio screens, splitting nine projectors for each head, and creating a resolution of 8160 x 768 pixels.

The students, instructed by Professor Dan Shiffman, use an open source programming language called Processing. Shiffman is the primary author of the “Most Pixels Ever” library, an open-source Java framework for spanning Processing sketches across multiple screens.

Speaking to Gizmodo, the gadget blog, Dan Shiffman said the screen provided a “unique experience”.

“Few people in the world have a chance to work on anything of this scale, and what's great is that I can say to them you can do whatever you want. You learn a ton about technically producing the work, and also what it means visually to work on that scale. I can't imagine that when IAC built that wall that they imagined performances on it with actors casting shadows behind the screen, so that's fantastic.”