7thSense Design has delivered updated video technology for the 2017 production of the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes, presented by Chase. The full system technology upgrade has transformed the world’s largest proscenium theater and has enabled video content to be displayed on all eight of the venue’s iconic proscenium arches. 7thSense has provided video systems for Radio City since 2011.
A total of thirty-four 7thSense Infinity Media Servers output two channels each of single mode fiber 12G-SDI at 4096 x 2160 60fps 10-bit 4:2:2 resolution, for a display that envelops the entire theater and audience in an uncompressed, high frame rate video experience.
For the first time ever, digital projections extend from the stage to all eight of Radio City Music Hall’s iconic ceiling arches, to help audiences feel immersed in the show. An expanded 36-channel bank of double-stacked Christie Boxer 4K30 projectors receive the server feeds for projection mapping, and four channels reach a brand new 8K x 4K LED wall with BOE tiles and VER Revolution M8 processors, spanning 94 x 43ft which provides a critical digital backdrop for the production.
“Being a company known for their niche in high resolution, high frame-rate, uncompressed frame-based video playback, 7thSense is accustomed to dealing with larger amounts of data than your average video playback system. However, this being a 90-minute show which includes 14K x 14K uncompressed master deliverables for many scenes, at 500MB per frame and 60 frames per second – it demanded carefully planned, high speed, high capacity storage and transfer methods. We’re delivering 11.2 billion pixels per second to the projection system alone,” explains Ken Showler, Experience Director at 7thSense Design and project lead.
Along with the integrated system design, 7thSense developed key new software features to bolster workflow:
7thSense Design installed their new Distributive Programming Mode (DPM) feature, enabling programming of the thirty-seven server system from a single timeline, configured as a master pre-visualisation server with two control servers and thirty-four endpoint servers – a technology designed for live events and shows to facilitate simple control and management over complex multi-channel systems. Combined with the new 7thSense Backpack application, DPM allows propagation of media and timelines to all other servers simultaneously.
“We’re proud to have been called upon by The Madison Square Garden Company to support such a prestigious, flagship project,” says Showler. “Working with a challenging timeline in a venue that was concurrently hosting concerts and events throughout the video installation meant that we all had to continuously adapt. So many creative and technically innovative people have been involved in this – it’s a true milestone for our company.”
The 7thSense Design media server and management system is permanent, yet reconfigurable, to allow for touring artists and productions to integrate alternative projection and audio hardware for full flexibility and venue rental opportunities.
Design studio Obscura Digital is behind the new creative elements that envelop the theatre. batwin + robin productions, a New York-based multimedia design studio, has re-created and enhanced existing video projection and LED content to utilise Radio City’s new projection system. 7thSense contracted Pro Sound & Video as partner in fit-out and installation of the equipment.