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Excellence Awards 2014
Video Projection Services for The Royal Australian Navy's International Fleet Review Spectacular

Video Projection Services for The Royal Australian Navy's International Fleet Review Spectacular

Achieving the very first double-sided projection onto the epic proportions of Australia's iconic Sydney Opera House as well as onto the pylons of Sydney Harbour Bridge was by no means a small challenge for any technology company.  

Australia was celebrating the first entry of the national Australian fleet into Sydney Harbour one hundred years ago and re-telling the story for the Royal Australian Navy's International Fleet Review Spectacular. The biggest event to happen at Sydney Harbour for years, The International Fleet Review was held from 3-11 October 2013.

To create such a visual spectacular, expert video specialists, TDC worked for months of planning and testing with creative communications company, Imagination Australia to design and realise the brightest projection ever delivered.

The video projection was combined with stunning fireworks launched from seven warships. There was lighting from 28 land and ship locations plus live action on board ships culminating in an aerial fly past from the Royal Australian Airforce that was enjoyed by the millions lining the foreshore.

The video projection systems were designed to be failsafe, robust and brighter than ever before. TDC provided 56 projectors aided by specialist lenses for calibration and mapping, media software and servers along with transmission and rigging for projectors. TDC engineers planned the systems and programmed the visual content prior to the event. Challenges to the system design were the restriction to projector location and sheer distance of up to 700 meters away including having projectors located on the other side of Sydney Harbour projecting on to the Sydney Opera House – which had not been done before.

Through the use of 3D modelling of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons TDC were able to determine the most efficient use of projectors, to achieve TDC’s goals of high-resolution projection while maximising the projected light output for this event.

The 3D models were then used to create pixel templates for the creative team to work with. Once the creative team had produced test content the templates were checked against location photographs.

The challenges overcome on this project included designing a new video technical infrastructure for both sides of the buildings, working to tight time scales and limited ability to influence architectural impact, achieving the brightness and managing the number of projectors. A projector challenge was less than optional distances and positioning.

For the event, load-in and out was over 5 nights between 1 and 4am, which reduced the time for on-site preparation. Technology rehearsal took place three nights ahead of the event where the timecode was tested. All testing was done in the early hours of the morning. In addition, TDC focused and aligned the projectors using generated power.

All TDC projectors and technologies go through a stringent quality control process and are checked, maintained at optimum operating level, tested and calibrated at TDC’s Sydney headquarters prior to going out on-site. TDC invests in education of engineering staff and employs a highly skilled workforce.

The project sets a benchmark for what can be done with architectural projection mapping.


Project design team

Imagination Australia – creative communications agency
Technical Direction Company – video services and equipment supply

Key equipment used

56 Barco projectors including models FLM-HD20, HDF-W26 and HDQ-2K40 and specialist lenses
Dataton WATCHOUT™ multi-image and display software and 26 computer servers
Reidel MediorNet fibre optic media signal distribution and processin.
All stock comes from TDC’s ever growing technology inventory

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