TDC Shines at Vivid Sydney 2018


This year Vivid Sydney celebrated its tenth anniversary. Owned, managed and produced by the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, Vivid Sydney is the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas. It takes place annually, and features immersive light installations with performances from local and international artists as well as an ideas exchange forum featuring public talks and debates from leading creative thinkers. 

A supporter of Vivid Sydney for many years, TDC provided record breaking video services and innovation across the major precincts at 10 locations: Sydney Opera House, Customs House, ASN Co, The Old ES Bank and Police Station, Government House, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cadmans Cottage, Chatswood Concourse, Samsung – “The Night. Reimagined.” and the Sydney Harbour Bridge South Pylon.


Photo: TDC

Project design team and key tech:

  • Over 30 technical staff working full time
  • 70 video projectors, with brightness up to 40,000 lumens
  • 20 million pixels - equivalent to over 60 IMAX screens
  • Total light output of 1,750,000 ANSI lumens brightness
  • 11 kilometers of projection
  • 22 media servers 
  • Three different automation platforms servers running on unique software code 
  • 20 kilometers of signal and power cables
  • All sites remotely monitored with realtime “TDC Live View” remote reporting 24/7


Photo: TDC

The centrepiece of Vivid Sydney 2018 was Metamathemagical, which saw celebrated Australian artist Jonathan Zawada commemorate Vivid Sydney’s tenth anniversary with the creation of a site-specific artwork that transforms the world-renowned Sydney Opera House sails into a series of kinetic digital sculptures. 

Laser-projected images were delivered onto the 9,000 square metre sails for the first time. The projectors feature 4K/UltraHD resolution; that’s four times the number of pixels of HD, and means that they deliver 138,240,000 pixels to the sails – equivalent to four IMAX screens – with startling clarity and colour fidelity. 

Projections were finalised mostly in the pre-production phase, so everything was built before they turned up on site, which reduced down time.This year, TDC designed a new outdoor projector housing solution that was resistant to high winds, and that could operate reliably close to salt water and at low temperatures.

“In creating the Sydney Opera House projections project, a 3D model was constructed and by using a disguise media server, we were able to visualise the content playback with the animators in the preproduction phase,” said Steve Cain, Head Engineer & Media Server Specialist at TDC. “I used a collection of features that disguise media servers offer, such as Texture Masking, Deformation Layers, Projector Calibration and Colour Shift options. Also the real time work flow let me sit with the Jonathan Zawada and colour grade the content live on the sails of the Sydney Opera House. We also used the Multi Editor feature, to allow a couple of us to line up the building simultaneously reducing the projector line up time to just a few hours.

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