An Enchanted Experience: A Saks Fifth Avenue Case Study

On November 24th, 2014, Saks Fifth Ave: An Enchanted Experience, a holiday projection and lighting show co-produced by Integrated Visions Productions and American Christmas Inc, opened to the general public in commemoration of the unveiling of the Saks 2014 holiday windows.  
The opening performance also featured the Rockettes dancing on a closed 5th Ave, as well as a fireworks display by world-famous Grucci Fireworks. The online livestream of the opening event is estimated to have been seen by over 5 million people, and it is estimated that over 25 million people went to see the Saks windows throughout the holiday season. The projection and lighting show was up on reprise every night from 4:30pm-11:30pm from Nov 24 - Jan 5.  
To produce the 2014 edition of the Saks Fifth Avenue holiday architectural display, iconic holiday decorators American Christmas Inc. teamed up with projection mapping innovators Integrated Visions Productions to create a dramatic show that featured the seamless integration of LED and traditional lighting fixtures directly into an architectural projection mapping show on the world-­famous façade of Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York City.  The projections, designed by Integrated Visions Productions, were inspired by the Art-­Deco style and the iconic elements of New York City. An array of 1800 LED nodes from Philips Color Kinetics, as well as strobes, up-­lights, and lit garlands installed by American Christmas accent the projection show, as well as interact with projected elements across the same structural details, blending with and augmenting the projected image to produce stunning results.  

2014 Saks Fifth Avenue "An Enchanted Experience" from Integrated Visions Productions on Vimeo.

To illuminate the façade, live projection experts DWP Live, who provided the projection equipment and support for the production, used Barco 26,000 lumen HD projectors driven by the Coolux Pandora’s Box Media Server. In addition to driving the high-powered projectors, the Pandora’s Box units were also used to send an SMPTE timecode sync signal to the rest of the control architecture, with backup triggering available from the media server via ArtNet.
To synchronize and control all other elements based on the media server’s SMPTE output, Integrated Visions used the incredible Pharos Controls Lighting Playback Controllers. Three Pharos LPC4 units with 12 collective universes of control, 6,144 channels total, utilized DMX, KiNet, and MIDI to control all lighting elements as well as trigger all other control components in complete frame-­‐locked synchronization with the video show, including a digital audio workstation providing playback of the various frame-­‐synced audio tracks. 
Above and beyond triggering and control synchronization, however, the ease of creating pixel matrices in the Pharos Designer software enabled many lighting elements to be designed directly as video layers during media production, integrating video and lighting on a much tighter level. 

Stay tuned for our interview with Danny Whetstone, CEO of DWP Live, and what he has to say about An Enchanted Experience.

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