View a video of the opening presentation which takes place moments before the Canucks hit the ice by clicking here.
Established in 1970, the Vancouver Canucks now call the 475,000 square foot Rogers Arena home. Already well-respected as the official ice hockey venue during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the Canucks brand and creative team wanted to set a new, and largely unchartered, direction for the venue. Led by creative director Mark Raham, the Canucks contacted Epic Production Technologies to discuss large-scale imagery solutions for the venue. Given the numerous installation details to consider, as well as the large surface area that needed to be illuminated, Larry Darling, VP of Sales for Epic Production Technologies, suggested Digital Projection International's (DPI) high-brightness projectors.
After initially selecting lower lumen displays, four 30,000 lumen LIGHTNING 45 sx+ displays were eventually chosen. The Canucks couldn't be more pleased, as Raham remarked, "We're so glad we went with the higher lumen displays because they have so much visual punch. We're discovering new ways to use them every time we work with them." The LIGHTNING displays are used in conjunction with Hippotizer servers and a Datapath X4 processor to project a blended and mapped 200' x 80' image on the ice. To add dimension and scale, the ice projections are complemented by four hanging scrims, reaching four storeys in height, creating a vertical projection surface above each corner of the ice surface.
In order for the projected imagery to fit within the frame of the rink, the projectors needed to be installed above the ice, as close to each center half of the ice as possible. This presented a challenge, however, as the LIGHTNING displays also had to be installed low enough to shoot under a massive clock. Furthermore, the projectors had to dodge lighting trusses, banners and other suspended accessories. It was decided that the LIGHTNING displays would be installed 90' above the ice, enlisting the integrated pitch, roll and yaw adjustments found in DPI's RapidRig rigging frames. The expanded lens shift capabilities inherent in the LIGHTNING platform continue to aid the team in precisely mapping their graphics to the ice surface.
With such powerful displays in their creative arsenal, the Canucks production team are regularly discovering new ways to, as Raham describes, "make the venue itself an all-encompassing, immersive experience." To date, attendees will experience an approximately 10-12 minute custom-created pre-game ceremony, including imagery shown during national anthems. Additionally, at key moments in the game when action on the ice has paused, the displays reveal imagery mapped to specific surface details on the ice, such as boundary lines and logos. A massive light show occurs at the end of each intermission, enlisting the projectors to elevate the intensity level of the crowd with rock-concert styled effects. A final application includes the three stars presentation at the end of the game, with custom graphics accentuating the awards ceremony.
Darling and Raham are both elated with the impact the projectors have already made. According to Darling, "The upgraded fan experience really stood out during last year's playoffs. TV broadcasters started to show the venue as soon as they possibly could so that they could show off the imagery." Raham agrees, stating, "Our initial goal was to take the Canucks fan experience to the next level by making the venue come alive. Our fans expect and deserve to have an amazing experience every time they walk in the arena. We've had a great response so far and we can't wait to unveil our next ideas."
Many thanks to Larry Darling and the Epic team, as well as Mark Raham and everyone at Rogers Arena, for insisting on the world's most powerful precision displays in such a compelling installation.
Producer: Canucks Sports & Entertainment
Creative Director: Mark Raham
Visual FX and Post Production: The Sequence Group
Lighting and Visual Design: Kurt Wagner
Technology Solutions and Integration: Epic Production Technologies