Avolites Ai Hits GaiaNova

Photo: GaiaNova Productions

The Samsung Hypercube toured its 360 Infinity Selfie Experience to the Boardmasters, Bestival and Reading festivals in 2017, with Avolites’ Ai media control at the heart of its complex technical infrastructure.

Containing a reflective panelled interior separated by strips of colour changing LED and a 27m x 1m continuous wrap-around LED video screen, the Hypercube immersed audiences into a 360° infinite display of light and colour. Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 smartphone acted as a control interface, allowing visitors to influence the cube’s audio and infinite visual effects created through its multiple reflective surfaces.

“We were tasked with delivering the technology and functionality to make the concept of the project’s developers, Iris Worldwide, and its creative director, Ross Cairns, a reality,” said Ben Stern of GaiaNova Productions, the company that managed the technical production of the Hypercube.

Working with a number of collaborators, GaiaNova developed the Hypercube’s integrated, automated playback system using Avolites’ Ai media server software. The company’s creative partner Immersive developed the consumer-facing applications, including the interactivity control app, sign up app and control system apps. Immersive also developed the back-end system for the upload and distribution of media to the audience who took part. In addition, there was a 360° camera setup with a back-end system for live stitching the images from multiple cameras, provided by Focal Point VR.

Stern said: “The whole system was controlled by hosts within the space. The control app sent triggers to audio playback which then sent MIDI over IP commands to Ai and to the 360° camera stitching/record system to create the video and still media. Our team even automated the upload process with another MIDI cue from audio playback using a little macro program called TinyTask.”

The project was built using Ai version 10 software, while onsite GaiaNova used Avolites Miami dongles to run Ai on high spec, custom-built laptops that the company maintains as part of its hire stock. The show used 2 Ai outputs, one for the LED Video Flex system provided by Light Initiative and another for the LED screen panels provided by Video Illusions.

Stern added: “We were able to use the UV mapping/3D visualiser in Ai to demo the content to the client and help them understand different looks, both prior to the project and onsite during the installation. It also helped us to size the playback media efficiently within a standard video clip size.”

The team also had the opportunity to ‘play’ with the system, as Stern explained: “A number of new ideas were introduced during the tour, including a ‘party’ where, instead of playing back a single edited video to accompany a track, we were asked to VJ. We were able to produce a series of VJ clips, attach a MIDI controller and VJ the show.”

On another occasion, at Bestival, the Hypercube was used to shoot a music video for Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes. Stern continued: “We were able to add new content and slave the Ai to timecode from our audio playback system, allowing the music video production team to have tight playback of the content for multiple takes.”

He added: “It was also great that Light Initiative used Ai as part of their workflow, allowing us to interface simply with their custom LED control system.” Asked about Avolites’ renowned technical support, Stern said: “We didn’t need any for this project! We regularly use Ai and support others with their projects. In fact, GaiaNova has been using Ai since its early development.”