On 7th June 2009, citizens from the 27 Member States of the European Union elected 736 MEPs to the European Parliament. To coincide with the seventh elections in the EU's history, Christie drew upon its technological expertise to set the stage for the largest transnational elections ever held.
The gauntlet laid down by the European Parliament's Directorate-Generate for Communication was to temporarily transform the amphitheatre of the Brussels Parliament into a unique venue for an interactive press conference with political party leaders during the eagerly-awaited results of the European elections across Europe and the world for 7th June 2009.
In addition to converting a venue that currently plays host to a third of all parliamentary sessions for the EU's 27 Member States, the project had to maintain all the spirit of a parliamentary amphitheatre while offering every participant a modern-day interactive and visual space.
DBVideo Production, responsible for equipping the event with multiple cameras, projectors and screens, called on the expertise of Christie's longstanding partner in Belgium, ADC Productions, whose challenge was to create the "main projection", provide the technical resources for producing the imagery and scenic decor, and manage the entire multi-window system - a key part of the viewing experience.
Some 250 square metres of projection space were required to ensure that every spectator would be able to see the event from anywhere within the amphitheatre. The system delivered a multi-window display of the stage featuring the various participants, as well as live images from Paris, Berlin, Strasbourg, Madrid and London. The streams from the different duplex transmissions were managed and provided by EBU, the European Broadcasting Union.
The 55 metre long and 4.5-metre high arc-shaped screen was illuminated by eight Christie Roadster S+20K projectors boasting a power of 20 000 lumens. "Considering the setting, the power of the Roadster S+20K projectors delivered images without any stray light," explains Daniel Van Ruyssevelt, CEO of ADC Production. To achieve their mission of creating seamless images on an arcing surface with pixel-by-pixel alignment, the Roadster S+20K projectors were equipped with Christie's proprietary Twist technology. "We used the latest version to date of the Twist cards, which made the work a lot easier in terms of defining the settings and using the software for managing the Twist cards," stresses Daniel Van Ruyssevelt. To achieve a symmetrically duplicated projection from the centre of the screen to each extremity, 16 windowed streams had to be overlaid on a visual bearing the legend "European Elections" with a Dataton WatchOut system combining three HD streams. "To manage the duplicate streams, two sets (a camera mix and a divergent) and six EBUs, as well as create the pixel space, we used four Christie Vista Spyder video processors: a 362, a 380 and two 344s," advises Daniel Van Ruyssevelt, before confiding: "we only use Vista Spyder widescreen projectors and switchers. The experience showed that the equipment clearly lived up to its reputation for reliability and technological performance."
The system was initially intended to be used just once during the election evening, but was also used as news points for US television stations. To provide the different American journalists covering the event during the night with a set, the system played a loop of the different MEPs voting. During a 24-hour period, Christie's technological products delivered a decor for a European-wide event broadcast to millions of viewers worldwide.