Christie Digital Christie Digital

BAFTA 195 Piccadilly

Christie provides a full range of exceptional cinema and AV products, services and solutions

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Photo credit: BAFTA/Scott Garfitt

White Light

London, UK

Cinema

12 x D20WU-HS projectors, Christie Mystique Premium Edition, Christie Pandoras Box + Widget Designer

Secrets of the 360-degree projection at BAFTA

A key part of BAFTA’s stunning redevelopment of its London HQ on 195 Piccadilly, is the huge and beautiful Ray Dolby room, which BAFTA can hire out to provide vital revenue towards their work as a charity nurturing the young film, games and television creators of the future. The amazing space is transformed with 360° projection, night or day, controlled at the touch of a button.

There were numerous challenges. Light floods in from huge windows. The sleek design meant that multiple projectors, alignment cameras and laser markers needed to be hidden in a false ceiling. Furthermore, the room has the Piccadilly line London underground running beneath the building and BAFTA’s theatre directly above creating constant movement of the Mystique cameras, reference markers and Christie projectors, plus the pristine white walls had to be preserved without conventional, visible marks. A suite of Christie products provided the complete AV solution supported by extensive on-site and global technical expertise from specialist teams.

Photo credit: BAFTA/Scott Garfitt
Photo Credit: BAFTA/Clare Hannan
Photo Credit: BAFTA/Clare Hannan, 2023
Photo Credit: BAFTA/Scott Garfitt
Photo Credit: BAFTA/Scott Garfitt

Christie Projection, alignment, media server and content control

BAFTA had chosen Christie because they needed a full range of exceptional cinema and non-cinema AV products and services. The Ray Dolby Room is a perfect example. The installation used 12 HS Series laser projectors because they give fantastic images and laser illumination helped reduce the ventilation issues in the lowered ceiling. The media server is Christie Pandoras Box with the wonderfully intuitive and customisable interface of Widget Designer. Alignment is provided by Christie Mystique Premium Edition which is a very advanced automatic warping and blending solution; both multi-camera and multi-projector it can work on virtually any surface and auto-calibrate each projector in less than two minutes.

“Mystique is incredibly accurate,” explained Thomas Mrozek, product manager of Pandoras Box, also emphasizing the synergy of the products. “Mystique feeds the information to Pandoras Box. The internal coding and communication between Pandoras Box and Mystique are excellent, and Mystique can also communicate directly with the Christie Twist in the projectors so the combination is very flexible in set-up and operation giving the best blend and end-product.”

The building was being totally remodeled so the installers, White Light, worked alongside BAFTA’s technical team, Benedetti Architects and Charcoal Blue the designers through the process. Installing the projectors and cameras in the bespoke lowered ceiling meant White Light and the teams had to continually re-evaluate, at one point cutting away parts of beams to accommodate the equipment. Christie’s on-site team including Pal Roppa, advised on technical issues including the UST lenses which had to be completely concealed behind cut-outs and working out the ventilation required, adding discreet louvred panels within the build. Through the on-site teams, BAFTA was given global access to Christie’s technical experts and product managers.

Local and global technical support from specialist teams

Brian Lambert, Solutions Architect at Christie’s offices in Cypress, California worked out the amount and positioning of all cameras, and the angles and positions needed for the markers on the walls (which you can see on the plan attached), feeding back all measurements. Mystique usually works with LED or laser markers but the pristine walls meant an invisible solution was needed so UV (light) was used. Brian advised remotely. The movement of the building made the realignment function of Mystique critical to the success of the project. Since the laser reference markers were also moving, the team had to come up with a method of keeping a reference point that was invisible on the white walls. In this case, a UV mark was placed on the surface that is only visible with a UV light.

Stunning, client-focussed content with push-button control

Content development and control were absolutely key to give clients bespoke, seamless experiences. Thomas Mrozek was on site for a week early on, later, working out of Cologne. “One of the great benefits of Pandoras Box and Widget Designer is that you can develop pre-determined content solutions. Widget Designer is renowned for being incredibly easy to use and can control any input type so it triggers the controls to, say, videos or lens movements and can be operated without opening up Pandoras Box Software,” he shared. The Cologne team created an interface that gave BAFTA push-button ability to organise content.

The Ray Dolby Room has enormous windows on two sides so blinds were needed to block out the light when projection was running. “The content includes a projection of the white walls with windows and London street scenes behind the blinds to restore the impression of the room when the blinds are down,” added Pal Roppa. “BAFTA can choose to layer in different scenes outside the windows, say if the client wanted to see downtown Tokyo or the countryside outside. Or they can change the mood and project vivid colors on the walls, creating a Star-Trek effect. They can load customer logos, modify views, or, if needed, could change aspect ratios of content to fit the room.” BAFTA also commissioned a truly fantastic night-time skyline of London with glittering lights, also developed remotely in Belgium by a designer using the AI function in Pandoras Box.

The BAFTA AV team received on-site learnings as well as specific training in Mystique and Pandoras Box which will be topped up with further training to provide BAFTA with a super user to give greater flexibility and ability on-site.

“The use of projection across all four walls is quite a sight to see – and to watch the look on the guests’ faces when they see it for the first time. It’s been amazing to see how our clients enjoyed having fun and working with designers to come up with new and interesting ways to change the look of the space” – Stuart Allison, Projectionist at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly

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