Creative Technology: V-J Day 75

Supporting BBC’s epic V-J Day 75

Honouring the 75th anniversary of victory over Japan, the BBC filmed a spectacular televised tribute at the expansive Horse Guards Parade in London. Using the ornate architecture as the backdrop, show integrator Creative Technology chose VYV UK to ensure that the projections were spot-on.

Behind a military band, a choir, and soloists, 154 million pixels from 69 projectors, all controlled by 13 PHOTON multimedia servers, lit up the Horse Guards Parade buildings.

Haunting photographs and film clips of British soldiers in Asia, veterans’ testimonials, and animations interpreting songs of love, captivity, and solidarity illustrated the hardships and triumphs of war for the people of today.

Putting together this massive show in four weeks during a global pandemic was a challenge, although the VYV UK team are no strangers to tight timelines. Steps that usually occur in sequence had to run in parallel since every team needed to get started straight away. PHOTON made it possible to ensure that content created using quick-to-generate perspective UV maps could be fit onto the detailed 3D models built using high-precision LIDAR scans.

PHOTON’s previsualization capabilities, which allow you see straightaway if anything is out of kilter, was key. It also enabled the teams to program during the day without the projectors which meant that the content creators had the maximum amount of time to perfect their animations.

For VYV UK Director Anthony “Bez” Bezencon, this was the first large-scale show since the start of COVID-19, and he used the opportunity to keep pushing the tech forward. For this project, he decided to add detailed network monitoring. From one single machine, he was able to keep an eye on every last piece of equipment in the network, right down to the power supplies, to see important information like how much power was being drawn, temperature, humidity, etc.

One night, the site was hit by heavy rain that caused a small failure. Thanks to the network motoring, the team was able to identify the problem straightaway without anyone having to hunt for where the fault was. Being able to go right to it saved everyone a lot of time and worry.

Describing the experience of helping bring this ground-breaking television event to life during a pandemic, Bez shared, “Even during the toughest times, we can do it. I’ve been working on big shows for a long time and there’s still something special about going out and seeing that WOW. And it’s a privilege to be involved in V-J day honoring the veterans, especially an event like this that was enjoyed by so many BBC viewers.”

  • Client:

    BBC Studios Events + Ministry of Defence

  • Project Manager:

    Paul Seeger (CT)

  • Project Engineer - Projection and system design:

    Will Harkin (CT)

  • Photon Operator:

    Neal Mackay (CT)

  • Network Engineer:

    Samual Gough (CT)

  • HOD Projection:

    Matt Mark (CT)

  • Head of Technical Services:

    Tom Burford (CT)

  • Production company:

    Kate Dawkins Studio

  • Content Creative Director:

    Kate Dawkins

  • Content Senior Producer:

    Diana Henry

  • Content Project Manager:

    Jayne Hobart

  • Lead content Design:

    Kate Dawkins

  • Additional Content Design:

    Roxanne Silverwood and Catherine Woodhouse

  • Technical lead for Kate Dawkins Studio:

    Martin Stacey

  • Animators:

    Martin Stacey, Sam Williams, Neil Evan, Alex Beaumont, Al Liddell, Catherine Woodhouse, Liam Corner, Stuart Sinclair

  • When:

    Filmed 25th- 31st July, broadcasted August 15th

  • Where:

    HGP London

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