Green Hippo maps Auckland Harbour Bridge project
Thursday, 12 July 2018
aucklandThousands of individual LED pixels cover the bridge’s steel lattice work and its main arch
New Zealand - Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour has been transformed by a decade-long artistic project, Vector Lights on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Powered by a mix of solar, battery, and peer-to-peer systems, over 90,000 mappable LED pixels and other fixtures provide a vast, animated canvas for traditional Maori designs, and special celebrations. Green Hippo Karst media servers supplied by Lexair were engaged by Mandylights, who designed, installed and programmed the project. The installation is part of a 10-year smart energy partnership between Vector and Auckland Council.
“This project is one of the physically largest, and of the longest duration, that we’ve done,” said Richard Neville, lighting designer and managing director of Mandylights. “Any media server solution we chose for this project needed to house and present content for a decade, support constant dynamic changes to keep it interesting, and be energy efficient. We also knew that an ongoing relationship with the supplier over 10 years would be critical, so the support network behind it is extremely important.”
Thousands of individual LED pixels cover the bridge’s steel lattice work and its main arch and spread below its road deck. Dedicated wash fixtures are fitted to the underside of the bridge and reflect off the water. All illuminations are controlled via PC and fed by content held and processed by a main and back-up Green Hippo Karst.
“The main technical reason we chose the Green Hippo Karst was its video mapping functionality,” explained Clint Dulieu, technical designer for Mandylights. “We had to take the 4K map of the bridge and condense it to something that could fit into 1080 pixels to go to the LED processors. The Green Hippo is the only product I’m aware of that does that well. The canvas is about 25,000 pixels wide in reality, which we’re compressing into a 4,000 wide video image. The Karsts are giving us the ability to scale pixels to different sizes, and not necessarily in divisible numbers. We worked with Green Hippo in London directly to customise that feature for us.”
“We’re even pixel mapping the wash lights, but not in the usual fashion,” Clint expanded. “We’re controlling them with the video file. When we’re supplied video content that might not be from lighting experts, they can integrate the DMX fixtures into the show by manipulating certain regions of the video file. The Green Hippo Karsts convert that data to DMX, which then goes out via the PC to the fixtures.”
All content is maintained, uploaded, and synced remotely by Mandylights. Green Hippo’s media management system and sync functions ensure consistency between main and back-up.
“We had great support throughout the project, and we’re confident the product will last for 10 years,” confirmed Richard Neville. “We have a great relationship with Australia and New Zealand Green Hippo distributor Lexair, and with Green Hippo staff. The support is fantastic.”
(Jim Evans)

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