Diriyah Gate opens with visual spectacular
Thursday, 20 February 2020
The World Heritage site is set to attract thousands of tourists
Saudi Arabia - Diriyah Gate is the birthplace of the Saudi Kingdom and was the original home of the Saudi Royal Family. Today, it is a 19th-century UNESCO World Heritage site which is set to attract thousands of tourists as part of Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030. King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and HRH Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud launched the opening ceremony of Diriyah Gate with a visual spectacular show.
CT was called upon by Executive Visions (EVI) to deliver the technical implementation of the striking cinematic projection mapping on the historic site to tell the visual story of the kingdom’s history.
The ancient ruins ‘mud city’ of Diriyah has been restored over the years by the Saudi Royal Family, enabling it to be the centre stage for the production. CT provided 170 Panasonic RZ31 and 21k projectors span across the 350m+ wide projection canvas.
CT were tasked to ensure all visible surfaces across the 350m+ wide canvas was covered to enable content to run smoothly across six content zones.
“We carried out various site visits during the planning phase so we could strategically plan where the projectors would be located. This enabled us to avoid any potential issues early,” says Dan Hughes, CT’s project manager. “As this was a UNESCO world heritage site, we needed to carefully asses where the projector locations could be positioned. We worked closely with our client EVI and the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) to ensure all locations were approved by the DGDA ahead of time.”
CT was tasked to ensure the projectors were not visible or in line with the performance area. This was achieved through Hughes key planning and projection studies on site. CT had a total of 9 independent projector locations spread across the site, and any projector that was in view had a custom enclosure manufactured.
Tom Stocks, CT’s senior engineer, explains: “We needed to cover a 350m+ wide projection canvas that had several uneven surfaces. We strategically placed all projectors to eliminate any shadows and installed an 8 camera PTZ system for full site coverage of every area. This was used for our engineers to assist with the line-up and also distributed around the site for client monitoring. A total of 5x SDI matrixes were used to distribute video signal to all locations around the site, totalling to over 380 independent 3G SDI feeds.”
As it was such a large-scale site, CT required three remote media server locations to eliminate large amounts of fibre runs. This was achieved by installing a fully redundant Riedel MediorNet system and network ring to distribute media server control, content, multiviewer feeds and genlock around the site to each disguise server location.
Hughes continues: “We were faced with many onsite weather challenges due to extreme rain on the days leading up to the show, but thankfully all departments and clients on-site pulled together to ensure the equipment was safe and ready for the event.”
(Jim Evans)

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