Vivid 2016

Bigger and better, Vivid 2016 — ‘world’s biggest festival of light, music and ideas’ — attracted 2.3 million people. This is AV Asia Pacific’s special Vivid Wrap, with exclusive content and access.


29 August 2016


Initially, audiences were intrigued by the coloured lights that ‘washed’ the city’s buildings and the early iterations of mapped building projections and light sculptures. Fast forward eight years and we are now talking about serious technology being used by artists to create new works that transcend Sydney. Due to the popularity of the Vivid Light Walk, Vivid is now Australia’s largest and most popular event attracting an audience of over 2.3 million people [2016], we are able to showcase the very latest in technology for suppliers. I’ve noticed that the artists installations are becoming more sophisticated with the ‘buy-in’ from technology companies and lighting suppliers. This combination makes for a technologically advanced, creative light festival.


Vivid was originally created to drive traffic to Sydney at its lowest season. Some of our stakeholders such as hotels describe Vivid as being 23 nights of NYE, but without the drunks! We bring in an enormous amount of tourist expenditure. The influx of people into Sydney is just enormous.

We wanted to establish Sydney as the creative hub of the Asia Pacific region and we are doing that in no uncertain terms. The proportion of creative industries has grown to 43 percent of the local economy. In NSW, the creative industry creates more wealth than agriculture and mining combined.

We’re known as the clever country with an innovation economy, but no one is doing anything about it as much as Vivid. We are out there to promote the creative industry, to get the wider public interested in the industry.


A new Reality Viewing Platform uses Huawei’s latest smartphones and tablets in an augmented reality experience at Custom House with visuals created by Spinifex Group. After conducting a site survey of Customs House at Sydney Harbour, TDC created a 3D model of the building to plan a giant projection area of 32m by 18m. Spinifex Group delivered a six-minute action packed animation that maps to the building, using its intricate architecture, as well as additional content only visible through the Huawei devices positioned on a podium in front of the projection tower, creating a Augmented Reality experience.

Cyril De Baecque, Managing Director at Spinifex Group said: “The app allowed the phones to display an overlay of content on top of the camera viewfinder. TDC worked with our interactive department to synchronise the content using the world clock so that the projection on the building aligns with the content on the Huawei devices.”

TDC: tdc.com.au
Spinifex Group: spinifexgroup.com


For the first time, Vivid Sydney incorporates Taronga Zoo Centenary Celebrations.

Visitors were welcomed by a grand projection onto the façade of Taronga’s heritage listed main entrance building. Ample Projects’ eight-minute long projection show and 3D mapping has been created by its award winning artists and the projection technology and mapping provided by TDC. 

Steve Cain added: “We’re projecting onto the ground to add depth using bugs and critters. Due to the nature of sculptures and trees, we’re using ultra-short-throw lenses on our projectors. It was technically challenging from that point of view. We used Ample Projects’ 3D modelling for the entire site prior to the project using the d3 4by4pro Media Server and the results speak for themselves.”

Mandylights lit almost a mile-long pathway throughout the zoo using nearly a thousand lighting fixtures — everything from custom-made laser arrays through to Clay Paky Sharpies and over a hundred big outdoor LED units. Mandylights also assisted in creating some of the amazing installations in addition to themed pathway lighting.

Naturally the biggest concern with the project was how the animals would react and Mandylights had to submit all its ideas to the individual zookeepers for comment. During the install the keepers were onsite to ensure that no animals were offended. Rather than switch all the lights on at 6pm as is the norm for all the other Vivid works, the Taronga lights were switched on at 4pm so the animals could adjust to the lighting.

The giraffe pen is the only animal enclosure lit, with Mandylights trying a multitude of ideas to ensure the giraffes were comfortable with their illuminated habitat.

“The first night we turned four different lights on and the giraffes got a bit spooked by having multiple shadows,” said Richard Neville of Mandylights. “We had to dial that back and we now have fewer lights on the enclosure.”
Crucial to the lighting design were 130 x ShowPro Hex 18 LED PARs and 24 x ShowPro EX36 LED Floods, both of which have an IP65 rating. “The ShowPro Hex 18s and EX36s are our go-to products for outdoor fixtures,” Richard remarked. “The colours are really good and they’re doing everything at the zoo from site light to lighting trees to being buried in bushes. It’s comforting to know that we can throw one of these fixtures into a bush for a month and it will keep chugging along.”

There are four MA Lighting systems running on site — it wasn’t possible to control the entire area from one MA position. An MA programming wing controls one area, an MA2 light console runs the moving lights and the three main areas whilst a couple of nodes run replay in a couple of other areas.

“We put an MA2 in the back of a golf buggy so we could drive around to program everything, flash the shows into the various replay systems and move on to the next one,” said Richard.

Ample Projects: www.ampleprojects.com
TDC: tdc.com.au
Mandlights: www.mandylights.com
Show Technology (Clay Paky, ShowPro, MA Lighting): www.showtech.com.au


All eyes were once again on the Opera House sails. This year the projections were based on the works of six indigenous artists from across the country who have interpreted the songlines through distinctive symbols, patterning and imagery representative of the stories of their clans and groups. The music accompanying Songlines is composed and designed by Rhoda Roberts and Damien Robinson, the creative force behind Sydney’s Wicked Beat Sound System and features songmen Djakapurra Munyarryun and Cecil McLeod. 

Songlines was animated for the Opera House sails by Artists In Motion. A tapestry of moving images tracing the songlines from the east, across the centre, to the north and to the west of the country will be projected in a breathtaking display. Photo: Destination NSW

Artists in Motion: artistsinmotion.co


Artist Joe Crossley’s Vivid 2016 installation ‘True Life’ mapped the life of an object as viewed under a lens. Picture the cross-section of a microscope slide showing sea larvae or coral cells interacting in real time, with cells dividing and forming unique patterns. Footage of these natural processes was projected onto a 3D sculpture taken from the shape of a sodium chloride (salt) crystal.

Crossley used Epson EB-Z10000U WUXGA, HD, 10,000 lumen and EB-Z11000W WXGA, 11,000 lumen projectors to realise his vision with the True Life installation. 

Crossley continued, “The colour from the Epson projectors give really great contrast for the images and they are bright and vibrant — a noticeable difference and something sadly lacking from other projectors in their class. Their control options, corner correction and calibration functions are the best I have ever used. The stability and durability of these projectors is another big plus and the controls are well thought out and simple. Finally the multi-angle orientation also allowed us to project in different ways.”

 Epson: www.epson.com.au


The dramatic metallic blades of The Concourse, Chatswood’s cultural hub, acted as the backdrop to The Electric Canvas’s Gondwana Light Lab, an exploration of creatures from the Triassic southern supercontinent. Dinosaurs evolve from their origins in the depths of the ocean, move onto land, and ultimately climbing trees and escarpments from which they launch themselves into the air.

The animals are studied through a magnifying glasses and microscopes, zooming in to see their amazing skin, scales and cells up close; and X-rayed to analyse their skeletons and use computed tomography to slice right though them. Photo: Keith McInnes.

The Electric Canvas: theelectriccanvas.com.au


The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) was transformed into a huge canvas with a collection of artists creating an illusion that the façade was actually being carved, painted, cut and brushed. The installation is a collaboration between Western Sydney artist Huseyin Sami and the Paris-based artistic collective Danny Rose.

Each night the audience experienced a constantly morphing contemporary art installation-performance that gave a sculptural dimension to the museum architecture and utterly changed perceptions of the volume and depth of the building’s mass.

The Museum of Contemporary Art at The Rocks once again served as a canvas for one of Vivid Sydney’s illuminated artwork. Western Sydney artist, Huseyin Sami, joined forces with Paris-based artistic collective, Danny Rose, to create the illusion that the facade was actually being carved, painted, cut and brushed during the presentation.

TDC took care of the projection mapping and hardware. TDC’s Steve Cain said: “The challenges for this site are multiple angles, trees, and returns, which we’ve managed to map accurately. This is a stunning building to project onto which is a light-coloured sandstone. The shape is really interesting for projection too. 

“We used high-powered projectors and media serving. However, not every project uses bells and whistles. Sometimes a simpler approach gives great results,” Cain added: “We love the old buildings so we broke all records in terms of set up, having projection mapping completed in just 1.5 hours. New buildings and objects challenge us which is the best way to learn things.” Photo: Anna Kučera.

TDC: tdc.com.au


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