National Celebration with Ventuz-Powered Mapping Project

Many things came together in the summer of 2018 in Prague: the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia, the 200th anniversary of the National Museum in Prague and its grand reopening after 12 years of reconstruction. What better way to celebrate such an occasion than with a Ventuz-powered projection mapping show on the facade of the prestigious National Museum itself. The agency Xlab Realtime, who have used Ventuz for over a decade for their elaborate installations and events, took on this magnificent task.

“We usually approach all mapping projects in a similar way”, explained Jindrich Trapl, CEO and founder of Xlab. “We create a 3D model of the building that we want to project onto in order to use it as a canvas for the content creation process.” The extensive 3D pipeline in Ventuz comes in very handy at this stage, because importing these models into the Ventuz real-time environment is very easy. For even more flexibility, Ventuz offers a live link with Cinema 4D, which eliminates export and import processes and transmits all changes to the 3D model directly into Ventuz within seconds.

For this specific project however, Xlab chose a different approach. “This time we actually 3D printed a model of the National Museum in the ratio of 1:100. Adjusting out content to the physical model helped us to visualize the final look and feel and create a truly fascinating show. Of course, transferring the projection setup from a single projector on the model to 9 projectors on the real building was no problem with Ventuz.”

Indeed, Ventuz is aimed at scalability in every area of real-time content authoring and playout. The shaping and blending toolkit inside of Ventuz offers an easy-to-use way to adjust a projection setup to any given surface. The configuration can be saved and scaled across a synchronized machine cluster with only minimal effort.

The content itself included many movie clips, among them a lot of historical footage. “We had to blend a lot of content together to make sure the lower resolution of the historical footage wouldn’t spoil the viewing experience of the audience. Ventuz X handled the massive amount of high-res and low-res video very well”, said Jindrich. The show was powered by three Ventuz X servers and controlled through one Ventuz Director machine.

The day of the show was packed with official events in and around the city of Prague. After a dinner in the National Museum, the several hundred invited guests, among them international politicians and celebrities, flocked outside to watch the projection mapping show. They were joined by more than 10,000 citizens. “Even though this is an impressive number, we want to make sure that even more people get to enjoy the mapping show”, explained Jindrich. “This is why we plan to install our 3D printed model in the museum and run the downsized version of the mapping project indoors. The scalability and flexibility of Ventuz is really amazing when it comes to repurposing projects.”

And flexibility is something Xlab knows a lot about. “We had to bring our machines to the National Museum in flight cases”, said Jindrich, “because right after the show we had to pack up quickly and rush to the airport with the entire hardware to hop a plain to Shanghai.” Yes, that is how we know our friends at Xlab!