Cinematic Spectacle “Uninterrupted” Brings Nature to the City of Vancouver

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Uninterrupted is a cinematic spectacle that transformed an urban bridge into a wild river filled with spawning Pacific salmon. This visionary installation in the heart of Vancouver, British Columbia immersed viewers in stunning underwater cinematography, original music and a multichannel soundscape all under a concrete canvas that spanned more than 70,000 square feet! Conceived by visionary filmmaker Nettie Wild, Uninterrupted ran nightly to spellbound crowds in Vancouver’s Cooper’s Park from June 28th until Sept 24th, 2017.

Nominating Company: Colours and Shapes Design Inc., Langley, BC, Canada
Venue: Uninterrupted, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Project: Uninterrupted
Category: Public Spaces

BACKGROUND
In 2010, when filmmaker Nettie Wild stood on the banks of the Adams River watching sockeye salmon migrate, she knew instantly that she wanted to share this incredible spectacle with other city dwellers. The question was, “How?” On a serendipitous bike ride through Coopers Park, Nettie Wild and editor Michael Brockington stopped in their tracks when they noticed what an ideal canvas the Cambie Street Bridge would be for projecting imagery. In the years of development and production work that followed, Nettie Wild assembled a team to produce a never-before-seen cinematic spectacle at this unique site. The goal was clear: Transform the underside of the Cambie Street Bridge into an abstracted cinematic river teeming with spawning Pacific salmon in a massive display of public art.

CHALLENGES
Early in the process, it became clear that a core challenge was how to develop and deliver content for such a large video canvas. The filmmaker’s process involved complex cinematography on and in the Adam’s river along with a 2D editorial workflow. Because of the scale of the project, the team needed to pre- visualize the whole show in a real-time 3D environment while still being able to build content in a familiar 2D editing platform. Due to mounting and budget limitations on such an ambitious project, the team had to devise a way to create a fully immersive environment with only eight discrete projector mounting points and only four discrete speaker points. Due to the nature of the project site, many public safety and engineering concerns had to be considered. Finally, a media server system would be needed to deliver a content map of over 8K.

SOLUTIONS
To tackle these challenges, the team at Colours and Shapes developed a series of content maps that would allow the editor to build the show in a familiar Adobe Premiere timeline. A powerful editing workstation would then output video into Photon Designer software (VYV) on a separate pre-visualization machine to texture a 3D model of the site in real time. With these two systems synchronized, the whole show could be pre-visualized in 3D along with a VR headset while staying inside Adobe Premiere.

A projection layout that would fill every visible part of the bridge when viewed from the audience “sweet spot” in Coopers Park utilized two Christie S+22K-J projectors and six Christie WU14K-M projectors.
Media was played out on one VYV Photon media server. Photon also handled 3D alignment, warping and blending. Master show control and multichannel audio was controlled from a custom iPad interface for QSC QSYS.

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RESULTS
After four years of on-location filming, technical prototypes, working closely with engineers and department heads at Vancouver city hall, and a month-long installation and commissioning process, Uninterrupted opened on June 28, 2017 to spellbound audiences. This installation ran free to the public nightly through the summer until Sept 24. More than 30,000 people viewed Uninterrupted over the summer, many coming early to share a picnic on the grass, watch the sunset and then lay on blankets under the bridge as the river swept over them. Gorgeous cinematography, an otherworldly soundscape, a breathtaking original score and a beautiful urban park setting all converged to create a truly stunning immersive installation. Wallpaper magazine named Uninterrupted one of the must-see outdoor public art installations of 2017 and Vancouver’s “The Westender” wrote: “Uninterrupted is the trippiest, most profound and most exhilarating show in town. Interrupt everything to see it.”

PROJECT PARTNERS
Canada Wild Productions Ltd (Producer and Content Creator)
Nettie Wild – Director
Betsy Carson – Producer
Rae Hull – Producer
Michael Brockington – Editor
Colours and Shapes Design inc. (Prime Contractor and Integrator)
Anthony Diehl – Technical Director and Project Lead, Colours and Shapes
Nathan Dery – Production Coordinator, Colours and Shapes
Darrel Smith – System Design and Integration, Colours and Shapes
Arielle Ratzlaff – Signage and Wayfinding Design, Colours and Shapes
Athan Merrick – Director of Photography
Nic Teichrob – Cinematography
Owen Belton – Composer
Velcrow Ripper – Sound Design
Daniel Pellerin – Re-Recording Mixer
Jay White – Pre-Show Animation
Hilary Davis – Live Event Production Manager
Galia Goodwin – Live Event Production Manager
Phillip Djwa, Agentic Digital Media – Web Development
Jen Fritz – Publicist
UMedia – Film Post-Production and Color
VYV Corporation – Media Servers
Applied Electronics – Installation Support
Exhibau – Installation and Site Logistics
Christie Digital – Projection Hardware

Uninterrupted won a 2018 APEX Award in the Public Spaces category.

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