Company Post


Obscura Digital is at it again- wrapping the world's architectural modernist icons in unbelievable feats of moving imagery. Last October Obscura produced the exterior and interior projections for YouTube’s first Biennial awards, using TouchDesigner to seamlessly wrap Frank Lloyd Wright's 1959 Guggenheim Museum in NYC and on Sunday night they will be upping the ante at the Sydney Operahouse.

On the evening of March 20, Obscura will transform Frank Gehry's Sydney Opera House into a visual accompaniment of a live symphonic performance, ramping the artistry of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra event with real-time audio-reactive graphic projections that will simultaneously canvas the interior and exterior of the iconic building with parallel projection shows.

As with the Guggenheim, Obscura Digital used TouchDesigner to build a site-specific application to run the entire show of timed projections on both the inside and outside of the Sydney Opera House. Specifically:

"For the exterior, Obscura will be using 14 projectors with long-range optics developed for the Olympics to project images on the Western Sails from nearly half a mile across the water. They will be using 8 Christie S + 20,000 lumens projectors and 6 Christie HD 18,000, plus 6 servers to achieve IMAX resolution imagery on the façade. Additionally, video capture cards will be used to receive camera feeds from the interior for re-projection onto the exterior sails of the building. For the interior of the Opera House, Obscura will seamlessly wrap the ceilings and walls, creating immersive experience with surround projections at 2 x IMAX resolution. This is achieved using 7 Christie HD 18,000 lumens projectors and 6 servers all with HD."

“If we achieve what we are trying to do, we will be creating musically expressive architecture,” explained Travis Threlkel, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Obscura Digital. “We will enable audiences to experience the Sydney Opera House in a new light by using optical illusions that make it appear to be moving and accentuating itself based on what is taking place with the live performance inside the concert hall, essentially allowing the building to become a living, breathing artistic representation of the music.”

Obscura Digital will be supporting YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 by designing and deploying sophisticated multiple vantage point projections to create a transparent architectural experience for the live event. Obscura Digital’s team of creatives, technologists, and strategists conceptualized and designed an interactive visual performance component to the music so audiences can be exposed to a show of light and sound from all angles.

They will wrap the interior of the concert hall with immersive art projections, making the visual art content dynamic and responsive to the music. Beamed from a half-a-mile away onto the façade of the Western Sails, Obscura Digital will integrate live camera feeds from the concert hall with stylized treatments and live digital painting components. This complex array of interactive graphic effects from the exterior will then be brought back into the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.

“There isn't an off-the-shelf software capable of pulling off an event of this complexity and magnitude where both content and artistic vision are entirely specific to the venue and the event. That’s why we designed TouchDesigner as a toolkit for building interactive applications like tonight’s use of it by Obscura.” commented Greg Hermanovic.

Make sure to tune in and watch the show which will be live streamed at 8pm Sydney time (which translates as Sunday 5am Toronto time and 2am in LA) via