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Keyteq, Christie join for major BBC website promotion

07 May 2013

The promotion entails 28 simultaneous projections onto British Isles heritage buildings to celebrate completion of Your Paintings project

When the BBC wanted to celebrate the completion of its ambitious Your Paintings project — an online catalogue of 212,000 oil paintings in public ownership — Mark Rackstraw, Assistant Producer of BBC Learning (under whose Department it fell), had the idea of simultaneously projecting some of the artworks onto 30 landmark buildings and heritage sites around the UK on the day of the celebration.

The remarkable feat of carrying out this projection — at 5pm on February 8th — was undertaken by Keyteq; and at every site they deployed Christie LX1500’s, outputting 15,000 ANSI lumens brightness from an advanced 4-lamp, 3LCD optical engine. The exception was at Norwich Castle where they used two stacked Christie Roadster S+20K (20,000 ANSI lumens) three chip DLP projectors to deliver a 25metre image onto the castle walls over a 70 metre throw distance.

The other venues ranged from Clifford’s Tower in York to Hull Maritime Museum, London’s National Gallery — with the southernmost point being projection onto the side of the Cuifail Cliffs in Lewes on the Sussex south coast.

Keyteq director Ian Chandler, who oversaw the project, outlined the background to this challenge, and how the service company managed to implement it.

“Originally there were to have been 30 sites — with north and south being divided between two companies; but then the BBC took the decision to give the entire project to us. As two of the projected sites didn’t wish to participate, that left us with 28; it was a major leap of faith once we realised the size of it.”

Handed a brief from Mark Rackstraw that each event needed to look like a guerilla projection — a kind of hit and run pop-up event — Keyteq first carried out a site survey to assess the logistics of the various cities and potential sites.

“We didn’t want it to be pixel-mapped or look overly polished, so we opted for high brightness projectors with a low power draw, offering a good price to performance ratio — and the LX1500’s were rock solid.”

Keyteq have been a Christie partner for the past two years — since acquiring their first Christie Roadster HD10K-Ms and successfully debuting them on the opera, The Life & Death of Marina Abramovic.”They did an excellent job as they were silent running and the intelligent lens system presets were great,” said Chandler. The company has supported Christie devices ever since.

Logistically, the exercise for the BBC was conceived as a series of single-crew projections (with the odd exception) depicting between ten and 12 paintings onto the surfaces on a five minute loop. “There was a slight difference of content, depending on where we were in the British Isles, while some content was common to all sites. Everything switched on simultaneously at 5pm and ran continuously until 10pm.”

The projection rigs were set up in a variety of contexts … including the backs of vans, in car parks, cafés and buildings across the road from the target wall — and in terms of scale, Keyteq aimed at throwing images of around 10-metre in size.

“This had the desired effect of creating footfall,” said Ian Chandler. “The whole exercise was a big success and Mark Rackstraw was delighted.”

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