Designed and produced by ThinkOTS!, the pavilion is a massive purpose built venue that dominates the Shanghai site. It has already enjoyed a lot of media attention, placed in the top 5 pavilions to visit and even received an early visit from China's President. Chroma were commissioned by ThinkOTS! to provide the overall broadcast design and create all of the animation for the projection content, producing both the 'ANZ Theatre' and 'Sisters' exhibits.
The 'ANZ Theatre' is the centrepiece exhibit of the whole pavilion experience, comprising of a massive rotating screen system situated in the centre of a 1,000 person ampitheatre. On the outside, it employs a 6k 1:1 tracked projection surface presenting the main show - on the inside, 3 huge LED arrays create animated backgrounds for the set pieces.
Using 7 Christie projectors and 3 LED arrays, the 10 minute show presents three animated children as they discuss the concept of the Expo's over-arching theme, "Better city, Better life". As the screens rotate around large practical sculptures (that change as the show progresses via a lift system), as the viewpoint of the animation changes to match the angle of each viewer's position in the room. This involved a long and complex process of prototyping and testing the optical effect created by the rotating, bi-secting canvas.
Between these animated character sections, the screen system reconfigures where it presents other animated sections and image sequences filmed exclusively for the show in 8K anamorphic on RED cameras. This footage was graded in-house to create some of the most stunning and high resolution pictures ever shot in Australia.
We also designed the content for the 'Happy Tubes' lighting system. This massive circular array of over 300 LED video tubes presents animated graphics with the appearance of a lighting rig, synchronised with the central show. This works in tandem with Phil Lethlean's main lighting design of the hero sculptures and the various video and animated content.
Our 'kids' (Blue, Tom and Kate) create the narrative for the whole show, appearing in three different sections covering various aspects of the 'Better City, Better Life' theme. The animation presented a huge challenge as not only are three separate characters performing and talking (in Mandarin no less!) in 360 degrees, but are also visible from all angles at all times with lots of interaction between the characters, props and environments.
The character designs, CG modelling and lighting were created by Harsh Borah (HarshCG) with Robert Dowling (PixelPickel) taking on the rigging and animation of the three characters for the whole show. All of the 'kids' sections were created in Maya.
'Sisters' is an hour-long, super resolution projection show presented on a large curved 'wave' screen, set into the entry ramp of the pavilion. Fed by four rear-projectors, the show features the success stories of 20 Australian and Chinese women making their mark in business, environment, finance, politics and culture. The entire program was shot in 2k on RED and sliced into 20 separate 'diamond' screens that join to form a lush, super screen show. The animation and broadcast design for Sisters was created by Stuart Elith at Chroma. The program was so well received that a shorter, 'sizzle' version was produced soon after for events and special visitors.
Both exhibits projection tracking and media delivery was handled by Florian Mosleh from Coolux. The ANZ Theatre in particular was a huge challenge, requiring complex 3D tracking and warping of the rotating, vertically travelling 'pillar' screens. The content was produced at a native 6k resolution with the projection mapping done in real time.
The project was an immense creative and technical challenge, involving the balancing of many technical and creative elements. It was delivered on time and budget, surpassing our clients expectations and receiving glowing reviews from visitors.
Shanghai 2010 is the largest World Expo in history, expecting to attract over 8 million visitors during the year.
It's an honour representing our country once again (Japan 2005) and working with the ThinkOTS! crew on such a massive project. The Expo event continues until the end of the year.
UPDATE: Well, that was quick! Expo 2010 is now closed and we are pleased to announce that the Australian pavilion placed in the top 5 overall with a 95% satisfaction rating from over 8 million visitors - bested only by China own pavillion! It was Australia's biggest presence at any Expo to date and also the most successful.
UPDATE: Won 2011 AVIA Award for Best install over $1M and Best Audio Visual Production