Anna Valley 2022 Inspiration Showcase guides eventprofs through an Event Odyssey

Anna Valley’s 2022 Inspiration Showcase celebrated the industry’s spirit of adventure with an Event Odyssey designed to reveal the techniques and tools event professionals need to navigate the evolving event landscape. True to the theme, and for the first time, the 2022 showcase ‘took to the road’ and was hosted offsite at Tobacco Dock from 24 – 31 January.

Each year Anna Valley’s Inspiration Showcase features technical solutions provided and designed by the audio-visual and entertainment company. But for this event Anna Valley secured the participation of a host of strategic partners to expand the technical capabilities on show, deliver impact through the delivery of customised content and elevate the experience with high-end staging and hosting. The result? 2022’s Event Odyssey surpassed all of the company’s previous showcase events.

Read on to discover the various different environments which visitors were guided through as they explored the possibilities that extended reality, motion capture, holographic projection and other audio-visual solutions provide to reach audiences anywhere.

The Lost Civilization

The experience:

Incan structures emerging from a jungle backdrop set the scene for the first leg of the Event Odyssey. The Lost Civilization is where visitors began their journey, equipped with a mini RFID-enabled suitcase which they used to trigger content on a series of interactive pods along the way – from personalised welcome messages to voice-activated refreshment orders.

The technology behind it:

Pods in The Lost Civilization incorporated a 65-inch screen with an RFID reader and a microphone concealed into the display. When the suitcase was scanned, the RFID reader sent the unique ID from the RFID chip back to a central server, cueing the relevant content to play back on that specific pod or starting a sequence of recording and playback events to allow voice-activated orders.

The Cloud Horizon

The experience:

This environment revolved around an extended reality stage that combines content displayed on video walls with graphics rendered in real-time to create the illusion of scale and provide interactive experiences. One stage was used to demonstrate a variety of applications and environments by business development director, Dan Orchard, as he launched Chinese lanterns into the air, customised the colour and specs of his new car, changed the flight patch of a drone and interacted with a three-dimensional robot character in real time via gesture control. The visual experience was enhanced with a ground-breaking responsive audio design to complete the immersive effect.

The technology behind it:

The extended reality stage is made up of three key technologies : Roe LED video walls for the floor and backdrop, a 3D modelled and reactive environment in Unreal Engine and an Ncam camera system for markerless tracking of the in-studio elements.
The capabilities of the XR stage were enhanced by mounting an Intel Realsense camera on the ceiling to track Dan’s interaction with the graphic elements and provide gesture control. Finally, positional data from Unreal Engine was fed into a d&b Soundscape and then mapped onto speakers installed around the stage so that the audio elements tracked with the visuals as they were manipulated in real time.

Target 3D

The experience:

Technology partners, Target 3D, provided compelling demonstrations of motion capture in their dedicated space. In one area, guests were captivated by the replication of an actress’ every move and even facial expressions by an avatar in a digital world, and in another, visitors were invited to take aim at virtual clay pigeons.

The technology behind it:

Target 3D used real time full body, face and finger caption technology to drive an Unreal Engine 4 metahuman rig, tracking full body motion and capturing facial expression data for digital puppetry. For the clay pigeon shooting activation they used a hidden tracking system with integrated active LED markers to create the interactive experience.

Digital Tour

The experience:

The Digital Tour made it possible to explore the unique and expansive spaces within Tobacco Dock without leaving the room. Stepping onto a series of dance-mat style pressure points allowed guests to take contactless control of a 3D virtual tour of the venue. Displaying the tour on a wrap-around video wall created an immersive environment.

The technology behind it:

This simple but effective activity linked the signals from the pressure points on the floor to arrow keyboard commands to control Tobacco Dock’s Matterport virtual tour and cue accompanying sound effects. Displaying the 3D tour on a 6.5m x 2.5m curved LED wall completed the effect.

Prepare to Launch

The experience:

Prepare to Launch featured a multidimensional display of content celebrating the return of events. With synchronised video, projection, lighting and surround sound, along with a powerful message, this environment was designed to deliver impact.

The technology behind it:

A 3D printed space shuttle mounted onto a projection screen formed the central physical element in this display while an additional hologauze screen in the foreground provided an extra dimension for video playback. The video was projected (and projection mapped) onto these elements using two 12K Panasonic laser projectors with ultra-short lenses. The video was enhanced with synchronised 4.1 surround sound and lighting effects – all triggered by a single RFID tap which cued the disguise media server and lighting desk at the same time.

360 LED

The experience:

The 360 LED area provided guests with a tropical interlude in their journey. This hanging circular display, integrated with lush foliage and accompanied by the gentle sounds of the rainforest created an oasis for guests to pause and reflect before continuing with their Event Odyssey.

The technology behind it:

This display-in-the-round featured 36 LED panels flown off an existing circular truss, with content delivered via a disguise media server. Despite choosing the lightest LED available for the display, Anna Valley had to bring in structural engineers to increase the truss’ weight loading capacity before the display could be hung – making it the first display of its kind at Tobacco Dock.

Video photo booth in Travelers Rest

The experience:

A digital take on a classic favourite, the video photo booth recreated the photo boards from the seaside as the final showcase activity. This fun but effective installation in the Travelers Rest area upgraded the photo board to a video display and provided contactless interaction with the ability to swap scenes using simple hand gestures.

The technology behind it:

Tiny motion sensors built into a giant prop hand detected and translated guests’ hand movements into commands to trigger the playback of different video scenes on the video photo booth – including an ostrich race, Indiana Jones and an angry truck driver amongst others.
Clips from the video photo booth were also recorded, shared with guests via email and displayed on a giant video wall.

The results

Anna Valley’s 2022 Inspiration Showcase took personalisation and interactivity to the next level. True to the spirit of the show, technical innovation was central to each environment’s technical design and the team confessed that several of the concepts were so new that although testing had taken place, they were relieved that the complex systems delivered in the way that they had hoped.
The response from guests, partners and the press has been fantastic, and the team is already brainstorming next year’s event.

Inspiration Showcase Highlights

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