disguise has announced that it has partnered with London’s Lightroom – a new home for spectacular artist-led experiences in King’s Cross – to power its inaugural art experience by David Hockney. Called David Hockney: Bigger and Closer (not smaller and further away), the show was designed by 59 Productions, who used disguise’s end-to-end location-based experience solution for everything from pre-visualisation to show control and delivery.

With the venue only open for a month, it has already attracted an average count of over 2,000 visitors a day, including radio DJ Lauren Laverne, author Bernardine Evaristo, actor Richard E Grant, and journalists Caitlin Moran and Sali Hughes. David Hockney: Bigger and Closer (not smaller and further away) takes visitors on a journey through 60 years of the artist’s paintings, digital art and set designs through a 50-minute, large-scale projection show powered by seven disguise vx 4 servers.

In six themed chapters featuring an original score by American composer Nico Muhly and Hockney’s own commentary enabled by the UK’s first fixed Holoplot X1 Matrix Array sound system, Hockney reveals his creative process so visitors can look more closely, truly and joyously at his work.

“disguise is a platform we have been using as a studio for years, so when it came to specifying the hardware for the David Hockney experience, we considered disguise to be the benchmark when it comes to high-performance video playback and projection mapping,” says James Roxburgh, Head of Technical and Production at 59 Productions.

59 Productions created the David Hockney experience using disguise’s software solution designer to stitch together the content seamlessly across a 108-million-pixel canvas that used 29 projectors in the space (14 4K and 15 HD projectors), having been working on the project for the last four years.

“Working with large video resolutions and playing back 10-bit video were essential components of the system design,” says James. “It was also necessary for us to be able to install the system in a very compressed timeline when it came to final delivery.”

Thanks to seven of disguise’s vx 4 media servers, Roxburgh’s team were able to play lossless 10-bit video using each server’s high-performance NVME RAID drive array. That meant Hockney’s art could be accurately displayed across every wall of Lightroom’s space, letting visitors be completely immersed in every brushstroke and shade of colour, while also enabling them to take photos of his work.

“We wanted to be able to accurately present every single detail of David Hockney’s work. This meant being able to playback high-resolution video files, which is perfect for the vx 4. We made use of the Notch LC video codec to playback in full 10-bit colour at 60 fps,” James explains. “disguise also provides a multi-user programming environment that enables us to work simultaneously, as a team, on line up, timeline and engineering across the site. As a team we have many years’ experience with disguise, and we continue to trust the platform for our most important projects.”

On the show opening day, the 59 Productions team also counted on disguise’s ability to provide support, ensuring the show ran smoothly and was ready for visitors. “disguise is used to working with high-performance systems, under intense pressure, so we know when we need them they are there to support us,” says James. 

“We are proud to partner with Lightroom – a unique, immersive experience that is already drawing in crowds of visitors to its London venue. We are increasingly seeing more venues deliver these immersive experiences worldwide – many of which take advantage of disguise’s unparalleled end-to-end workflow. The David Hockney show is just the beginning, and I can’t wait to see what the team at 59 Productions delivers next,” says disguise Chief Experience Officer, Alex Wills.

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