• Karma

    Brighton Marina, East Sussex

Project Elements: Design & Build, Sound, Lighting, A/V, CCTV

We were asked to visit Karma Bar in Brighton Marina to design a new visual system to tie in for the re-launch the venue was planning. With the employment of new DJs, the venue wanted to add a system which would be able to display the actions within the DJ box, while also creating a huge focal point with something people had never seen before.

It was decided that a large wooden carving on Karma Brighton’s East wall would be the starting point of the system. At nearly 6m wide and 2m high, the carving offered a perfect base for us to work with in creating the fantastic projector video effect.

The whole system would be split into two sections, both based on the carving. The first part was to integrate four plasma screens into the carving. The four windows/cut outs in the carving would be the location of the four screens, but in order to fill these we had to use four 42″ plasma screens rotated into portrait to get the best out of them. The carving was removed from the wall and four NEC commercial plasma screen displays were fitted within the wall, located in the exact positions so when the carving was refitted, the screens filled the windows without the bezel being visible. By doing this, when the screens are not active, it becomes very difficult to distinguish them as plasma screens. This was in keeping with the venues requests for the system to be very unobtrusive when not in use.

The screens were then wired back to an 8×8 video matrix switcher which was to be remotely controlled via computer. Four DVD players and four CCTV cameras were then wired in allowing the venue to display DVD images and video during the day, and images of the DJ and crowd during the evening. All the content for the DVDs was created specifically for the venue, and rotated during editing to compensate for the rotation of the plasma screens. By having the matrix switcher computer controlled, it allowed us to create a program which chased the images on the screens, giving them a more fluid, continuous look rather than the same image constantly on each screen as you can see in the image below.

The second phase was the video mapping system. This involved fitting two 3500 ansi lumen projectors to project onto the carving. These were mounted within custom ceiling boxes to keep them hidden. The projectors were then connected up to a computer based graphics system using VGA cables to keep the quality as high as possible. A snapshot image of the carving was then loaded into the system, allowing different parts of the carving to be mapped into the software. This then allowed us to create video and graphics content which could be projected onto specific parts of the carving. By doing this, the carving becomes an interactive projection surface, rather than the normal boring projector screen. By hiding the projectors it gives the impression that during the day the carving is nothing more than a feature on the wall, but at night it appears to quite literally “come alive”.

By combining these two parts, the overall system gives a huge effect. To finish off, we moved the DJ box to in front of the carving, creating a focal point and allowing the new DJ to be shown off to the crowd. The system was programmed to run automatic shows, with the ability for the DJ to trigger specific visuals in time with the music, adding further to the overall impact of the system.