Creative Technology (CT) was called upon by Executive Visions (EVI) to deliver the technical implementation of a cinematic projection mapping onto Diriyah Gate to tell the story of the kingdom’s history.

His Majesty King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and HRH Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud launched the opening ceremony of Diriyah Gate with a visually spectacular show.

Diriyah Gate is the birthplace of the Saudi kingdom and was the original home of the Saudi royal family. Today, it is a 19th Century UNESCO World Heritage site which is set to attract thousands of tourists as part of Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030.

The ancient ruins ‘mud city’ of Diriyah has been restored over the years by the Saudi Royal Family, enabling it to be the centre stage for the production. CT provided 170 Panasonic RZ31 and 21k projectors span across the 350m+ wide projection canvas.

CT were tasked to ensure all visible surfaces across the 350m+ wide canvas were covered to ensure that content could run smoothly.

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CT’s project manager, Dan Hughes, said: “We carried out various site visits during the planning phase so we could strategically plan where the projectors would be located. This enabled us to avoid any potential issues early. As this was a UNESCO world heritage site, we needed to carefully assess where the projector locations could be positioned. We worked closely with our client EVI and the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) to ensure all locations were approved by the DGDA ahead of time.”

CT was tasked with ensuring the projectors were not visible or in line with the performance area. This was achieved through key planning and projection studies on site. CT had a total of nine independent projector locations spread across the site, and anyprojector that was in view had a custom enclosure manufactured.

CT’s senior engineer, Tom Stocks, said: “We needed to cover a 350m+ wide projection canvas that had several uneven surfaces. We strategically placed all projectors to eliminate any shadows and installed an eight-camera PTZ system for full site coverage of every area. This was used for our engineers to assist with the lineup and also distributed around the site for client monitoring. A total of five SDI matrixes were used to distribute video signal to all locations around the site, totalling to over 380 independent 3G SDI feeds.”

As it was such a large-scale site, CT required three remote media server locations to eliminate large amounts of fibre runs. This was achieved by installing a fully redundant reidal mediornet system and network ring to distribute media server control, content, multiviewer feeds and genlock around the site to each disguise server location.

Hughes said: “We were faced with many onsite weather challenges due to extreme rain on the days leading up to the show, but thankfully all departments and clients on-site pulled together to ensure the equipment was safe and ready for the event. CT had a team of 22 dedicated professionals working on this project for over a month, and I could not have asked for a better team. We overcame all anticipated challenges and delivered a show beyond our clients’ expectations. I would like to thank EVI and DGDA for trusting CT to be part of this historic moment in Saudi Arabia.”