Human beings seem helplessly attracted to moving pictures and light, the closest example being the smartphone in your pocket. But also think about television, movie theaters, and even concert light shows — all examples of our moth-like fascination with light.
Painting with Light
“Video mapping is becoming the largest part of my business,” says Tim Burnham, president of Tempest, the world’s premier manufacturer of specialist outdoor enclosures for digital projectors and conventional and moving lighting instruments. Video mapping essentially “paints” a building with video and light, usually from multiple projectors at multiple angles.
Figure 1: Tempest products in action – twelve Cyclone enclosures along the Atlantic City Boardwalk survived Hurricane Sandy without a scratch.
Tempest provides products to some of the most famous theme parks, shopping venues, resorts, cruise ships, beach resorts and theaters in the world. The Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City, for example, wanted to stand out from its competitors on the boardwalk, so they invested in a light show displayed on the front of their casino. The combination of lights and video resulted in a significant increase in walk-in traffic.
“We are the only company in the world that does what we do,” states Burnham.
Significant Engineering Challenges
What’s the big deal? You might ask. How hard is it to make a metal enclosure for video and lighting projectors? “There are about 10,000 ways to get this wrong; these are not just metal boxes,” says Burnham.
Figure 2: Tempest Monsoon moving light enclosure protects delicate automated luminaires on many cruise ships. Designed in SOLIDWORKS, and rendered in SOLIDWORKS Visualize.
The projection equipment and lighting devices are extremely delicate – and expensive. Their specific requirements for operation cannot be violated without damage to the units, or worse, operational failure.
And the projectors end up in very hostile environments.
Last summer Tempest did a large installation in Dubai where temperatures of 100 degrees are common, even though the projectors are only rated to run in temps in the 80-degree range. Intense high humidity can also wreak havoc. A current installation at the Marina Bay Sands Resort in Singapore faces additional challenges: salt and humidity.
“It’s our job to keep the equipment comfortable [in our enclosures] whatever the environment – it is a real engineering challenge,” says Burnham.
Tempest builds in heating, cooling, filtering and sophisticated electronics to monitor every detail dynamically in real time. “We also have installs in places like Russia and Canada where it gets pretty cold in winter so we have to maintain minimum temperatures by heating up the enclosure,” says Burnham.
Burnham and his engineers use SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, which it purchased from local reseller GoEngineer. “We could not do what we do without SOLIDWORKS,” says Burnham. “And I call GoEngineer whenever I have problems.”
All of Tempest’s products are highly customized for each client, making product photography problematic and nearly impossible. “SOLIDWORKS Visualize has allowed us to render our products so they look almost exactly like photos,” enthuses Burnham.
SOLIDWORKS Visualize is “The Camera” that enables fast and easy creation of photo-realistic renderings of 3D content from SOLIDWORKS and from a number of other CAD packages as well. “The quality is astonishing. Most people cannot tell that our product ‘photos’ are actually renderings done in SOLIDWORKS Visualize.”
Local and International Growth
The fascination with video and light is not fading. Burnham’s business continues to grow with several more large and complex international projects. “Outdoor projection is now the biggest part of our business,” say Burnham. “I can’t imagine how we would do what we do without SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS VISUALIZE.”