Issue 27



22 March 2015

Production Technology (Protec) has deployed BlackTrax tracking on an unprecedented scale at a two-hour long government awards ceremony in Dubai. The events company used a giant 5×5-metre rotating cube structure hanging above a 22-metre diameter circular stage, which pitched forward, rotated, and lifted up and down, and was tracked using the realtime motion tracking and integrated with d3 Technologies 4x4pro media servers.


BlackTrax further tracked two pieces of 13×14-metre jigsaw-shaped scenery located around the edge of the stage that were used as a projection canvas. Since the audience was positioned 240° around the stage, the cube and jigsaw shapes needed to be tracked and projected the complete 360° of the setup.

This was the first project to use 6D tracking on such a scale in the region.

“We chose BlackTrax specifically for this project because we knew it was the only solution that would work,” said Protec lighting designer Aaron Russ – BlackTrax not only tracks the regular 3D XYZ positions, but also yaw, pitch and roll for rotation in any direction. Objects can move, spin, rotate in 6DoF (6 degrees of freedom) and still be tracked.


“We needed to track each surface of the cube and jigsaw so we could project on all surfaces as they moved during the show,” Russ explained. “To do this, we added four BlackTrax beacons into the cube, each with two stringers for a total of eight tracking points. We placed one tracking point on each corner, so that we had complete coverage of all sides of the cube. We then placed the BlackTrax beacons at the top of the cube for easy access, and ran stringer extensions down to connect the tracking points to the beacon. For the jigsaw pieces we used three beacons in each piece. The BlackTrax cameras were hung on an angle so that they could see over the jigsaw pieces and be able to track all eight corners of the cube.”

BlackTrax streamed realtime positional information via high-speed protocol (RTTrPM) to the d3 media server. d3 was able to construct a virtual version of the cube in their media server design tool, that behaved and moved like the real cube in realtime by using the positional information received.

“We used the d3 media server to create a virtual representation of the stage set including the cube and jigsaw. Even if five tracking points were obscured, we could still rely on only three tracking points and still be able to track the entire cube. This was because the clever d3 system understood the object as whole, instead of six individual screens,” Russ explained.


The ceremony – the Hammdan bin Mohammed Programme for Smart Government awards – was a pioneering initiative aimed to promote corporate and community life in the Emirate, with the awards presented by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum at the World Trade Centre Arena in Dubai to an audience of government officials such as the Dubai Police, transport authorities, power and utility companies.

The content was created using live camera feeds of award winners, audience members and custom created graphics and videos. Protec supplied 32 Christie HD20K J Series projectors to create the visuals as well as BlackTrax and d3 for a complete audio, lighting and rigging solution.

Protec is the largest event production house in the Middle East and the only company in the region to offer realtime motion tracking “that really works,” Russ said: “BlackTrax is the next step forward as far as technology goes. The creativity that it can unlock and what it allows you to achieve in terms of lighting and video are beyond anything else out there”.


Images and video supplied courtesy of Protec


Cast Blacktrax:

Production technology LLC:



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Issue 27