AJA Io 4K Powers “Breathless Beauty, Broken Beauty”; The World’s First 12k (3x4k) Sculptural Film Art Installation at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London

September 12, 2014

Artist & Filmmaker Vanessa Jane Hall is pushing the boundaries of technology and art with her most recent work, ‘Breathless Beauty, Broken Beauty’, an immersive art installation on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum from September 4-October 27, 2014, opening as part of the acclaimed London Design Festival. Hall and her partner Mark Gilbert also own UK-based Gallery, a leading audio and video technology provider that was responsible for designing the back-end technical infrastructure to support this ambitious work of art. For many years, Gallery has incorporated AJA Video hardware into its clients’ workflows for optimized performance and flexibility.

“Even at 4K, projecting the imagery compromised the quality, so we decided to use screens for the installation – however getting the screens to sync up was a challenge,” said Mark Gilbert. “ From previous experience we felt confident that AJA’s Io 4K driving 4K playout from Mac Minis, would be a reliable, straightforward, and cost-effective solution that allowed us to faithfully represent the source image.”

Breathless Beauty, Broken Beauty is comprised of three 65-inch screens arranged in a triptych, built into the walls of a 14 and a half-foot high temple-like sculpture which viewers step in to. From sparkling halls to derelict corridors, the film inside the sculpture takes the viewer on an atmospheric journey showing the beauty and agony of the English country house. Footage was shot in 4K by Hall, this was needed to capture the real-world detail and to provide a more immersive experience. The film is accompanied by an atmospheric soundscape and poetic voiceover by Catherine McGoohan & Neil Dickson.

To achieve perfectly synced high resolution 12K imagery across the three screens, Mark Gilbert served as the creative technologist on the project, he tested various workflows and ultimately landed on a combination of, three Mac Minis, three AJA Io 4K devices, and VirtualVTR software (developed by Gallery) to control the synchronized playback. 

“I felt the success of creating an immersive environment was linked to the amount of image detail I could show, and I felt I really needed to work in 4K. The images in the film are rich with detail, and 4K allows people to experience all that. Some of the houses I shot at were just ‘holding on to life’, one shot shows a derelict room with a snooker table about to fall through a crater in the floor - floorboards are splintering up, and cellars are visible below – the sadness of an image like that is something you really want people to connect with emotionally – 4K can help you do that ” explained Hall. 

‘Breathless Beauty – Broken Beauty’ can be seen at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum from September 4 – October 27, and at the London Design Festival from September 13-21. 

“About 160,000 people attend the annual London Design Festival alone – so having reliable technology is absolutely crucial for this installation,” concluded Mark Gilbert.

“The V&A is a world renowned space for art and design, and I needed to feel confident the installation would run dependably, with no human intervention after initial set up. The AJA Io 4K is completely dependable, I could set it up and walk away and it will run for weeks and weeks on its own, with no glitches. Working in 4K certainly has its technical challenges but AJA is one company that is making the transition to 4K simple and straightforward.”

About AJA Video Systems, Inc.

Since 1993, AJA Video has been a leading manufacturer of video interface and conversion solutions, bringing high-quality, cost-effective digital video products to the professional, broadcast and post-production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com

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