New projection systems are turning basketball courts and ice rinks into massive optical illusions: Animations beamed onto the surface can create all sorts of morphing effects. In one, the parquet crumbles, making the center circle look like a free-standing pillar shooting up from the earth’s core. In another, ice flickers on and off, then becomes an gigantic table-hockey game. A rink effectively turns into a 2,604-inch TV—with 6.5K resolution.
In each case, the A/V magicians pulling the strings are from Quince Imaging, a video-production team based in Washington, D.C. Quince has designed and installed on-ice and on-court projection systems for the New Jersey Devils, Cleveland Cavaliers, Calgary Flames, Philadelphia 76ers, and Atlanta Hawks. Over the past 17 years, they’ve also created systems and content for political events, presentations that cover entire sides of casinos, and one-off special events.
The Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.—home ice of the Devils—has a setup optimized for hockey. A pre-game presentation shown on the ice blends live video, animations, projection-mapping, and even choreography between live and digital elements. The seven-figure system drives a pre-game sequence in which the Devil mascot appears to set fire to the ice then skates off before the flames are turned back into ice by a skater in a Devils uniform.
“We collaborated with the team to figure out where he’s going to skate, and we plan the graphic track out,” says C.J. Davis, projection designer at Quince Imaging. “Then it was just a matter of him rehearsing it and getting the speed of that graphic to match what he’s doing.”