The Team that nailed this project

Ad de Haan

Content Director

Jolien Gottenbos

Content Director

Flip Buttinger

Senior 3D Specialist

Johannes Versloot

Lighting Designer and Operator

Jim de Brouwer

Visual Effects Artist

Dave van Roon

Mediaserver / Video Specialist

Nick Linskens

Mediaserver / Video Specialist

This weekend our team was part of a very special event at Terschelling.


On a rainy night, in the midst of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, August 19th 1666, British Rear Admiral Holmes, set sail to the north. Dutch Admiral de Ruyter, had taken his fleet ashore in the south of the Netherlands, after losing the St.James’s Day Battle through Cornelis Tromp’s betrayal.

Parricide Captain Heemskerck, who was condemned to death, found shelter with the British and in return told them about a place called “Vlie”: A narrow water way between the Dutch islands Vlieland and Terschelling. A large merchant fleet was anchored there and not heavily guarded. Holmes set sail to the north, filled some old ships with hay and wood, set them on fire and drove them into the Dutch fleet. In the morning, the fleet was destroyed and the British continued burning the village of West-Terschelling down.

150-170 ships burned that night, more than 2000 people lost their life. In the village, only the church and lighthouse, De Brandaris, were standing, the rest had turned to ashes. Although, the Dutch history books, do tell the story about the retaliation with the Raid on the Medway, Holmes’ Bonfire, tends to be forgotten. The inhabitants of Vlieland and Terschelling, tried to change that with their week of commemoration.

Exactly 350 years to date, Dutch company, Live Legends, set sail to the north with a d3 computer, to set the last standing building on fire. Lighthouse, De Brandaris, was the canvas for the spectacular show, which would complete the 1666 commemoration week.

d3 Solution

Creating an event on an island, in comparison to mainland, is a completely different story. All equipment has to be brought in by boat, so it helps if you can use the materials that are already there. To figure this out, a site visit was held, where a 3D scan of the lighthouse and surrounding square area, was produced.

The d3 visualiser was used to figure out what would be the best position for projectors and what would be the most efficient part of the lighthouse to project on to. Dave van Roon, d3 specialist at Live Legends, comments; “Whilst it sounded like a good idea to use projection mapping for the whole lighthouse, the square was rather small, so it would’ve really hurt your neck to look up 56 meters. Instead, part of the lighthouse was chosen as the main focus of the show.

As for the projectors, crowd control didn’t allow for large structures to be situated in the streets, additionally big trees narrowed down the options, but two flat roofs from surrounding houses looked like good options. Using the d3 visualiser, the right lenses for these positions were calculated, along with a prediction of luminance and pixel smear. This gave confidence in the concept and the rigs could be prepared.”

The content was baked to the UV map of the 3D model of the lighthouse. This way the architectonic features of the lighthouse could be used to make 3D effects, complementing the 2D footage. Actor Vigo Waas played Robert Holmes and Frank Lammers played Michiel De Ruyter. Both were recorded at Live Legends’ office in Abcoude.

Live Legends Content Director Ad de Haan used the d3 visualisation to determine the position of the recorded shots. “We decided to double the shots on the two sides of the lighthouse” he explained. “Normally we would choose one hero point from which the show looks best. But as the lighthouse is very tall and the square is not that big, chances are most of the audience is only seeing one side. The d3 visualiser showed that 3D mapped content from a hero point would look slanted from those sides. So we ended up with a hybrid form of semi 3D and 2D content, which gave the 3D effect we aimed for, but satisfied the whole audience.”

Dave van Roon adds, “the recent wireless workflow within d3 saved the day. The FOH was situated in an apartment above a restaurant, nice and dry but hard to reach. Using an OSCapp on my iPhone, I could control the show from anywhere on the square and show a test grid or play audio if needed. It started raining right before one of the show. This was a nice effect, giving the projected lightning strikes more impact, but it’s not the best thing for equipment. In the hassle of putting up rain covers for the projectors the whole rig got misaligned. But as wireless d3 Net is supported nowadays, we could just walk around the square with our laptops and had the rig aligned again in 20 minutes.”

Enjoy the photos (by Albert Wester)

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