The 21,000-seat-plus Bell Centre, home to the Montreal Canadiens NHL hockey team, is famous for its dazzling high-tech pre-game shows. But projecting onto the rough ice surface was causing serious image blurring. Set-up times were also a major headache for the multipurpose arena, which frequently squeezes major events such as concerts in between hockey games. Loud rock shows kept vibrating the projector lenses out of alignment.
At the heart of Bell Centre’s new projection & entertainment system is CANVAS running on two servers. The servers are genlocked for frame-accurate synchronization, and each drives six projectors. CANVAS enables up to 16 HD projections onto any kind of surface, and rendering images on ice nearly as sharp as those on regular surfaces.
The impact was immediately groundbreaking. Hockey pre-game shows are rarely televised due to the poor image quality of ice projections. After seeing CANVAS’ impeccably clear imagery, the Bell Centre decided to broadcast the pre-game show live on national TV.
CANVAS also created a new pipeline that eliminated most of the cumbersome AV tools that traditionally sit between the image feed and the projector. Now the team uses our GPU-oriented solution to complete image processing (warp, blend, color correction and pixel mapping) directly at the source.
What’s more, CANVAS cut projector calibration time from 3-6 hours down to just 15 minutes. CANVAS only requires projectors to be placed more or less symmetrically to calibrate the system.