New York City is always vibrant and filled with hustle and bustle, especially on the weekends, but Super Bowl Weekend was particularly lively in the City that Never Sleeps. Yes, we know that the game was actually played in East Rutherford, NJ, but with thousands of visitors flying into NY from all over the country to see the game, much preparation was taken to ensure that a good time was had by all. “Super Bowl Boulevard”, engineered by GMC, spanned Broadway between 34th and 47th Streets from Wednesday, January 29th to Saturday, February 1st. For four exciting days, the Boulevard was the epicenter for football fans and was also the biggest and brightest show on Broadway. One of the main attractions along the Boulevard was the Super Bowl Virtual Theater, a breathtaking 3,390 square-foot mapped projection, located on the storefront of Macy’s in Herald Square (Broadway & 34th Street). The spectacular video show on the front of the iconic Macy’s building was a visual celebration of football.
The massive display was created and projected by a Montreal-based collective of video, design and technology nerds, Moment Factory. The projection-mapping specialists are experts at turning buildings into gigantic digital animations and they have developed their own proprietary software to do so. Across Macy’s Broadway facade, the installation played an overwhelming eight minutes of images – from footballs and confetti to real NFL footage – backed by an epic mashup soundtrack. The show ran every 30 minutes from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm during the four days prior to the Super Bowl. Some of the challenges that the production company faced were light pollution emanating from Times Square, the Empire State Building and various skyscrapers in the area, as well as noise pollution from local traffic (and crazed Super Bowl fans, of course). To address the audio issue, the city allowed the volume of the show to go as high as 100 decibels, rather than the normal 85 decibel limit, which is essentially the same level as Manhattan traffic. To solve the lighting issue, the images were blasted over Herald Square from 12 2K40 Barco projectors from the Courtyard Marriott on Sixth Avenue. The projectors have 2K resolution with lamps rated at 40,000 lumens. Despite these initial challenges, the Super Bowl Virtual Theater turned out to be a huge success, literally. While the Big Apple is home to thousands of Jumbotrons and and other large digital displays, including some powered by Zero-In, never before has a display of this magnitude graced New York City.