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Digital Projection and Artabesk move mountains at Sharjah Light Festival

The 12-day festival, now in its 13th year, showcases the history, heritage and architecture of the eponymous emirate with a mesmerising carnival of lights, colours and music. The largest festival of its kind in the region, it invites internationally renowned artists to celebrate the city’s built and natural environment, using large-scale projection mapping to illuminate and reimagine landmarks such as the Sharjah Mosque, the city’s largest house of worship, and the spectacular Hajjar Mountains, which overlook the Al Rafisah Dam.

For the 2024 festival, Dubai-based videomapping specialist and immersion content creator Artabesk once again enlisted its extensive Digital Projection inventory to create the truly unique visual experiences – including a 300m × 50m projection on the side of a mountain – its 500,000+ visitors have come to expect from the annual event.

Digital Projection and Artabesk move mountains at Sharjah Light Festival

A tourist destination in its own right, the Al Rafisah Dam is located in a picturesque spot surrounded by greenery and sandstone mountains around an hour’s drive out of Sharjah city. During Sharjah Light Festival it was the venue for The Jewel of Al Rafisah Dam, a 3D projection mapping show inspired by the ‘Golden Age of Sharjah’, focusing on the ancient history of the city of Khorfakkan and the United Arab Emirates’ native flora and fauna. At its climax, 12 swans emerge from the mountain behind the dam and dance on the waters of the Wadi Shie river.

Featuring content created by Artabesk, The Jewel of Al Rafisah Dam marked the first time visual content had been mapped onto a mountain of that size – a feat which involved several challenges, as Mounir Harbaoui, founder and managing director of Artabesk, explains: “We had two main challenges for this projection: the brightness, as the mountain is a brownish, stone colour, and the multiple shadows the mountain creates, as it is not a flat surface.”

Digital Projection and Artabesk move mountains at Sharjah Light Festival

“We always have support on site when it is necessary, and Digital Projection’s Dubai-based team, led by Alex Gnatyuk, always collaborate to make sure the projectors are in the best condition for each installation.”

Digital Projection and Artabesk move mountains at Sharjah Light Festival

Unlike the Al Rafisah Dam mountain projection, which featured moving visuals and music, for Sharjah Mosque Artabesk was limited to still images, given the sensitivities associated with projecting onto a religious site. Despite this, the powerful, ultra-bright imagery generated by the TITAN Laser projectors ensured that the strikingly illuminated mosque was widely regarded one of the highlights of the festival.

In addition to delivering on the technological front, Digital Projection supported Artabesk throughout the festival, says Harbaoui, who hails the latest cooperation between the manufacturer and his company. “We always have support on site when it is necessary,” he explains, “ and Digital Projection’s Dubai-based team, led by Alex Gnatyuk, always collaborate to make sure the projectors are in the best condition for each installation.”

Digital Projection and Artabesk move mountains at Sharjah Light Festival

To overcome these obstacles, Artabesk turned to the TITAN Laser 37000 WU, a class-leading 3-Chip DLP projector whose 37000 (WUXGA)/31000 (4K-UHD)-lumen output makes it an ideal projector for large outdoor applications. “We decided to use our new TITAN Laser 37000, as it is capable of projecting up to 40m from each projector,” says Harbaoui, outlining how his team address the brightness issue. “We also switched off the street lights so we could create a completely dark environment.” The second challenge was resolved by concentrating all 16 TITAN Laser 37000 WU projectors on one point on the mountain, which resulted in a “super clear” image when viewed from the area where the audience were located, adds Harbaoui.

Also among the four festival sites entrusted to Artabesk, which used a mix of TITAN Laser 37000 WU and M-Vision 23000 WU projectors, was the Sharjah Mosque, located on a 190,000m² (2m sqft) site in Sharjah city. There, Artabesk employed 21 TITAN Laser 37000 WU to create a 400m² linear projection, divided into eight areas across the entire surface of the mammoth mosque, whose minarets alone are almost 40m high.

Photo credit: Artabesk and Benjamin Perroux

Digital Projection and Artabesk move mountains at Sharjah Light Festival

Product mentioned in this case study: Titan Laser 37000 WUXGA

  • Up to 37,000 Lumens
  • 4K-UHD & WUXGA Resolution
  • 18,000:1 Contrast
  • Sealed Optics

TITAN Laser – A Legend is Reborn! Unbelievably bright and powerful 3-Chip Laser Projector delivering with a surprisingly affordable price tag

The powerful Titan Laser 37000 delivers up to 37,000 (WUXGA) or up to 31,000 (4K-UHD) Lumens from a relatively compact chassis, making it the ideal projector for the most demanding of large-venue applications. Where bright, pin sharp images are required there should be no compromise.

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