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In a collaboration with the United Nations, Droga5, and numerous partners, Collab created and produced the technology and design to create a live performance/viral video for World Humanitarian Day (WHD) 2012.

The central concept was to transform the iconic General Assembly of the UN into a living canvas, and connect it with every country on earth that is affected by the initiatives that stem from that very room. The process involved constructing the largest indoor concave projection screen ever built, engineering 10,000 pounds of steel to truss the screen over the world’s leaders, and projection-map the UN General Assembly Hall. The screen served as an animated backdrop for a live performance of Beyonce’s “I Was Here,” the adopted anthem of WHD. A music video shot during the show helped the WHD campaign reach over 2 billion people globally through the combined social reach of celebrities like Michelle Obama, Oprah, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and more.


The project was complex and required a strategic and executable thoughtfulness in order to build Kenzo's (the creative director) vision for shooting a live music video.  Working with a twenty-five person team of animators, we developed content to be projected on a distorted surface. The sheer size -- projecting on a 12,000 sf concave screen was challenging enough. Adding the complexity of bringing together an organization like the United Nations to work collaboratively while creating a visual masterpiece that needed to be filmed in front of a live audience in one take was mind boggling. 


We started by designing a large compound curve screen that would wrap the iconic structure inside the General Assembly at the United Nations in a screen.  Once we had an idea of the way the screen would be designed, we created a miniature model in order to give the animation team a physical piece to work with.  This gave the design team a way to pre-visualize the canvas and gain a deeper understanding of how the content would look, projection-mapped, in the real world.  


It started with designing a beautiful vision and bringing together a talented and committed group of people. Building a compound curve screen in less than two weeks time, and suspending that screen over the heads of world leaders who would be in attendance to watch Beyonce perform, added a new set of challenges.  The project came out beautifully. In addition to having more than 2 billion views, it also gave the United Nations a new perspective on bringing people together in their organization through an artistic endeavor. Every person that participated in the production of this masterpiece felt the spirit of what happens when a good group of people with a shared goal work together with good intentions.  The video speaks for itself.  If you are interested in learning more about the production or seeing behind the scenes images, you can find more details on our blog.

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