Canada’s Big Nickel, located at Dynamic Earth in Sudbury, Ontario, is a beloved Canadian icon. At about 64.5 million times the size of a real Canadian nickel, it is the largest coin in the world! To celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, Dynamic Earth: Home of the Big Nickel will be lighting up the nickel to deliver a spectacular evening multimedia show.
This visually stunning show will be the first of it’s kind in Northern Ontario. Similar displays can be seen at Fort Henry in Kingston, Ontario or on the walls of Canada’s Parliament Hill building in Ottawa.
The magic happens with the use of a new technology called projection mapping. This technology turns objects, often irregularly shaped (like a 12-sided nickel) into a display surface for video projection. The video is commonly combined with, or triggered by, audio to create an audio-visual narrative.
To fit a video onto the surface of a three-dimensional object, a 3D map of the entire scene is necessary. Detailed drawings are no longer available for the Big Nickel, which was built 52 years ago, so local consulting engineering firm Hatch manually mapped the surface of the nickel using drones. To reach over the 30ft-high nickel, drones offered a safe, flexible solution for highly accurate data acquisition.
After only two hours on site, hundreds of high-quality images were collected and used to produce an accurate 3D model of the Big Nickel, as well as coordinates of the object in relation to the projector. With the display surface defined, the fun part began – playing with the effects, including textures, animations and 3D illusions.
In addition to awesome visual effects, the Big Nickel show will feature music and sound effects to tell the rich and engaging story of Sudbury’s journey through the last 150 years. Lighting on the audience and rock faces in front of the nickel will act as an extension of the screen. Featuring images of the region’s past, present and future, this 15 minute artistic display will celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.
Today marks 5 days to go on the #Canada150 countdown. Staged select evenings at nightfall, from May through September, the Big Nickel show is a ‘must see’ experience for 2017. This free special experience will open on May 19, 2017.