NEWS & BLOG

07
Sep

Meet the Team – Paul Blackham

paul blackham gbvi projector edge blending.jpegIn this blog we talk to Paul Blackham, Developer at GBvi – he’s not always in a client-facing role, but all of our customers and projects certainly see and benefit from his expert programming skill.

So, tell us a little about what you do at GBvi

A major part of what I do is to develop the design tools we use during the early stages of each project process – the ones that help map system design and accurately produce layout data for our customer projects. Occasionally I work on system blending designs too and am increasingly working with the team to gather data for various projector models that we can use in blend analysis.

Typically, what’s your involvement in projects?

My involvement in projects usually depends on the scope of the client requirements. On some projects, we play a key part in the design optimisation process of the display system, helping the client to build and specify the optimum configuration. On others, we are contracted to design and supply an optimised blending system where the client has already signed off on projector layout.

What’s your background?

I have a degree in Games Art and Design, so not really from the sim or viz industry as I know it now, but I still find there’s a huge amount of overlap and similarity in the worlds of simulation and gaming. I’ve spent a lot of time with CAD software, 3D modelling and programming which has really been put to use here.

Tell us about the kind of projects you work, and what you’re most proud of

Unfortunately, we’re unable to mention the specifics of many projects we work on for obvious reasons. Recently though, I’ve been working on the delivery of a project for a search and rescue helicopter training programme. As a display system, it’s actually pretty complex with 11-channels of projection. I’ve recently developed new design tools that have overseen the entire project for us from initial design process through to completion – the creation of the masks was then handled by our usual in-house team.

What keeps you on your toes at GBvi?

We’re always testing the compatibility of projectors which can be a little challenging. If we receive a new enquiry that specifies a model of projector that we haven’t tested before, it’s not simply about pricing something up. It can mean the start of an R&D project where we often have to simulate the client environment by bringing in new screen shapes or material. We need to ensure our performance specification is accurate first time around and have to go the extra mile to achieve this.

What do you enjoy most about working here?

I find it really enjoyable to get into the programming side of things, particularly seeing how the tools I develop consistently produce high standard results and streamline the process. Plus, we have a great office in the Sussex countryside, yet I’m still able to live right on the beach in the bustling city that is Brighton.

12
Aug

GBvi VOID Infinity Experience Recreates Sublime Senses at Cotterrell’s Mirror II-Distance Art AV Installation

[press release]

Sussex, UK  —  12 August  — UK-based image innovation technology company, GBvi, has recently delivered two VOID infinity display experiences to a new art installation by renowned media and technology artist, David Cotterrell. The new installation work, Mirror II – Distance, is on show in Dublin as part of the Seeing exhibition at the Science Gallery.

 

David Cotterrell Mirror featuring VOID from GBvi
Mirror II – Distance is part of the “Mirror” project, a series devised to provide insight into global communities that experience distancing and objectification. It is inspired by observations of the Diplomatic Enclave in Islamabad and features two Pakistani guards standing and watching over the expat compounds they are stationed over. The two men observe each other across a distance as they listen to the visitors, the experts and the specialists discuss Pakistan, its people and its future.

 

The art installation comprises two VOID installations by GBvi, each presenting video media of a Pakistani guard communicating with the other in the secondary VOID. A suspended dome speaker above the installation ensures visitors only experience both sight and sound when underneath the audio and between each of the VOID stations.

 

Critical to the creation of the experience was a true and compelling sense of distance and infinity, so that the distance between the two guards feels true-to-life.

 

VOID, an infinity display experience for educational spaces, attractions and themed experiences, uses special display techniques and light path management to create extreme depth cues and illusions of distance – so that viewers and audiences are provided with a sense of peering into space.

 

Mirror II - Distance“It’s very difficult to transfer the sensation of place into reality. People can’t understand or recreate this experience from an illustration or image alone and we wanted to generate a sense of emotion and understanding from this installation. The VOID allowed us to do just that.” explains artist David Cotterrell.

 

“It was important that visitors became fully immersed and engaged with the media. We will continue to use this technology and refine how we apply it in future installations to continue innovating with depth cues and immersion in art.”

 

Available in a range of size, brightness, projection performance and playback configurations up to ultra-high contrast 4K, VOID is built to deliver realistic, immersive experiences.

 

Geoff Blackham, Managing Director at GBvi added, “It’s been a hugely exciting and eye-opening project for us, to see this technology being applied in such an innovative application. We have worked with David over many years – he is very experimental and inventive with his use of emerging technologies and we look further to further application of our products within his work.”

 

The launch of the Seeing exhibition marks the start of a two-year, multi-venue tour across the UK and USA. For more information, please visit https://dublin.sciencegallery.com/seeing/

 

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About the Seeing exhibition
The exhibition features the works of 24 artists, designers and technologists exploring the complex sensory experience of vision and perception. The works illuminate optics, perspective, and comprehension while exploring enhanced and augmented ways of seeing, artificial eyes, and radical alternatives to vision. The exhibition explores the subjectivity of sight, the other senses that shape our view of the world, and the unexpected parallels between human and machine vision.

 

About David Cotterrell
David Cotterrell is an installation artist working across media and technologies to explore the social and political tendencies of a world at once shared and divided. Cotterrell’s work has been commissioned and shown extensively in Europe, the United States and Asia. He is Professor of Fine Art at the University of Brighton and is represented by Danielle Arnaud. For more information, visit http://www.cotterrell.com/

 

About GBvi
GBvi has a long standing heritage in the field of display systems design, specialising in optical blending solutions for multi-channel projection environments, with no limit to display size, screen shape or projector count. The company works with an extensive network of integrator partners, resellers and designers with a focus on the markets of simulation, entertainment and attractions.

 

Their range of technologies and services supports even the most challenging displays; especially those requiring uniformity, clarity, invisible projection blend regions, true-to-life digital experiences, infinity displays, and ultra-black environments.
24
Jun

Specialist optical blending for Simulation industry

Our Optical Blending and projector edge blending solutions maximise contrast of simulation displays, and optimise for dark scene applications.

When deep black levels are critical to simulated training environments, GBvi projector edge blending solutions allow you to maintain an even black level across multi-channel displays, enhancing the perception of life-like imagery within projected displays. The result is an absence of any residual light distractions or artefacts that would otherwise be found in digitally blended displays.

Our Chronos optical blending technologies enable display system designers and integrators to overcome the hurdles faced when using digital projectors in dark environments, namely, channel overlap visibility and inferior display system contrast and dynamic range resulting from projector light leakage.

Our new Simulation Industry brochure is now available for download, featuring details of our products and capabilities. Download a copy here.

For more information on how we can help you realise the best from your display system, or to request a custom quotation please contact us.

23
May

ITEC 2016 – great to see all

The GBvi team has returned from a great ITEC 2016 event in London. We met up with many faces old and new and are excited to continue being a part of such a vibrant and innovative industry.

See you again next year, if not at another event until then.

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11
May

Five-Year Anniversary Marked with New Product Development and Office Expansion

Sussex, England – 11 May 2016 – After five years of success, UK optical projection blending specialist, GBvi Limited, has completed its move into a new, larger R&D and operations building. Their line-up of proprietary solutions for multi-channel digital projection channel blending has recently been expanded to include new mechanical framework designs, improved mask algorithms for optimum levels of accuracy, alignment system advancements, projector blend mask actuation options and anti-reflection coatings.

Since 2011, GBvi has been supplying bespoke and custom-engineered optical blending systems for a range of applications including fast-jet simulation training, helicopter simulation training, ground-based military training, digital visitor attractions, themed entertainment experiences and immersive educational spaces.

To date, GBvi has supplied many bespoke optical projection blending systems to large-scale simulation and visualisation environments globally. Earlier this month, the team moved into its new, larger premises in Ditchling, Sussex, England, which accommodates more advanced design and manufacturing requirements.

Geoff Blackham, Founder and Managing Director of GBvi commented; “We are very proud of our achievements to date and are delighted to mark such an accomplishment with the opening of our new R&D and operations facility. We are repeatedly chosen by some of the most reputable simulation systems integrators, also working closely with projector manufacturers and extend our thanks to our partners and customers who have been part of our journey so far.”

GBvi will be exhibiting at ITEC 2016 in London from 17-19 May. Geoff will also be speaking at the show with a presentation titled ‘Optical Blending: Difficult yet Essential for Maximising Dynamic Range of Projection Displays’.

For more information on GBvi, please visit www.gbvi.co.uk

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What is Optical Blending?

Optical Blending uses physical masking techniques to provide managed fading of multiple partially-overlapped projected images so that their images are blended together to form a larger, continuous, image.

About GBvi

GBvi (gbvi.co.uk) has a long standing heritage in the field of display systems design, specialising in optical blending solutions for multi-channel projection environments, with no limit to display size, screen shape or projector count. The company works with an extensive network of integrator partners, resellers and designers with a focus on the markets of simulation, entertainment and attractions.

Their range of technologies and services supports even the most challenging displays; especially those requiring uniformity, clarity, invisible projection blend regions, true-to-life digital experiences, infinity displays, and ultra-black environments.

For more information please contact:

Beth Nicholas   |    beth.nicholas @ matchboxmedia dot co dot uk

+44 (0) 7891 291471

10
Mar

GBvi to speak at ITEC 2016

ITEC 2016 is the annual forum where representatives from across the military, industry and academia connect and share knowledge about military simulation, training and education community. For more information on ITEC 2016, click here.

Geoff’s ITEC 2016 presentation is titled ‘Optical Blending – Difficult yet Essential for Maximising Dynamic Range of Projection Displays’

 

Here’s a snippet of the abstract…. For full details or to request a copy of the presentation, please contact us

 

Quality projection displays for visual simulation have evolved to use mainstream commercial projection devices, which, together with automatic alignment solutions, have dramatically reduced time required for their installation, alignment and maintenance. However, one bugbear has remained in the form of projector light leakage when displaying dark scene content.

Electronic blending solutions exist that produce excellent results for bright scenes but, for continuous background intensity levels in dark scenes, one must use infill techniques that sacrifice precious dynamic range. Often, solutions are commissioned that sacrifice up to 75% of the possible dynamic range, on the basis that ‘it’s the best you can get’. Often, this trade-off is not even apparent to the end-user, who therefore understandably assumes that the resulting performance really does represent the state of the art, which in turn limits the useful application scope of an expensive simulation system. Optical solutions to blending multiple channels can solve this problem, offering the promise to increase the utility and hence value of visual simulation training substantially, yet often this option is not even considered – so why is this?

 

Factors limiting the take-up of optical blending include: –

 

  1. Difficulty: implementing optical blending has proven to be surprisingly difficult. While standalone projected image quality of commercially available projectors is often excellent, optical characteristics tend to be unsympathetic to simple solutions. A systematic and well-founded methodology can lower this barrier substantially.
  2. Higher contrast projectors are available: even displays employing some of the more recent high-contrast projectors would benefit from optical blending – almost to the same degree as lesser contrast examples, owing to the enormous perception range of the human observer over a wide range of viewing conditions.
  3. Cost: while cost of the display system is certainly increased by the addition of optical blending hardware, it is a low proportion of visual system cost and the performance enhancement can represent value well in excess of this increase. Optical blending implementations – which place physical masks in the projection light paths – have been around for a long time, but a universal solution for all projector types and scene content has yet to become available. Many solutions give relatively poor performance that can be tolerated for dark scenes such as those experienced in night training, so are actuated out of the light paths for use with daytime scenes. These present logistical challenges to simulator users, where a choice must be made as to what ‘mode’ you are training, or some transition must be suffered while the blending system switches mode. Other solutions cannot withstand sustained light flux without degradation, so again must be actuated, while yet others may cause image sharpness degradation in the blend regions, so must be designed very carefully to limit this impact, particularly with high-resolution projectors.

The purpose of this paper is to inform the simulator operator and trainee community of this key area of visual system optimisation, including its cost-benefit analysis. Included in this will be a review of the mainstream projection technologies and their respective pros & cons, particularly with regard to scene dynamic range and blend implications. This in turn leads to a detailed review of optical blending options, presenting their operating theories and application scope. Finally, a new active optical blend technology is introduced that widens the range of display types that can benefit from high quality optical blending.

25
Feb

Geoff Blackham talks to rAVe about optical blending & Void

Want to know more about our Chronos Optical Blending Solution, and ‘Void’ – our brand new infinity display experience for attractions and leisure simulation?

Watch the rAVe pubs video interview with our Founder & MD, Geoff Blackham, at ISE 2016 in Amsterdam.

19
Jan

GBvi Completes Delivery of Specialist Multi-Channel Optical Blending for European Fast Jet Simulator

Sussex, England — 19 January 2016 — UK-based expert in display technology innovation and multi-channel projector blending, GBvi, has completed delivery of a five-channel Chronos optical blending installation for a European Fast Jet Simulator installation.

The company was awarded the contract by Antycip Simulation in August 2015, after a year-long commercial relationship.

Antycip Simulation markets, distributes and supports a range of commercial software solutions for the modelling, simulation and training communities. GBvi was chosen to provide Chronos, its proprietary high performance film/glass blend mask solution, for a seamless multi-channel digitally projected display.

Antycip Simulation’s requirements detailed display design validation and the specialist need for wide-angle lens compatibility, among other key contract requirements.

Riccardo Rovelli, Area Manager for Italy and Germany, at Antycip Simulation notes, “Antycip Simulation uses GBvi technologies in a range of fast-jet and helicopter simulation applications – their experience, dedication to innovation and exceptional support, help us meet the technical and design challenges clients present us with”.

He went on to say, “It’s critical to our projects, that our technology partners maintain unrivalled levels of accuracy and attention to detail in both system design and delivery. I’m very pleased to say that GBvi is an excellent partner, in these regards, and far exceeded our expectations.”

Geoff Blackham, Founder and Managing Director at GBvi explained, “This was a notably exciting project for us. Our team employed several design customisations including projector alignment boresight pattern generation, specialist mounts, custom blend masks, HUD filter assembly and warp mesh generation. Our engineers were fully integrated as part of the team with Antycip Simulation and on-site at the end client, for successful simulator integration.”

GBvi supported both the projection display and blend installations. A key feature of the Chronos optical blending technology is its fast installation time and full customisation process. GBvi completed blending installation in just one day on this contract – a phase that can typically take several days.

“We were chosen as providers of the highest quality blending system available in the market and for our positive customer support reputation.” Blackham continued. “This successful project illustrates that we offer valuable scope well beyond product supply – we are delighted to have been a part of the installation team on this project.”

For more information on GBvi and their range of optical blending solutions and display technologies, visit www.gbvi.co.uk

### ENDS ###

About Antycip Simulation

Antycip Simulation is the European leader in the distribution and support of professional level COTS modelling, simulation and virtual reality solutions, to military, public and commercial organisations. With over two decades of experience, its work helps clients to become better at what they do. Antycip Simulation is headquartered in Paris, and has regional offices in Oxford, and Milan.

About GBvi

GBvi (gbvi.co.uk) has a long standing heritage in the field of display systems design, specialising in optical blending solutions for multi-channel projection environments, with no limit to display size, screen shape or projector count. The company works with an extensive network of integrator partners, resellers and designers with a focus on the markets of simulation, entertainment and attractions.

Their range of technologies and services supports even the most challenging displays; especially those requiring uniformity, clarity, invisible projection blend regions, true-to-life digital experiences, infinity displays, and ultra-black environments.
18
Jan

GBvi at ISE 2016 with 7thSense

This year, the biggest yet for ISE 2016 in Amsterdam, GBvi will be exhibiting for the first time in partnership with 7thSense Design.

The annual show will take place from Tuesday 9th to Friday 12th February at the Amsterdam RAI and is expected to attract over 70,000 visitors.

On show, we will have our brand new product release ‘The Void’ – being premiered for the first time. Designed for attractions, classrooms, science centres, museums, this versatile infinity viewing pod system is built for the next generation of immersive experiences. Drop by the stand to find out more.

We will also be actively seeking international reseller partners for Chronos optical blending technologies.

You can find us on the 7thSense Design stand in Hall 10 (10-Q116). You can navigate your way around the show in advance via the interactive floorplan.

Get in touch if you would like to arrange a meeting during the four day show.

11
Jan

Reflections on CES 2016…

Although I was unable to make it to CES this year, I’ve followed it closely to see what flashy new developments have made their way to the show floor. Dramas aside (such as one stand being raided by US marshals) there were some fascinating technologies on show.

Snazzy gadgets, such as Lenovo phones (no longer using the name Motorola) which will come with Google’s Project Tango made an appearance. Project Tango being a must see for anyone with an eye on augmented reality technology.

Drones and droids made a big appearance in this year’s show, featuring the latest Star Wars droids of course, but also a rather spectacular autonomous shuttle drone by EHang, that can automatically transport a person to a designated location.

There was also Bragi’s wireless earbuds, which appear to be filled with features that set them aside from other audio devices in their capabilities. Well worth a look (or listen)!

And of course, there was a considerable weight of cutting edge display technologies. Perhaps most eye-catching of all the display technologies on show was Panasonic’s transparent displays. Although the technology has existed for some time, it’s fascinating to now see it marketed amongst the consumer electronics community.

As well as a decent range of 4K LCD and OLED displays by Sony, Samsung, LG and Panasonic, there was also an emphasis on ‘Super UHD’ (Super Ultra High Definition), with LG’s stonking new 98” 8K Super UHD LED TV being one of the highlights. Is this a sign that displays may simply surpass 4K? How long will it be before ‘Mega Super Ultra High Definition’ hits the market?