Video Design & Direction
Tom Bairstow – Creative Director & Founder
Alice Ryland – Producer
Emile Frederick – Lead Video Designer
Lydia Caplan – Lead Motion Designer
Florian Lecoq – Lead Technical Artist
Sean Bone – Motion Designer
Daniel Richards – Motion Designer
Liam Gilheany – Motion Designer
Dana Couling – Motion Designer
Dan Wise – Motion Designer
Duncan Tune – Motion Designer
Jamie Marshall – Motion Designer
Arthur Broome – Motion Designer
Luca Brenna – Motion Designer
In January 2022, the BBC commissioned NorthHouse to conceptualise, design and create the visuals for the Platinum Party at the Palace, including projection-mapping Buckingham Palace, LED screen visuals and designing the broadcast graphics throughout the celebratory weekend.
We made it our mission to create the most incredible show the Palace had ever seen and pushed the ideas, design and tech in every way possible to create the most incredible experience for thousands of people around the Palace and millions worldwide.
It was an opportunity to let our imaginations go wild, and we’re so grateful to the BBC and the various artists we worked with for giving us this creative freedom to bring the Palace to life.
We wanted to tell our Queen’s story, raise environmental awareness, connect the nation (and world) and throw the biggest party at the Palace!
Our creative direction captured the spirit of HM the Queen, her vibrance, strength and positive influence through a balance of classical-meets-contemporary. We took great inspiration from HM’s styling over the decades. We utilised a range of design styles to create many moments throughout the show, combining hand-made and artistic aesthetics with big 3D moments that gave the illusion of depth on the Palace.
There were so many memorable moments within the show:
We created a luscious garden that grew all over the Palace (with vines wrapping around the palace columns) before transitioning to a short film of Sir David Attenborough to draw attention to our environment. (We filmed Sir David two weeks before the show on a beautifully sunny day in Richmond Park before projecting him onto the Palace).
We created a magical forest filled with life for a stunning rendition of ‘What a wonderful World’ by Hans Zimmer and Celeste.
We dug into a vast archive of incredible natural history footage to transform the Palace into stunning landscapes from around the world with a stunning performance by the Royal Ballet.
We poured liquid platinum over the Palace for Alicia Keys that bounced around the architecture before filling up the building.
We created a drone and projection show with Sky Magic for Sigala and Ella Eyre, where drones and projections became one composition to create a perfect synergy.
We peeled back 70 layers of projected wallpaper from the Palace with Duran Duran, inspired and designed using assets from Her Majesty’s exceptional styling over the years.
We created some really special and heartfelt moments utilising an incredible amount of archive footage of the royal family for many moments within the show.
We swung disco balls around the Palace and rolled them along the architecture in true-Indiana-Jones-style for Diana Ross before showering the Palace with projected pyro effects reminiscent of Miss Ross’s iconic music video for ‘Chain Reaction’.
We created potentially the largest Union Jack the nation has seen for many moments through the show, including a stunning rendition of the national anthem with a mass audience down pall mall all joining in.
To finish the show, we projected 700 light bulbs glistening with red, white and blue light to form the final Union Jack.
From a technical perspective, we utilised a vast range of tools, techniques, software and hardware to create the show, from scanned textiles and hand-drawn illustrations to 2D and 3D motion design and VFX in rendered and real-time software.
We utilised the power of Unreal Engine and Notch to create many of the bigger 3D renders to combat large resolution render times and develop a level of flexibility.
To pre-visualise the show, we – again – utilised the power of Unreal Engine to preview our projection visuals on the Palace, taking detailed lidar scans of the building to map every detail within the architecture and build a perfect 3D model and mesh. Within our software, we could view our projection visuals from every broadcast camera angle and live audience perspective, along with previewing and testing the visuals in a whole range of light and weather conditions. Once we arrived at the Palace, it was almost a case of pressing go.
The show was an incredible collaboration between many great creative minds.
Working with Julia Knowles (camera director), we could take the positions of the broadcast cameras way in advance of the show and create depth-illusion moments that worked from specific broadcast camera locations.
Working with Nigel Catmur (lighting designer), we created a beautiful synergy between lighting, projection and LED. We also made many ‘architectural lighting looks’ on the Palace with our projection, rendering virtual lighting within our 3D software to then project onto the Palace. This was used mostly during the show from 8 PM – 9:30 PM before the full projection show began to give a little life and sparkle to the Palace. Nigel could then control colour and intensity to suit his lighting through these earlier moments of the show.
And, of course, working with the BBC (Mark Sidaway, Cheryl Ko Pearson, Claudia Bishop and many more) along with various artist teams, we could share true-to-life pre-visualisations of the show to develop the ideas collectively.
Working with the BBC and all the artists on this historic event was an absolute honour. It’s a show we’ll always remember very fondly and will forever be one of NorthHouse’s most outstanding achievements.