Adelaide City Christmas Tree with ETA

Posted on Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

Each year thousands of locals, interstate visitors and international travellers meet at Victoria Square (Tarntanyangga) in Adelaide to observe the giant Christmas tree, acting somewhat as the epicentre of the Christmas season in the city.

Working extensively alongside the City of Adelaide, Entertainment Technology Australia were responsible for the 2017/18 upgrade of the show content and lighting systems for the tree.

Standing 10 stories tall (30 metres) in the centre of the city, at night the tree is a glowing beacon visible for kilometres in each direction. The foliage of the tree is covered with a series of RGB pixels; 13,336 total to be exact. The energy efficient LEDS are individually controllable to allow colourful moving animations to be displayed when programmed as a whole. In a Christmas theme of course!

The project had been in development for several months before it’s November installation, with many elements of the design process proving rather challenging at times says ETA’s project manager Taylor Chadwick. “We are displaying two dimensional video content on to what really is a big three dimensional cone. We had to drastically crop and skew our animations to counteract resolution changes at different points of the tree.”

The tree displays a range of Christmas themed animations over the space of a 15 minute show loop. Christmas imagery such as candy canes, baubles and presents as well as shooting stars and colour wraps are incorporated in to the show design. The star is also synchronised to react with the body of the tree.

Working with an elaborate network of over 13,000 RGB pixels, the control solution was an integral aspect of the development process. The ETA team required a front-end solution that could comfortably process large amounts of data, while catering for their creative direction.

German LED control software MADRIX provided the best option for building and operating the 220 universes over Art-Net. “MADRIX has once again been rock solid for us. It’s intuitive interface for creating the pixel map was important for a project of such scale. We utilised the new CSV import feature to create the map file.”

In action at night, the tree is amazing to watch. From up close underneath the tree, on the grassy picnic area in front, or even from 500 metres away, the Christmas lighting display is colourful, bright and dynamic, perfect for kids young and old. What a perfect way to kick off the Christmas season in the city.

The official opening took place on the 1st of December in front of an excited crowd of 10,000 people. The tree will be lit each night of the Christmas period from 7:30pm at Victoria Square (Tarntanyangga).