ETC UK immortalises Taj Mahal Hotel

Large format projection specialists ETC UK were called to Mumbai in India to produce an amazing projection show celebrating the Centenary of the world-famous Taj Mahal Hotel, for its owners the Tata Group.

The 582 room five star hotel, one of the most prestigious in the world, is located on Mumbai’s waterfront next to the Gateway of India. It was originally built by Jamshetji Tata as a response to the many English hotels – in the days of the Empire – that excluded Indian guests. The Tata Group still owns the hotel.

The hotel joins many landmark, famous and beguiling buildings that ETC UK has transformed with its incredibly detailed, giant, moving imagery.

ETC UK were contracted for the job by Delhi-based production company Showtime, headed by Managing Director, Michael Menezes. Durham Marenghi was brought in as artistic director of the project, and Theo Cox as lighting designer. ETC UK and Marenghi have previously worked together on numerous projects including the Queens’ Golden Jubilee celebrations in Buckingham Palace, London last year.

The Taj Mahal Hotel project was co-ordinated for ETC UK by Ross Ashton, who worked on producing the artwork with Paul Chatfield. Others on the ETC crew were programmer Andy Murrell and technician Sam MacLaren.

The turnaround time for the project was incredibly tight! It was confirmed less than a month before show day, and as well as producing artwork from scratch for a 45 minute show, and arranging logistics and freighting of the gear, Ashton also squeezed in a flying site visit.

He used four PIGI 6K projectors with standard double scrollers to project onto three fascias of the U-shaped front of the hotel. The images told the story of 100 colourful years of the hotel’s history, including some of its famous residents like Mahatma Ghandi, John Lennon and George Harrison (who learned the sitar from Ravi Shenkar whilst a guest) and the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong. The artwork also reflected the changing styles of entertainment and culture spanning the hotel’s first 100 years, and the environmental changes happening around it, including building of the Gateway of India in 1924.

The projectors were positioned 60 metes back from the hotel and produced breathtaking 50 metre wide, 30 metre tall images. Power – a notoriously erratic element in India, even in a top hotel – for all the show’s technical elements was generator based.

The son et lumière and projection show was broadcast live on Indian national TV. It was followed by assorted live entertainments and a gala dinner at the Taj Mahal, attended by a wholly invited audience that included everybody from the Maharajah of Udaipur to the cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin.

Lighting, sound and lasers were supplied by Showtim, and Aquatique from France supplied a water screen and a series of dancing fountains.

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