TEDxAmsterdam from a different perspective

Testing the TEDxAmsterdam spectacle

At Amsterdam’s well-known Leidseplein, normally one of the busiest places in the city, all lights and action will dim at 19:30 to make way for a magical show. In the spirit of ‘ideas worth spreading’, a 3D projection will flood the Stadsschouwburg exterior with a livestream of the TEDxAmsterdam event happening inside.

A team of video artists has digitally modeled the Stadsschouwburg to make it into a canvas for a spectacular visual display. Bystanders will see a 3D animation projection of someone having an idea, made out of pure light. This beautiful creative execution has been designed as a metaphor of how ideas are born by interacting with other ideas, and continues the theme of our trailer this year, in which ideas are represented by ‘light.’

The show has developed by the award winning artist Arnout Hulskamp, who explains his concept in the video interview below.


Arnout’s aim was to push the artistic limits of 3D video mapping (as this technique is called). Using a wide range of tools from 3D models to dancers in front of a blue screen and hand drawn sketches, he has created true ‘eye candy’ in 3D.

The location posed many technical challenges. For example, it is impossible to position the beamer right in front of the building due to tram lines, so he had to develop new techniques to be able to project from an angle. Additionally, while most streetlights of Leidseplein will be dimmed, there are still many neon signs and other lights that illuminate the building. Arnout had to create a color palette of light that would not be dominated by this diffuse light and still create the powerful 3D illusion. And finally the building has many ridges and undulations that make it very difficult to model.

Of course Arnout couldn’t realise all this alone. We would like to focus some special attention to the rest of the projection team. All of them have put many hours into making this project happen. We would like to thank: Rick Robin, Jesse Koolhaas, Gilian Baracs, Dylan van Keulen, Koosje Ruijgrok and Elloreen van Leupen. Hulskamp Audiovisueel will supply the projection equipment. Their powerful projectors and expertise literally make the difference between night and day.

The whole TEDxAmsterdam community is looking forward to the show!

Arnout Hulskamp and his team at work

Arnout Hulskamp and his team at work

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