Last night, huge moving images of snow leopards, monkeys, tigers, manta rays, and other animals were projected on a side of the Empire State Building, as part of a project to raise awareness about the plight of endangered species.
The video display—375 ft. tall by 186 ft. wide—was made possible by not one, but 40 20,000-lumen projectors stacked on top of each other, manned from a nearby rooftop. The New York Times reports that this is the first time that moving images have been displayed on the building—and in 5K resolution.
This "weapon of mass instruction" is the work of Louie Psihoyos, the director of the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, and Travis Threlkel, co-founder of the San Francisco digital agency Camera Obscura. The men wanted to do "the most dramatic thing we could do to get the world to know about what we're losing," Psihoyos told the Times.
Threlkel, who was brought to work on the project by Psihoyos, detailed his experience with large-scale, attention-grabbing projections. "It's like the Guggenheim," Threlkel told the Times. "That's big, right? No, man. We did that from the back of a car with one projector on it. This one, I've got 40 giant cannons. And I wish I had more."
Anyone within 20 blocks downtown of the Empire State building would be able to see the projections, but Psihoyos also said he hoped it would go viral online. "The whole planet could be on the same page for once; anybody with a cell phone or computer would know about it," he said.
The art project is part of Psihoyo's new documentary, Racing Extinction, which is scheduled for theatrical release this fall. (In December, it will be shown on Discovery.)