High reliability is priority #1
“Running 12 astronomy shows up to 8 hours a day is a monumental challenge, and the Barco projectors perform beautifully during every single performance,” comments Dan Neafus, Planetarium Operations Manager. “While their historically high reliability was the deciding factor, the superior color consistency, brightness and sustainability were also tremendous benefits for us.”
Blending eight channels of video feeding from two different image generation systems, accurate color matching and blending is a must. The F35 WQXGA projectors rise to the occasion, seamlessly integrating the various and complex inputs to broadcast stable, reliable – and breathtaking – 17 Megapixel imagery spanning the 5K dome. Massive star fields and planets come to life in glowing white, rich purples and oranges, realistically simulating the celestial bodies of the universe. “We now have the ability to switch between the SCISS Uniview IG and Digistar multiple times per day. This gives us the ability to present a wide range of programming from live “Digital Earth” tours to staging performance artists. We really put the F35 WQXGAs through their paces, running some very difficult content through them, and they always respond flawlessly,” comments Neafus.
Ease of installation and serviceability were also paramount, allowing easy servicing thanks to the projector’s small form factor. The planetarium’s technicians were also already trained on the technology platform, so integration into the existing system was a snap.
Evans & Sutherland (E&S) integrated the entire display system. E&S installed the projectors and combined them with their proprietary auto-alignment and auto-blending systems to keep the eight projectors beautifully matched into a single, high resolution continuous fulldome video image. To drive the projectors, the Digistar digital planetarium/immersive dome theater system provides industry-leading tools to present a wide variety of content. E&S is proud to partner with Barco and the Museum’s innovative team to explore the creative possibilities within this incredibly immersive theater space.
On the horizon
Thanks to their trust in the Barco projectors, producers at the Museum are expanding their live programming and audience interactivity to three or more daily performances. The Museum has also procured an F85 3-Chip DLP projector for large presentations in the planetarium as well as an F32 projector in the auditorium for staff presentations, multiple F85 projectors in immersion classrooms, and both F32 and blended F85 units in the Expedition Health® exhibit.
Planetarium Operations Manager at Gates Planetarium