Things you should know before choosing a projector for your immersive installations
Themed Entertainment 8 min read last updated on: Feb 03, 2022
Immersive experiences are popping up everywhere. We see breath-taking exhibitions with floor-to-ceiling digital artworks, theme parks with thrilling dark rides that bring your favorite cartoon figures to life like never before and planetariums with starry domes that suck you right into the universe. But what makes an immersive environment immersive? Immersion is based on tricking visitors into believing your story by playing their senses. It could be sounds, or even smells; but everything starts with our vision. Seeing is believing, right? Which brings us to the topic of immersive visualization technologies. Here are some things to take into consideration.
The requirements for memorable immersive experiences
When building a projection-based attraction with immersion and interactivity, there are a couple of things that are of major significance.
First of all, as the goal of your installation is to immerse visitors, you’ll need visualization that really pulls your guests in. Make your visitors forget about everything else and hook them to your story with high-quality, razor-sharp lifelike images that are perfectly uniform. And this is even more important if you know your visitors are going to be watching the projections from up close or if they want to share the experience with videos on social media!
Secondly, you want to absorb your visitors in this new world without them noticing the technology you’re using to realize this. This also means that your installation should be invisible (and inaudible) as much as possible!
And to conclude, in contrast to one-off (outdoor) video mapping events, most of these tourist venues are open 7 days a week with shows running every hour. What you don’t want is disappointing visitors - and losing profit - because technology fails during rush hours. It’s important to choose a reliable solution, allowing you to run a successful attraction.
What is a good projector for immersive projections?
Creating the believable illusion of another world is not easy, but with the right immersive projector you can make it work!
Superior image quality
Wow visitors with a memorable viewing experience by recreating digital art works, showcasing supermassive galaxies and bringing all kinds of animated figures to life with superb color rendering, perfect sharpness and extensive 3D possibilities. Barco has a broad product offering ranging in size, resolution and lumens all guaranteeing the same outstanding DLP laser projection quality.
Blending and warping
For multi-channel blend installations, it’s important that the different images produced by multiple projectors are ‘blended’ to create the illusion of one smooth image. The Barco Pulse projectors have high qualitative built-in edge blending and warping capabilities and Barco’s Constant Light Output (CLO) functionalities allow you to adjust the brightness levels of across multiple units for even more perfect blending results.
The main purpose of technology is to support your story. The Barco projectors are designed to be least intrusive in your set-up. The exceptional installation flexibility and a long list of functional peripherals, like motorized frames and remote controls, allow you to put the projectors wherever you want to fit your specific venue infrastructure: high up in the ceiling, far away or exceptionally close to the projection surface. And the very low noise levels strengthen the immersive aspect of the experience.
Maintenance and service should never be an afterthought! Get the most out of your visualization set-up with products that guarantee maximum uptime and partners that have your back. The Barco laser projectors have an extended lifespan delivering more consistent performances and color renditions over time at a low TCO.
There’s always a Barco projector that fits your needs
At Barco you can choose the same brand for both mid-range as well as high-end solutions. From simple to complex, we have everything to fulfill a broad scope of varying needs. Taking all the above into account, these are the Barco projectors we recommend for your indoor immersive projection experience.
The G60 series opens our single-chip offering with three laser-based projectors between 7 and 10K lumen. The series complements our premium portfolio providing Barco performances at a great price point and expanding the range of possibilities to meet the needs of any installation – from simple to complex. The G60 projectors, available in black and white, blend in perfectly in every environment and offer great flexibility through a wide lens shift and ultra-short throw lens options.
The 1-DLP F80s, also known as our silent projectors, are so quiet you can place it in your venue without your visitors noticing. To achieve the low noise performance, Barco made optimal use of the unit’s internal space and turned to advanced noise inspection tools to optimize the noise timbre. Thanks to their 3D capability, the F80s also perfectly fit for themepark dark rides and interactive experiences.
Going up to 22.000 lumens, the G100 raises the bar for single-chip projection. The projectors are developed for those indoor media-based applications that require powerful laser projection near 3-chip brightness at an affordable price point. And thanks to the up-to-date signal capabilities, supporting all the latest input sources, including HDMI 2.0, you can rely on the G100 for stunning visual experiences with deeper color palettes for immersive exhibitions.
The UDX and UDM projectors are specifically built to deliver superior quality in the most diverse setups. As the most compact, high-brightness 3-DLP laser projectors on the market, they enable exceptional versatility to deliver stunning experiences while also reducing installation time. The UDM and UDX bring reliable and razor-sharp images to every type venue. And these two projectors are both eligible for the Projector Management Suite subscriptions (read more below).
With the XDL we’re talking bright, the brightest projector on the planet even. It boasts up to 75.000 lumens, all from a single projector. Its incredible RGB laser performance with REC. 2020 colors, turns your interactive dark ride or dome projection into a mind-blowing visual spectacle. The images speak with crisp contrast thanks to the native 4K resolution up to 120Hz and its 3D experiences really stand out.
Coming soon: XDM & XDX
Building on our expertise with cinema projectors, we’re launching two new RGB 4K projectors in 2021, bringing immersive Hollywood-worthy experiences and the best color performance to theme parks and other visitor attractions. Stay tuned here.
Going the extra mile
And the Barco portfolio has much more to offer! Our ultimate goal is to enable premium experiences across the board. We go the extra mile with state-of-the-art projection technology, high-quality hardware peripherals, powerful software features, and a sound service program. It’s these things that will make the difference and push your immersive installation from ‘OK’ to ‘WOW’.
Barco Pulse is the 4K electronics backbone that’s integrated in most of our new projectors. It supports our projectors to perform warping, scaling and 4K Ultra High Definition processing. This results in sharper images and market leading lowest latency. But it also enables our DynaBlack contrast ratios. Thanks to an internally developed smart algorithm, DynaBlack enhances the projector contrast ratio up to 20.000:1, making darker scenes darker without any processing latency. With superlative black levels the quality of your content enhances incredibly and the contrast in dark images really stands out.
Thanks to the wide array of specialized high-quality glass lenses and wide lens shifts, Barco’s projectors excel in flexibility accommodating almost any configuration. Ultra-short throw, high-contrast or high-brightness lenses – we offer everything to deliver superior immersive experiences in the most diverse set-ups, from small pop-up digital art installations in the local mall to 3D dome theatres. You can find the lens that fits your project and projector via the lens calculator.
Barco’s service program is meant to drive positive and reliable outcomes from start to finish, from pre-sales support to installation and operation. All of the Barco products are covered with a standard warranty policy, but we also have an additional portfolio of Barco EssentialCare service contracts offering fast parts delivery, 24/7 expert helpdesk access and/or on-site assistance. All you need to guarantee quick resolutions and maximum uptime.
And to top things off, we’ve also got our Projector Management Suite, which brings efficiency and reliability with real-time operating info and remote log file access for faster and more effective problem diagnosis. You can control your entire installation from one central cloud-based location, anywhere and anytime. The data can easily be combined with your own tools and current processes through an API. Barco’s Projector Management Suite is based on a subscription model with three levels. You can find all information here.
Top 3 requirements to find the right projector for immersive experiences and visitor attractions:
Barco-powered immersive experiences
“The biggest challenge of the exhibition was to actually recreate the northern lights by means of projectors. We wanted to create a wow experience, but it also had to be scientifically correct. Thanks to the excellent black levels of the Barco projectors, we were able to do this. And with Barco, I’m confident that we are safe for many years, without needing a dedicated support person on site 24/7.”
Tor Ditlevsen, Lighting Designer at Superlys
“We couldn’t have made this challenging installation work without the Barco projectors and short throw lenses. And thanks to the relentless dedication and coordination of the Barco team, we were even able to complete this stunning visualization project in record time.”
Alexey Samokhin, Creative Director at Avilex
“The ride has met and even exceeded our expectations (…) with unsurpassed image rendering and projection quality! The new ride obviously involved some technical challenges, but we managed to get it all right”
Jean-Christophe Parent, Walibi Belgium Managing Director
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