"We find that projectiondesign is the most robust and reliable projection technology out there."
Professor Jeffrey Shaw, director of ALiVE, at the City University of Hong Kong
The extremely fragile Mogao Grottoes, also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, has reappeared through a striking and engaging 360-degree panoramic projection using five F35 AS3D active stereoscopic projectors from projectiondesign. The visitors are immersed in a true-to-life experience of being inside a cave temple and seeing its magnificent Buddhist wall paintings at a one-to-one scale. Spectacular interactive 3D animations and digital effects have been used to explore the painterly beauty and narrative meanings of the figures and objects.
"You wouldn't be able to see any of this in the real cave because light exposure is so damaging," says Professor Jeffrey Shaw, director of ALiVE, the Applied Laboratory for Interactive Visualization and Embodiment at the City University of Hong Kong to BBC Washington. “When you are at Dunhuang currently the only light that’s available is the torch of the guide that will accompany you, so your access to this cave is very limited. In the virtual world, of course you can do anything you like, and you can light the world up. So this is one of the great benefits”, says Dr. Sarah Kenderdine, Director of Research at ALiVE to projectiondesign.
By laser scanning the original UNESCO World Heritage structure, the ALiVE team created a virtual cave which many experts believe is more visually appealing than the real thing. projectiondesign F35 AS3D projectors were used to visualize the spectacular 3D immersive experience. “We work exclusively with projectiondesign for projects like “Pure Land”, because their 3D projectors and hardware is ideal for edge-blending, and geometry correction in large-scale, multi-projector arrays. WE find that projectiondesign is the most robust and reliable projection technology out there”, says Shaw.
The original cave is located in Dunhuang, a small town in Northwestern China. It was the gateway to and from China on the ancient Silk Road, which carried trade between China, western Asia and India from the 2nd century BC until the 14th century AD for over 1000 years. The original site encompasses more than 700 caves, and in order to ensure long-term preservations of the caves, the Dunhuang Academy only opens a few caves at a time to visitors.
About the project
“Inside the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang” has been produced by the CityU Applied Laboratory for Interactive Visualization and Embodiment (ALiVE) in partnership with the Dunhuang Academy and the Friends of Dunhuang Hong Kong.