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Optoma projections help create immersive wildlife experience

Duncan Proctor 23 November 2015
Optoma W505 projectors - zoo exhibit

A new exhibition at Marwell Zoo gives visitors the chance to view three endangered species with Wide Sky Design installing Optoma projectors with short throw lenses and a range of other technology to enhance the immersive experience of the exhibit.

The endangered species include the white rhino, Grevy’s zebra, and scimitar-horned oryx, which the zoo is actively involved in conserving.

The new £3.6m exhibit, Wild Explorers, provides a focus for the three species, and represents the zoo’s conservation programmes in north, east and southern Africa. It also provides participative learning activities and opportunities for visitors.

The exhibit is divided into five zones including the indoor AV zone, which uses the sights and sounds of the three species to take visitors on an immersive journey.

Two Optoma W505 projectors with short throw lenses were installed along with large format graphics and a moving head gobo light to create the feeling of being out in the animals’ natural habitat with daylight and dappled lighting effects. A soundscape of the savannah adds to the atmosphere.

W505 projectors display pre-recorded footage of the three species, edited to create sequences that run across two large screens, each 3.5m wide, to give the experience of being amongst the roaming animals. CCTV was installed in the paddocks and live footage from these cameras, along with pre-recorded videos is displayed around the exhibit.

Outside, the Nature Detective area reveals the habitat, hinting at the arid areas from which these species originate, and offering clues (tracks and signs) that help visitors to find animals in their vast natural environments.

With unrestricted views and ‘spy in the grass’ cameras, a raised Observation Boardwalk encourages guests not just to look, but to really see the animals, near and far.

Stepping off the boardwalk, visitors enter the Discovery zone. Complete with a safari vehicle resting by the water hole, this area encourages discovery and learning through a range of novel activities. This space hosts regular presentations, held either inside or outside, subject to the weather.

Tim Woodfine, Marwell’s director of conservation commented: “Not only does Wild Explorers provide fantastic views of the animals from its boardwalk and spy in the grass cameras, it also reveals how Marwell’s Conservation Biologists study and conserve these incredible species in the African wilderness.”

Chris Parker of Wide Sky Design explained: “The combination of large format projections, soundscapes, live video and a moving head gobo light to create a dappled lighting effect, gives visitors a truly immersive experience of the natural habitat of these special animals.”

Optoma projectors

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