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Hong Kong Science Museum exhibition digitises Silk Road map

Running from 7th December 2018 to 20th February 2019, this exhibition is a complex projection interpretation of the Landscape Map of the Silk Road, which relied on AV Stumpfl’s PIXERA two media servers

In one of the Hong Kong Science Museum’s latest exhibitions, an eight-projector edge blend has been used to present a digital version of the 32m-long Landscape Map of the Silk Road.

It’s a complex projection interpretation of the Landscape Map of the Silk Road, which relied on AV Stumpfl’s PIXERA two media servers to achieve the flexibility and power necessary for such a demanding project.

The install was designed, supplied and integrated by Cosmo Pro AV, and ran from 7 December 2018 until 20 February 2019.

The original map was created as a painting for the Jiajing Emperor in the Ming dynasty. With over 200 cities marked on the map, ranging from the Jiayu Pass in Gansu Province in the east to Mecca in Saudi Arabia in the west, it demonstrated that the Chinese had grasped a very clear geographical understanding of the Silk Road thanks to centuries of trade.

For the recent exhibition, the museum oversaw the fabrication and installation of a 32m x 3m edge blending projection that would allow visitors to experience the Landscape Map of the Silk Road as an animated, digital exhibit.

“The Hong Kong Science Museum approached us to provide a comprehensive solution for the edge blending projection,” said Cosmo Pro AV’s Jason Yeung. “The system needed to be flexible above all else, as the museum planned to experiment with multi-layered playback, bringing the traditional art pieces to life with animations.”

Cosmo Pro AV specified a pair of AV Stumpfl’s new PIXERA two Quad media servers, complete with AV Stumpfl media server software for edge blending and show control. This system was set up to remotely control eight Vivitek DU7090Z laser projectors.

Yeung continued: “The visual part of the system was not overly complex, but the museum required show control to be implemented without any external devices or hardware. This played to AV Stumpfl’s strengths with the full integration of AV Stumpfl’s Touch and AVIO. The PIXERA two servers themselves provided a very price-competitive solution, and the compact chassis enabled minimum rack and storage space.

“AV Stumpfl media server software was chosen for this project because of its flexibility to integrate with Touch and AVIO, which controlled the audio level adjustments, scheduled on/off and projector on/off and status reports.”

The eight laser projectors were placed opposite the 32m canvas, though the team from Cosmo Pro AV had limited access to them once they were installed. As a result, the projectors had to be 100% remotely controlled and triggered over network via AV Stumpfl’s AVIO, due to the fact that no remote IR signal could reach the placement area.

“As the lighting conditions varied constantly during the setup process,” Yeung added. “We were lucky to have the flexibility of the Vioso calibrator to adjust individual output colour adjustments and edge blending curves for a smooth and seamless picture.”

Due to the temporary nature of the exhibit, the team experienced times where the projection image would shift over a period of time and have to be maintained. “By setting up a wireless network across the PIXERA servers, we enabled our programmers to wirelessly access and adjust the edge blends,” explained Yeung.

“The client was happy with the overall performance of the servers, as they were very stable and only required one preventive restart during the entire exhibition period. This is to be expected when servers are required to run 24/7.

“Thanks to the success of the Landscape Map of the Silk Road exhibition, other government museums managed by the HK Leisure and Cultural Department have already expressed their interest in deploying these servers for both temporary and fixed installations.”