Christie Honies Up Arnes with a 3D Film Theatre
The Honey Interpretation Centre opened in the Catalan town of Arnes (Tarragona, Spain) in July 2008. Making use of the latest audiovisual technology, the museum explains the whole process of producing honey, the life of bees and everything else related with apiculture. Belonging to the town council of Arnes, the interpretation centre involved an investment of €310,000.
Urano Films, a multimedia and audiovisual production company from Catalonia, was commissioned to create the visual content for the centre and the overall integration of the audiovisual equipment, while Charmex, a partner of Christie, supplied the equipment itself. The centrepiece of the museum is a small film theatre screening a short educational 3D film on the life of bees. The theatre is equipped with a passive 3D system with two Christie LX450 projectors.
When first installed, the film theatre was a small revolution for Arnes, a village of just 497 inhabitants in the district of Terra Alta. In point of fact, the place name comes from arna, the Catalan for beehive, and the town’s coat of arms actually features two hives. As such, it should be no surprise that, sooner or later, Arnes would be home to a museum dedicated to honey.
As well as the film theatre, the museum also has another two audiovisual systems: a virtual theatre system consisting of a pre-recorded image of an actor explaining the history of the village and its relationship with beekeeping, plus a honeycomb-shaped informative panel showing the process of honey making and the lifecycle of bees.
The three pieces are controlled by two players using iSMovie L software by inSynergie, the ideal solution for playing digital videos via PC. The software was installed on a standard PC, transforming it into a player with a hard drive. When various computers are running at the same time with iSMovie, they can be perfectly synchronized via MIDI time code.
“This software is highly effective for the various elements in the museum. When the operator arrives in the morning, all she has to do is switch on the computers and all the elements begin functioning automatically, including the projectors of course”, explains Manel Taberner, director of Urano Films.
Miquel Tresserras, projects director at Charmex, added: “the software controls everything from a touch screen: this includes turning on and off the projectors, as well as managing the passive 3D video (you can pause, resume, advance the time code …) and even turning on and off all the systems in the museum. The system integrates perfectly with the two Christie LX450 projectors, and even provides information on the projectors’ remaining lamp hours.”
The 3D short feature Dolça (Catalan for sweet) lasts five minutes and is on view around the clock while the museum remains open to the public. It is projected in HD on a 4 x 3 metre screen with an aspect ratio of 4:3. The projectors use Silver Fabric linear polarised filters which guarantee 70% transmission, double that of normal high quality polarisers. The glasses are plastic passive 3D.
It was decided to go for passive 3D as the museum is relatively small, and also because of the short duration of the 3D video which doesn’t call for active glasses. “If we had to install an active 3D system, the costs would have spiralled because both the projectors and the accessories (glasses, polarisers…) are much more expensive”, said Tresserras.
The Christie LX450 is a LCD digital projector with 4500 lumens ANSI and an XGA native resolution of 1024 x 768. “We opted for these because the projection, while not large, could be affected by daylight contamination, so we needed powerful projectors, bearing in mind that we would lose luminosity. That’s why we decided to go for these two projectors, guaranteeing 4500 lumens each and excellent performance, as well as being totally reliable”, Tresserras pointed out.
The good quality-for-money of the projectors was also a deciding factor. “We could have gone for a DLP or another type of more expensive projector, but that would have meant a lighting output of a certain power plus stable equipment and the costs would have rocketed. LX450 gives us all that at a much more reasonable price”, he added.
Tresserras is highly satisfied with the performance of the projectors. “They have been working without a problem. As far as the rest of the equipment is concerned, we could say that everything has run smoothly and completely automatically. The museum isn’t very big but it is well conceived and equipped, and we are really pleased with the end result.”
For Manel Taberner, from Urano Films, the projectors are doing an excellent job and the brightness is just right, and he went on to claim that “we know that the client is totally satisfied with the 3D video installation, and in fact it is the most successful part of the museum.”
On another note, Mónica Almestoy, the operator at the museum, reports that the 3D short always causes a big impact among visitors to the museum, who are usually taken aback by the effects. She finished by saying, “speaking of the projectors, I can safely say that they work to perfection and produce really good luminosity.”