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Barco projectors recreate the northern lights

The Arctic University Museum is the only place where it is possible to see the spectacle every day of the year

Tromsø Museum Barco Northern Lights

Barco, the technology company focusing on innovative visualization solutions, has worked with the Artic University Museum in Tromsø, Norway to recreate the spectacle of the northern lights in true colour, with excellent black levels and a space-saving design.

While many people travel from around the globe to see the northern lights, or the aurora borealis, it can be unpredictable. Now, the Arctic University Museum is the only place where it is possible to see this wonder of nature every day of the year, thanks to 10 Barco G60-W8 projectors and two Barco F80-4K7 projectors.

Barco Tromsø Museum northern lights

A unique edutainment experience

This institution provides a wide range of exhibitions about northern culture, including Sami culture, arctic wildlife and medieval church art. It has also recently added a northern lights exhibition, showcasing the history of research into the phenomenon.

“With this exhibition, we wanted to go beyond a traditional, static museum setup, and create something truly innovative,” says Cathrine Paus, project manager at the Artic University Museum. “We believed that we could only do justice to the advanced northern lights research with advanced technology, and that’s exactly what we found with Barco.”

Guests can now see the northern lights up close as they learn how it is formed through a series of projections, interactive models and computer animations.

Barco’s Nordic distributor, Stagelab, alongside system integrator Caverion and AV specialist Superlys, brought the museum’s vision to life.

“We wanted to create a wow experience, but it also had to be scientifically correct,” says Tor Ditlevsen, lighting designer at Superlys. “The biggest challenge of the exhibition was to actually recreate the northern lights by means of projectors. This is not easy, because the aurora colours need to be shown on a background that is as dark as possible. Thanks to the excellent black levels of the Barco projectors, we were able to do this.”

Northern Lights Barco Tromso Museum

Barco tech brings exhibit to life

Guests are able to walk through a 7.5-metre-long tunnel where they are immersed in the northern lights experience, created by 8 G60-W8 projectors and a total projected area of 56 square metres. Two further G60-W8 projectors support a projection mapping installation showing research to the spectacle. Two F80-4K7 projectors are also used to provide scientifically accurate colour representations.

“I have been working in the industry for more than 25 years now and I have come to know Barco projection technology very well,” says Ditlevsen.

“I was very glad that we were able to use Barco projectors for this technically challenging exhibition. In exhibitions like this, it is critical that all technology components work flawlessly. With Barco, I’m confident that we are safe for many years, without needing a dedicated support person on-site 24/7.”

The digital exhibition also gives the museum more flexibility, meaning it can switch between tourist-oriented content and more educational content.

“Our ambition is to bring more young people into the museum again and we also want to stimulate their interest in northern lights research,” says Paus. “Museums don’t have to be boring. With the Barco technology used in the northern lights exhibition, we have proven that museums can be cool and dynamic too and that they can appeal to the interests of young people.”

Barco recently announced a continuation of its partnership with Culturespaces Digital by providing projection technology to its latest venture, Infinity des Lumières in The Dubai Mall.

Images courtesy of Daniel Mikkelsen Photography

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charlotte coates

Charlotte Coates

Charlotte Coates is blooloop's Editor. She is from Brighton, UK and previously worked as a librarian. She has a strong interest in arts, culture and information and graduated from the University of Sussex with a degree in English Literature. Charlotte can usually be found either with her head in a book or planning her next travel adventure.

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