After a three year, $67 million remodel and expansion, the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York has reopened with extensive audio-visual upgrades by Electrosonic that offer visitors a renewed focus onthe history of moving-image production and the more experimental reaches of film and video art.
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“The museum is about enabling the public to experience films they haven’t seen in years and learn the history of film making, as well as introducing them to thelatest media, ” says Electrosonic senior sales consultant Bryan Abelowitz. “We worked with Moving Image throughout the 1990s and did their original ‘Behind the Screen’ core exhibition. Now we’ve come together again for astate-of-the-art, 21st-century upgrade.”
The stunning new building, designed by architect Thomas Leeser, is located on the site where Paramount’s East Coast production facility, the famed Astoria Studio, stood in the 1920s. Moving Image will now be able to present morescreenings and a wider range of programming to the public, and serve twice as many students in its education center. Its popular “Behind the Screen” exhibition also has received a complete technological and artistic overhaul.
“Moving Image had high expectations from Electrosonic. We worked closely with theclient to explore many cost-saving options, while maintaining the architect’svision and the museum’s goal over a very compressed time schedule, ” says Abelowitz.
Screening the Classics and New Video Art
Electrosonic’scontributions to the new museum begin in the entrance hallway where the company engineered and installed a 50×9-foot projected mural created by five ceiling-mountedBarco edge-blended projectors run from Dataton WATCHOUT. The mural currently features aseven-minute video art piece, “City Glow” (2005) by Chiho Aoshima in collaboration with animator Bruce Ferguson.Two additional wall-mounted 65-inch LCD displays inlandscape mode provide scheduling information in the hallway.
Tucked into the first-floor landing is an informal video screening amphitheater where changing content is displayed via a Barco projector and viewed from bench seating. At opening time, thefeatured work was a museum commissioned piece by Martha Colburn, “Dolls vsDictators.”
Electrosonic also played a key role in the museum’s theater and screening rooms. The dramatic, amphitheater-style267-seat main theater is designed to provide unsurpassed visitor experiences with a screen of classic proportions and projection equipment for every format from 16mm to 70mm and HD stereoscopic 3D. The space, according to the museum, was conceived “as a capsule for theimaginary voyage of movie-going” with a wraparound ceiling and walls made ofmore than a thousand vibrant blue fabric panels that contribute to thesensation of being suspended in space. A stage accommodates live present ations and a mini orchestra pit is used to accompany silent films.
Electrosonic out fitted the theater with a digital cinema server as well as a scaling switcher to permit connection to a variety of sources. A Christie digital cinema projector displays content on a fixed, 34×18-foot projection screen. A complete cinema audio system, as wellas assisted listening support, is included. A dedicated AMX control system provides on-demand functionality with a docking touch panel onstage, a touch panel in the racksand control buttons at the theater positions.
Digital Media Services provided the “Cinema” equipment for the theater, including thescreen, digital cinema projector and Dolby® equipment, and undertook the refurbishing and re-installation of the 16/35/70mm film projectors.Electrosonic was responsible for the rack build, AMX control and AV elements.
The 68-seat Celeste and Armand Bartos Screening Room is used for professionalmotion picture screenings. Electrosonic equipped it with a scaling switcher, two Century JJ 35mm projectors and a Barco RLM-W8 video projector for the fixed 22×9.5-footprojection screen. A high-endaudio system includes voice reinforcement as well as assisted listening support. A dedicated AMX control systemincludes AMX control panels built into the rack, a docking touch panel at thefront of the theater and button control panels at the projection positions.
Educating Students and Entertaining the Public
The museum’s ground floor houses the Ann R. and Andrew H. Tisch Education Center, aseries of flexible teaching spaces for which Electrosonic provided conventionalAV equipment, such as projectors, roll-down screens and simple audio and control equipment. The center’snew capabilities are expected to double the number of individual students attending the museum’s education programs to 60, 000 a year.
For the permanent “Behind the Screen” exhibition, which has been dramatically reconceived and up graded, Electrosonic provided project management, engineering and installation support, and furnished most playback, displays and projection equipment. This core exhibition – a favorite among visitors – seamlessly integrates more than 1, 400 artifacts fromthe museum’s collection of historical materials, nearly four hours of AVmaterials, and interactive experiences that allow visitors to try their hand atcreative processes used in making films and TV programs. Among the new interactivedisplays is an Automatic Dialogue Replacement booth, which shows how existing dialog can be replaced. For instance, visitors are invited to “dub” their voices over the lines spoken by Tony Curtisor Marilyn Monroe in “Some like It Hot.” At another exhibit, multiple stationsallow visitors to create their own stop-motion animations; here, all monitors, cameras, software, and furniture design were upgraded.
Electrosonical so supplied the museum’s Green Room with a wall-mounted 24-inch LCD TV withspeakers; it receives the feed from the PTZ camera in the main theater as wellas program audio. An intercom tothe main projection booth is included.
The museum also houses a 4, 000 square foot temporary exhibition space, intended largely for video art installations but built with the flexibility to be used for a wide range of exhibition materials, for which Electrosonic provided infrastructure components.
Electrosonic was faced with a specialchallenge to provide overall control and connectivity among different areas ofthe museum that would allow for multifunctional use. Unlike a traditional museum, the Museum of the Moving Image—which takes the whole spectrum of film, television, and digital media as its subject—requires the flexibility of being able to adapt nearly every wall as a potential canvas for digital artwork. The AVdesign implemented by Electrosonic achieves this by allowing for multiple, cross-functional connections to take place between almost every space in the museum.
The project was designed by Josh Weisberg of Scharff Weisberg, New York.At Electrosonic, Ellen Simich was the project manager, Randy Sherwood project engineer, Chris Cooper site supervisor. Bryan Abelowitzwas the sales consultant.
About Museum of the Moving Image
Museum of the Moving Image is the only institution in the U.S. that explores the art, industry and innovation of screen culture in all its forms. Incorporating everything from 19th century optical toys to the latest Internet developments, the Museum provides insight into every phase of the production, promotion and exhibitionof moving images. Engaging an international audience of all ages, Moving Imageoffers a distinctive, highly interactive core exhibition; contemporary and retrospective programs of films from around the world; public discussions withleading figures in film and television; a unique collection; inspiring education programs; stimulating changing exhibitions; and ground breaking on line projects. More information at https://movingimage.us.
Electrosonic is an international AV company with a strong reputation for working on complex projects, both large and small, and has through its 47 year history developed lasting partnerships with customers and suppliers. Electrosonic brings a unique breadth of experience to each project; backed by solid engineering skills, project management and quality production facilities. Beyond completeintegrated systems, Electrosonic can provide a wide range of services including technical design, maintenance and operational support.
Learn more about Electrosonic. Visit https://www.electrosonic.com