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The “Attenborough Studio”, a high-tech audio-visual communication centre, has recently opened in the Natural History Museum’s new Darwin Centre located in London, UK.
IVC Media, the UK-based leading systems integrator, was contracted to design and implement state-of-the-art technology to create an atmospheric 64 seat theatre opened to Darwin Centre visitors. IVC Media selected Medialon to be the main audio-visual devices controller of the “Attenborough Studio”. Automation 4 Limited, the UK’s leading AV and Show Control system consultancy secured the contract for the Medialon system design and development, and programming.
The “Attenborough Studio” offers visitors to experience daily exciting events, spectacular shows and fascinating immersive multi-screen HD films about all aspects of life on Earth and scientific discovery. Visitors can also participate in live talks and discussions in the studio facilities, meet the Natural History Museum scientists and curators who share their knowledge and experiences using live specimens, etc.
The “Attenborough Studio” shelters a complex audio and visual system, consisting of a large number of broadcast quality devices. The system has been especially designed and set-up to combine broadcast and presentation systems. The studio’s staff can either choose to display prerecorded or live images and videos on the five large digital screens installed inside the studio.
Medialon Manager V5 Pro, in conjunction with Medialon Scheduler, enables the system to operate a predetermined schedule of interactive shows and presentations, which may be automated or created in live when there are two operators running the content and audio. The entire systems show and audio visual effects can also be easily controlled by the “Attenborough Studio” staff via friendly-user interfaces designed on Medialon Panel, the free touch panel design software. Two Elo touch screens are displayed in the control room and a Medialon Rugboard wireless touch screen allows the show’s presenter to remotely start and stop shows and edit the content live ‘on the fly’.
Medialon is also used as the main interface for the augmented reality system that IVC and Automation 4 have built on the Museum’s behalf. The system consists of 64 touch screen interactive PC panels located at each seat within the lecture theatre. Each interactive panel contains two web cameras, one forward facing and one user facing, along with an interactive Medialon GUI and a number of infra red sensors used to orient the touch screen in 3D space. At various pre-defined times within the Medialon driven show, the users are asked to interact using their touch screen interfaces. The in-built web cameras and IR sensors are used to take photos of the user and control the content displayed on local touch screen along with the publicly displayed large format projections.
“The design and implementation of the Attenborough Studio system has prevented many challenges both from a technical perspective as well as from a (public) operator interface.”, comments David Birchall, Technical Director and Special Projects Manager for Automation 4 Limited. “The studio combines museum and interactive show technology with cutting edge broadcast studio and video conferencing technology. The systems we developed were targeted at a number of users; from AV technicians working within the museum, to show presenters and lecturers, right through to members of the public interacting with the system.”, he adds. “Our brief was to design and implement a system that would be technically sophisticated and robust to handle whatever challenges were thrown its way from the Museums AV technical staff in addition to being able to be simple enough to be operated and maintained by the non technical museum staff and members of the general public.”, says Birchall.
“The team here at Automation 4 have un-paralleled expertise and experience with the Medialon product range having worked in close partnership Medialon for several years.”, comments David Birchall. “This technical software expertise partnered with the excellent AV integration team at IVC Media ensured the smooth delivery and implementation of a cutting edge interactive experience at one of the most popular and important museums on the world stage.”, concludes David Birchall.
The Medialon system controls and synchronizes the entire AV installation installed in the studio which includes:
For the visual system:
1x Panasonic Vision Mixer
1x Panasonic Camera Controller
6x Panasonic HD Cameras
1x Alcorn McBride HD Binloop video player (5 Channel Time Lock Video system)
1x Polycom HD Video Conferencing System
1x Haivision Maco HD Communications System
1x Grass Valley Turbo
1x Extron 32 x 32 HD SDI Matrix Switcher
5x PC / Laptop connection points
5x TV One C2 7200 video processors
6x Panasonic HD video projectors
1x Projection Design HD video projector
1x Extron HD-SDI 32×32 matrix switch
1x Extron VGA matrix switch
1x Pioneer Blue Ray player
1x Datavideo HD video recorder
1x VC300 Edirol Video processor
1x Jester DMX lighting desk
1x Pharos programmable DMX lighting controller
For the audio system:
1x Biamp Audia Flex
1x Bose ESP 88
2x Bose Amplifiers
1x Yamaha LS9 desk
1x Bose Audio Installation / Speaker System
“Along with key manufacturers and consultants including: Cultural Innovation, Panasonic, Medialon, Bose, Adder, Dell, Halivision and Paradigm we have worked together to develop a unique facility which is essentially a broadcast studio and presentation suite in one, ” explains Patrick Stewart-Blacker, former business development manager at IVC Media. “The provision to integrate live audio and an outside broadcast feed or fly away standard definition video conference system, will enable scientists working within the Darwin Centre research labs to present their work to the general public for the first time, which is a particularly exciting proposition.”. “The Darwin Centre will allow the public to share the excitement of discovery in new and innovative ways”, adds Stewart-Blacker.
“We have been delighted to work on this innovative project which sets the standards for the future practice of public education and engagement with science.”, concludes Patrick Stewart-Blacker.
Medialon designs user friendly yet powerful, IT based audiovisual control solutions, for simple to mission critical applications such as Museum Media Control, Theme Park Wide and Attraction Control, Live Entertainment Show Control and Corporate Showrooms to name just a few.
Our products range includes Show & Media Control Software, Embedded Controllers, Digital Audio Servers, Scheduling Software, and Redundant Control Servers.
With offices in the USA and Europe and international distributors, Medialon solutions are available worldwide.