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Dataton’s WATCHOUT Brings Van Gogh to Life With Large Scale Projection


Dataton’s WATCHOUT, a core multimedia technology for visitor attractions, is used as the image control backbone for ‘Van Gogh Alive – The Experience’, syncing music, video and photography.

“Van Gogh Alive” was created by Grande Exhibitions and makes use of huge projection screens to display some of Van Gogh’s best known works in an immersive multimedia show.

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Dean Stevenson of Interactive Controls, Dataton’s partner for Australia and New Zealand, said, “The idea of immersing the audience in art is key to Van Gogh Alive.  You see projected images everywhere – not just in front of you and behind you but also above you, on the ceiling, and even on the floor beneath your feet. So the show really uses WATCHOUT’s image-processing capabilities to the full.”

The images of paintings are interspersed with full motion video and photographs of locations that inspired Van Gogh.  In total over 3, 000 images are used.  The show has a classical score that is synchronised, triggered and controlled by Dataton’s WATCHOUT.

Stevenson continued, “Grande Exhibitions had used WATCHOUT before on other projects so it was the natural choice for Van Gogh Alive.

“When Van Gogh Alive made its debut we built and supplied a 30-output system to drive content to all of the projectors. As well as ensuring that all the media are in sync, WATCHOUT also allows Grande to automate the processing so that a group of projectors can go from showing individual images to a single one and then back again. This is essential for a show like Van Gogh Alive where the element of surprise is key – you never know what you’re going to be looking at next, or where it will be!”

The design of Van Gogh Alive uses screens innovatively, setting them spaced out parallel or at right angles relative to each other, rather than edge blending images, so that visitors can explore the paintings from new angles and immerse themselves in the colours and textures.

The Van Gogh Alive show can be adapted in size for each museum venue.  After its debut at the ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore in 2011, the show is now at Antrepo 3 in Istanbul, Turkey, and also at the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix, USA.

“For the Phoenix installation – Interactive Controls built and supplied a new system that has 10 multi-output computers running the show, each with its own licence of WATCHOUT Version 5, ” says Stevenson. “As Van Gogh Alive tours the world Grande will be able to tailor the system and use different configurations of WATCHOUT, depending on the exact configuration of screens at each host venue.”

Fredrik Svahnberg, Marketing Director, Dataton, comments: “Gallery and museum owners are increasingly looking to mutlimedia shows as a way of engaging their visitors in new and exciting ways, and we are delighted to say that WATCHOUT is at the heart of many of them.

“Van Gogh Alive is a perfect example – a wonderful union of fine art with modern science that allows every detail of the artist’s work to be viewed in ways which simply would not have been possible only a few years ago.

“It is a privilege for Dataton to be associated with such a prestigious, inspiring and educational project, and we look forward to following Van Gogh Alive all over the world in the years to come!”

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