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Vista Systems' Spyders Unite Ancient And Modern Greece In Innovative Projection Design For The Opening Of The New Acropolis Museum

When the Greek Ministry of Culture asked Videotooth Event Engineering to undertake the projection system design for the opening of the New Acropolis Museum in Athens, manager / video director Vassilis Leonidopoulos selected Vista Systems' Spyders. The Spyders brought a series of classical animations to life, providing a glimpse at the symbols associated with ancient Greece, while emphasizing the new museum's architectural surface.

Although there have been museums on the Hill of the Acropolis since the mid-nineteenth century, the new museum, which opened June 20 of this year, now sits near the base of the rock with a direct view of the Parthenon. Its exhibit space is ten times bigger than the last museum on the Hill.

In a display that unites ancient and modern Greece, an eight-minute looped projection called "Reflections" integrated the museum's sculptural masterpieces of the 6th to 4th centuries B.C. with the building's high-style contemporary architecture. Large-scale animated projections appeared on seven exterior surfaces of the museum and neighboring buildings transforming them into interactive urban membranes. Geese, leaping deer and hopping rabbits came to life from pot shards, enigmatic eyes watched men riding dolphins, painted plates danced in concentric circles, pottery horses nuzzled, a man battled a minotaur and women holding up capitals graced walkway pillars. By interacting with or magically masking sculptural and decorative elements of the buildings, the projections also prompted a series of architectural games between the projected image and the façades that served as 'screens.'

"The Spyder was the best choice for the job involving Pandoras Boxes for video playback and Spyders for picture management," explains Leonidopoulos. "Pairing the two systems gave us great flexibility and economy: If we had used only Pandoras Boxes for the display surfaces we would have needed a lot more playback units, but with the routing capabilities of the Spyder, we minimized the number needed."

Leonidopoulos deployed five projectors to create the museum's largest display in which a Spyder 335 system fed the surface with two channels of HD animations. A Spyder 344 fed another large screen with a complex display area due to different building levels. "That required us to map different layers with parts of the same channel of HD animation," he explains.

Approximately 2.5 km of optical fiber were used to link the museum's control room with 19 projectors at various exterior points around the buildings. Fourteen of the projectors were double-stacked.

"Reflections" was projected from sunset until late evening on the first three days of the Museum's opening to the public.

Podimatas Audiovisual S.A. was the main supplier of AV equipment for the installation. Director Athina Rachel Tsangari and her team created the animations at antidot design studio, HAOS Film, and Nomint.

At Videotooth Event Engineering Dimitris Kritsimas teamed up with Leonidopoulos on the projection system design and Daniel Kaminski and Stavros Chloros were Pandoras Box operators. The company is the Spyder supplier to the Greek market and an expert in widescreen presentations and video installations.

About Vista Systems

Vista Systems was recently acquired by Christie, a global leader in visual solutions for business, entertainment and industry, to create a comprehensive source for image processing and projection solutions. The acquisition combines the power and flexibility of Vista's video switchers and real-time windowing and composition products with the power, performance and reliability of award-winning Christie projection systems. Vista Systems' switchers have become the industry standard for live multiple-destination video and data mixed signal switching. For more information on Vista Systems, visit their website at