The breathtaking majesty of the Rocky Mountains is featured at the History Colorado Center (HCC) in Denver on a 134-unit Christie® MicroTiles® array designed to emulate the jagged peaks of the famous mountain range, complete with spectacular video footage. The HCC, which celebrated its grand opening recently, wanted a large, expressive statement characterizing the history of the picturesque state while redefining the museum with relevant and engaging content.
“The HCC wanted a dazzling display in their atrium,” said Howard Steele, director, Technology Plus, the project’s consultant. “The atrium is very bright and only a 30K lumen projector would even begin to display images in that strong light, but that created issues with where to place the projector and exhaust.”
Ed Nichols, president and CEO, Colorado History Museum, agreed. “We had a wall in our atrium begging for a major media treatment because there was a visitor orientation problem. We thought of projectors but the architect introduced the museum to the Christie MicroTiles. As our staff contemplated the possibilities with a MicroTiles wall, we were intrigued with the idea of letting the wall tell the museum’s story to its visitors.
“The Museum also liked MicroTiles’ flexibility: they are high resolution, high visibility in bright light at different angles and distances. We wanted rear projection and a product that would be financially sustainable. The tiles have a long lifespan, which means a low cost of ownership.”
Christie MicroTiles are perfect for color matching and self-calibration according to Craig Shonka, project manager for AVI-SPL, project integrator. The first plan for using the MicroTiles was installing three simple, yet attractive ribbons running down the wall.
“It was Randy Pagnan of RP Visuals who made the mounting support brackets for the design we went with– which really made it all come together and align properly,” added Steele.
“The atrium is very big and full of daylight pouring in – especially from the south facing glass wall and the skylights,” said Stephanie Stewart, project manager, Richard Lewis Media Group. “When the museum saw the color saturation of the Christie MicroTiles, they went crazy; they loved how beautifully bright and crisp the images are – and so do we. The MicroTiles fit perfectly with what the museum is trying to say.”
Driving the content is the Christie Spyder X20 video processor. A versatile, hardware-based video processor combined with the flexibility of a universal routing switcher, the Christie Spyder X20’s integrated source monitoring allows for simultaneous, real-time, full-frame-rate monitoring of all inputs.
“We also have the option of reconfiguring the wall if we want to change things up or even growing the wall, and, in the end, we have great products (Christie MicroTiles and Spyder) that are running consistently,” continued Stewart. “This project was huge and both an artistic and technical challenge, but that made it exciting. The team that Kevin Barlow (Senior Director, Control Rooms, Christie) put together did a fantastic job. Ken Hartling (Western Regional Sales Manager, Control Rooms, Christie) was so helpful and it was terrific to work with Christie. The entire Christie team kept the project going smoothly; they were always solid and got us what we needed when we needed it.”
Dan Waltens, director of operations, AVI-SPL, said the project went smoothly. “Having worked with Christie in the past, we had that level of comfort when working on a project of this scope. Christie knew every detail, was involved in the project meetings so they understood what the HCC was trying to accomplish, and gave appropriate advice – that was key. The beauty of Christie MicroTiles is that you can access the power supply from the front as well as the back.”
Hartling said the Christie MicroTiles and Christie Spyder installation is “… one of the most extraordinarily complex projects I’ve ever been a part of and one of the most impressive installations I’ve seen. It’s eye-catching, creative and mind-blowing.”
“What we have is so different because a high-tech array in the atrium is an immediate signal to visitors that this is not a typical state history museum,” concluded Nichols. “The Christie MicroTiles array captures the magnificence of the Colorado landscape and furthers our mission in a financially sustainable manner.”
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