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ABS Installs Media Front End for Sky Church


SEATAC, WASH: Seattle’s EMP Museum recently renovated its Sky Church, a one-of-a-kind grand hall that features elaborate automated multimedia presentations complete with lighting, effects, live performances, and elaborate gala events. Earlier this year, premier systems integration firm Advanced Broadcast Solutions upgraded the room’s master control, delivering high-definition imagery, true 5.1 surround sound, and a new media front end to manage content.

EMP Museum of Music, Science Fiction, and Pop Culture is housed in the landmark Frank O. Gehry building at the base of the Seattle Space Needle. The museum’s Sky Church is a striking space, with a 70-foot ceiling and new 33x60 foot Barco C7 LED video wall that supports better-than-HD image quality.

When the museum opened in 2000, Sky Church was originally conceived as a communal place for people of all ages to gather, according to Forrest Gibson, chief technology officer at EMP. Physically, visually, and sonically, it is an awe-inspiring space with tremendous potential to create a dramatic multi-sensory experience.

In 2009, when the museum began to consider upgrades, Gibson said several design goals were set. Beyond an upgrade from SD to HD, the museum wanted the space to draw in patrons with presentations utilizing new and archived content.

Previously designed to support SD video, the room can now display HD imagery from several Pacific Interactive media servers, a Green Hippo Hippotizer HD media server, Blu-ray players, digital signage, and presentation computers located in the control room. All video is run through a Vista Systems Spyder X20 video processor and routed through a PESA Cheetah router.

For audio, the Sky Church is equipped with a Linear Acoustics upmixer that converts stereo content into 5.1 surround sound. A Yamaha DM2000VCM digital production console allows the operator to mix in a true 5.1 space--and it allows any input, including live microphones, to be panned in the surround sound field. Miller said the new design allows for more interesting audio programming for the museum.

The backbone of the new audio and video systems is built on a 3G platform, so it is ready to handle future content bandwidth demands.

ABS was able to complete the master control project in about three weeks, so it was ready for the opening of EMP’s Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses exhibition in April. Sky Church is currently showing custom content supporting its AVATARexhibition, which opened in June.