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Solutions Wherever You Go

Magic is Where History and Technology Intersect - Bringing Stories Back to Life with Panasonic

Dec 19, 2016

Panasonic's leading audio visual solutions, laser projectors and 4K screens contribute to museum experiences all over the world.
Northwest of Copenhagen, two Danish museums form its biggest showcase for audio visual technology anywhere in Europe: Moesgaard Museum of cultural history in Aarhus and Faengslet Prison Museum in Horsens. Panasonic provided both museums with various advanced solutions to bring art to life using laser projection and cutting-edge display technology.

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New Meets Old in the 16,000-Square-Meter Moesgaard Museum Exhibition

"In the old museum, visitors used to pass by without really noticing the objects," says Pauline Asingh, Curator and Head of New Exhibitions at Moesgaard Museum. "Now, thanks to the projectors, the story behind the objects can be told. Panasonic's technology makes the connection between people of the past and people of the present, bringing history to the audience in a far more attractive way."

"To me, the most striking part about Panasonic's laser technology is the diversity," adds Johan Ahrenfeldt, Exhibition Technology Manager at Moesgaard Museum. "There are so many different models that offer us endless possibilities. We have 92 projectors with interchangeable lenses and flexible options for installation while at the same time having hardly any maintenance, that's amazing."

At Moesgaard Museum new meets old. Since opening in October 2014, the brand new 16,000-square-meter exhibition building, designed by Henning Larsen Architects, has welcomed three generations of visitors to meet their ancestors. An average of half a million visitors per year proves that Moesgaard has succeeded in its mission to bring the past to life.

"My central question has always been: how can we bring life to the exhibitions?" says Pauline Asingh. "To me, the most vivid example is the battlefield simulator. I love how it feels as if you're literally standing in between the armies storming towards each other. The hairs on my arms rise as the warriors come closer."

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The battlefield simulator @ Moesgaard Museum

"My favorite part of the museum is the boat on the floor in the Stone Age area," says Johan Ahrenfeldt. "It's the perfect synergy between projectors, sound effects and lighting; it all comes together. Sometimes when I sit there by myself, programming the sound, I feel like I'm creating magic. It makes me feel amazed and proud to be part of such a thing." But isn't magic the exact opposite of technology? "Of course I know how everything works," Ahrenfeldt explains, "but when I see the looks on people's faces, it becomes magic. Magic is forgetting about the technicalities and letting your feelings take over."

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The boat on the floor in the Stone Age area @ Moesgaard Museum

Visitors Have Virtual "Meetings" with Former Inmates of Faengslet Prison

About 40 kilometers south, Faengslet Prison Museum literally puts its visitors behind bars to meet former inmates. "We try to enhance what was here in the first place," says Exhibition Designer Mads Havemann.

Faengslet is an experience museum featuring stories of inmates and staff throughout history. "The biggest challenge for us was to tell stories in very confined spaces," says Havemann. "Panasonic offered bespoke solutions and tailor made installations to fit the cells. Even though they only measure about 3.5 square meters each, some cells have up to three laser projectors attached to walls and ceilings, projecting at different angles."

Faengslet Prison Museum is filled with shocking, personal and touching stories. "This is not an American movie about prison; it's a real prison," says Havemann. "If you catch a criminal, you find a person underneath; that's what we want to bring forward in our exhibitions. Panasonic helps us to do so."

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Faengslet is an experience museum featuring stories of inmates

SOLID SHINE(TM) -- Opening Up Creative Opportunities

Panasonic delivered a wide range of DLP(TM) projectors for both museums. Because of their lightweight and bright qualities, laser phosphor projectors are extremely suitable for museums and large auditoriums. The SOLID SHINE(TM) series is a new breed of projectors based on laser light sources; the combination of laser and phosphor replaces the traditional projector lamp.

The lamp was always a drawback due to its limited lifetime and capacity as a light source. Especially for heavy-duty, long hours operation, such as museum exhibitions, this used to result in high operational costs. To solve this problem, Panasonic has progressively introduced laser light sources.

Today, Panasonic has a market share of 31% in the European laser projection market and is a global leader in no maintenance, high-brightness laser projectors, with a range extending to 30,000 lumens in brightness. This extremely high brightness opens up a whole range of creative opportunities for storytelling: projection on a piece of turf, for instance. "You can still see the lines from where people used to take blocks of turf away to heat their homes," says Pauline Asingh. "This piece of turf is the landscape on which history took place; it's a surface for storytelling and storytelling is what I love most about history."

Collaboration with Panasonic Makes Everything Possible

Both Moesgaard and Faengslet faced the challenge of sending their visitors on a journey into times long gone. "Traditionally, museums would educate their audience with signs on the wall, nowadays people are much more used to visual content," says Mads Havemann.

The two museums developed interactive and visually attractive exhibitions, supported by Panasonic's advanced laser projection technology. Without the prisoner's stories, Faengslet museum would just be an old building, without studio-made storytelling exhibitions, Moesgaard would simply be another series of old objects on display. Instead, both museums decided to put their visitors right in the middle of historic events using the latest technological solutions.

"The unique thing about the collaboration with Panasonic is that everything is possible," says Pauline Asingh. "It's incredible how we can recreate the Colosseum arena with just eight projectors. Once I overheard a visitor saying he thought there were real actors in the room. The projections perfectly reenact what happened thousands of years ago. We need the highest possible quality and that's where Panasonic meets our needs. To experience history, you have to be transported there. Panasonic allows us to do so."

Creating life was one of the main objectives for Faengslet Prison Museum as well, explains Mads Havemann. "When people come in, they have quite harsh views on punishment and prison. After spending an hour or two behind these walls, those views change." For instance when they are confronted with the shadow of the only prisoner who ever managed to escape Faengslet. The audience witnesses the inmate climbing from within a stair step holding a sock, walking up the stairs and carefully emptying rubble from the sock at the top. "It was quite a challenge to recreate this scene due to the sloping of the staircase and the angle," says Mads Havemann. "Finally, we managed by using two ultra-short throw projectors. Clever solutions like these make stories resonate."

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Panasonic's projectors help to create the scene of escaping from the prison @ Faengslet Prison Museum

Creating life was one of the main objectives for Faengslet Prison Museum as well, explains Mads Havemann. "When people come in, they have quite harsh views on punishment and prison. After spending an hour or two behind these walls, those views change." For instance when they are confronted with the shadow of the only prisoner who ever managed to escape Faengslet. The audience witnesses the inmate climbing from within a stair step holding a sock, walking up the stairs and carefully emptying rubble from the sock at the top. "It was quite a challenge to recreate this scene due to the sloping of the staircase and the angle," says Mads Havemann. "Finally, we managed by using two ultra-short throw projectors. Clever solutions like these make stories resonate."

Creating Immersive Museum Experiences by Merging Art and Technology

Apart from Panasonic's versatility and high-end laser technology, adaptability and no maintenance are a huge benefit for both Faengslet Prison Museum and Moesgaard Museum. "We chose these SOLID SHINE projectors for three main reasons: their incredible brightness levels, the low running costs due to laser technology and the fact that they're maintenance free," says Mads Havemann. Furthermore, the ability to fully integrate technology and art is crucial when it comes to creating immersive museum experiences. For Faengslet Museum the white colour of the SOLID SHINE projectors helps them to blend in with the cell walls and prison corridors. "It was important for us to discreetly mount the projectors into the cells in order for visitors to really engage with their hearts and minds," says Mads Havemann. For the Moesgaard Museum, the wide range of black DLP projectors answers the same need.

In an exhibition room filled with trees, nature and technology seem to go hand in hand. The projectors are hidden like tree houses or almost invisibly mounted up high against the museum's black ceilings. "Panasonic offers us good solutions for any situation and if there's a problem, we know how we can fix it," says Johan Ahrenfeldt. "It's a very smooth collaboration," adds Pauline Asingh. "Panasonic thinks along with the museum team. Together we manage to find unique solutions."

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The projectors mounted up against the black ceilings. Panasonic offers smooth collaboration and unique solutions to museum exhibitions.

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    Moesgaard Museum

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    Faengslet Prison Museum

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    The projector seminar for media

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