Using Panasonic 4K projectors, the museum immerses visitors in Qatar’s culture.
Designed to represent the local Desert Rose, the National Museum of Qatar presents an architectural statement against the Doha landscape. Yet within it's intricate disks, it also showcases a new blueprint for immersive and experiential museums worldwide.
The museum is composed of 130 juxtaposed disks, with French architect Ateliers Jean Novel forming the complex design to resemble a gigantic Desert Rose.
This has resulted in the museum being awarded the title of the 'Best Façade Design and Engineering of the Year 2017' by LEAF (Leading European Architects Forum), with its statement architecture bound to attract visitors and tourists alike.
Organised in three chapters, 'Beginnings, Life in Qatar, and Building the Nation', the National Museum of Qatar takes visitors on an immersive museum experience over eleven highly individual galleries. Its focus is to educate visitors, and spark an interest for potential research in relation to the history of Qatar.
With individuals also being attracted to the social activities on offer, such as the rooftop bar restaurant and newly landscaped park, the museum is set to provide a high level of engagement for returning visitors.
Panasonic’s challenge was to integrate 4K projectors that would produce high quality images for the delivery of local film content, and the company’s solutions provided a high level of quality and compatibility for the content, while being adaptable and easy to use.
Preparing the blueprint
In particular, the Qatar Museum Authority was keen to utilise AV technology to showcase a range of content. Therefore, they contracted Man Empty Joint Venture (MEJV) to install, configure, and deliver the site-wide AV design, exhibits, and visitor experiences, with the creation of content being assigned to Qatar's Doha Film Institute (DFI). Working alongside Senior Engineer, Production and Post Production consultant Dean Winkler, and Ricardo Cebellos at DFI, this included the production of local, regional, and international art film media that would capture Qatar's culture.
MEJV and DFI then reached out to Realtime Environment Systems Ltd (RES) to supply a high-end media server system for playback and projection mapping. This system would playback, pre-visualise & support all the director's art film content.
To meet the requirements, RES utilised London-based Avolites' Ai software, a platform originally created by Dave Green, Technical Director of RES. In particular, this was beneficial to the project as it was highly flexible and adaptable, offering capabilities unlike other competitors.
To achieve the Museum's creative vision, MEJV, DFI and RES then worked alongside each other for over two years to create a blueprint for the content and it's a compatible media server. RES additional workflow included the production of site wide projection designs for the museum that met the creative needs of directors over ten different galleries, each of which were unique in their requirements.
Finding the correct housing
To find the most appropriate AV technology to display the content, MEJV, DFI and RES needed 3 CHIP DLPTM projectors that were compatible with high quality 4K-imagery. This was essential to recreate the best quality images for the films; with the laser source also ensuring the project was more environmentally friendly with lower maintenance required. For an easier installation process, RES then required projectors that would fit within the smallest housing possible, to flexibly adapt around the multiple museum rooms, exhibits & the buildings infrastructure.
Mark Calvert, Managing Director, Realtime Environment Systems Ltd: "After our extensive market research, we felt that Panasonic were the most appropriate fit, ticking all the boxes of the museums criteria. The projectors that were installed, the PT-RQ13K's, were not only capable of the best image quality, but were one of the most compact, making them ideal for the installation need".
Having agreed upon the plans for the installation, MEJV then started installing, configuring, and delivering each of the vast galleries. This large-scale operation required a total of 172 media servers be installed onsite: 9 Avolites Ai Q3 units and another 163 Ai Miami licences, running on 1U 8K media servers custom designed by RES. These fed 112 Panasonic projectors across seven galleries, and nine different art films.
Mark Calvert added: "The sheer scale of the installation required everything to run as smoothly as possible - now, and in the future. The trust in Panasonic as a manufacturer was key, and working with Panasonic we gained more than just high quality equipment, but a partnership with individuals who understood our needs, and were willing to help us overcome the project's challenges".
Across the museum, a wide range of content is displayed to unite both the past and the present of Qatar's history and culture. Across seven galleries, this included incredible floor to ceiling art films, designed to tell a detailed story about exhibitions, collections, and time in the region.
Mart Calvert said that "the content that DFI have produced showcases the most impressive uses of high end projection mapping and storytelling in visitor experiences and museums to date", and he adds: "Everything is incredibly high resolution, thanks to the 4K qualities produced by the projectors and the AiM Codec that is proprietary to Ai, and we were excited to see how this would impact the films. In particular, this includes an incredibly detailed depiction of nature in gallery two, a film which felt very close to our hearts during production, given the state of the global climate".
Having fitted its AV technology solution, the museum then required software to monitor the Art Film AV equipment and produce real-time information in relation to its maintenance and support. This was required to ensure the smooth running of the museum, should any technical difficulties arise.
This resulted in RES sister company, HIVE Media Control Ltd, integrating HIVE, a platform that was compatible with Panasonic projectors to offer real time information in regards to the projectors performance and the ambitious projection mapping.
Mark Calvert concluded: "Now in its completion stage, we couldn't be more excited to watch the museum open its doors to the public and do exactly what NMoQ set out to complete - immerse its visitors in the culture of Qatar. With the AV technology and the content that has been produced, this country's history feels much more accessible and engaging to mass audiences".
"We couldn't have done this without the work of our partners such as Panasonic. Seeing the success of our end result has certainly made the hard work over the past five years feel worthwhile".