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Bogotá Planetarium

Bogotá Planetarium immerses guests with major upgrade

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Bigvideo SAS, Merge, AV Design

Bogotá, Colombia

Giant screens & planetariums

Griffyn 4K32-RGB, Pandoras Box 8, Widget Designer, Mystique, Christie Professional Services

Bogotá Planetarium immerses guests with major upgrade

The Bogotá Planetarium opened in 1969 at the beginning of the Space Age, when people all over the world became interested in astronomy, science and exploring the universe. This new fascination sparked the construction of large planetariums worldwide. Owing to the high cost of the project and the city’s tight budget, the mayor of Bogotá at the time reached an agreement with the Coffee Growers Federation to offer Germany’s VEB Carl Zeiss coffee in exchange for the projection system, screen and equipment . At the time, VEB Carl Zeiss was one of the leading names in infrastructure and equipment for large planetariums.

Now in operation for over 50 years, “the planetarium was looking for a technological upgrade that would provide its audience with high quality life-like immersive experiences in the arts, science and technology,” according to Carlos Molina, coordinator of the Bogotá Planetarium, operated by IDARTES, Bogotá City Council’s arts department.

Time to upgrade the dome

The planetarium needed to upgrade the projectors in its dome–which holds up to 376 people–and was looking for the latest in projection technology. “Resolution was obviously our bottom line,” Molina recalled. “We were looking at 4K projectors as the majority of most productions aimed at planetariums come in this resolution,” he added. But the planetarium now also needed to respond to environmental concerns: “We wanted a solution that didn’t use lamps, that would have a longer-lasting light source and be more energy efficient.”

Bigvideo SAS, the integrator on the project, suggested the Christie® Griffyn 4K32-RGB pure laser projector. “ It was the perfect choice because of its versatility, cutting-edge technology, light output, resolution, size, weight and cost, and upgrade options to 3D in the future,” explained Joaquín Gutiérrez, director of Bigvideo.

The planetarium’s two new Christie Griffyn 4K32-RGB projectors are edge blended, one covering the dome’s north hemisphere and the other the south. Each one projects over approximately 70% of the dome to ensure more than sufficient overlap for blending and warping. The projectors are outfitted with special Navitar lenses for curved surfaces, which ensures a homogeneous focus of 90%.

To control the projectors, two sets of the Christie Pandoras Box Manager and Server with Version 8 software, as well as the Christie Widget Designer to create customized applications, were installed “Pandoras Box is a reliable solution for playing back content, and it also accepts the double 4K input at 60hz from the Digistar 7 system, Evans & Sutherland’s planetarium software,” explained Joaquín Gutiérrez.

The newly installed equipment also includes Christie Mystique Large Scale Experience alignment and calibration software, which allows the projectors to be aligned quickly and easily. “It is a versatile, robust solution to automate the warping and blending functions. You can align and blend multiple projectors precisely with a single click thanks to its automated camera-based system, in this case using three cameras,”said Gutiérrez.

To prolong the life of the AV systems and ensure a return on its investment, the Bogotá Planetarium contracted Christie Professional Services. “Because of the major outlay we made in new equipment, we were interested in preventative maintenance and real-time monitoring of the system. We need potential problems to be pinpointed and resolved quickly to maximize the system’s uptime,” Carlos Molina clarified.

The planetarium is extremely satisfied with the way Christie’s integrated solutions has put them at the forefront of dome projection technology: “The Griffyn projector gives us brighter colors, better contrast and more powerful light (34,000 lumens) to cover our 23-metre dome, which is three times brighter than our old system,” the planetarium coordinator said.

Carlos Molina underscored the reliability of Christie products: “The projectors in our planetarium get a lot of use, employed in eight to nine separate sessions every day. We felt we were in safe hands with Christie because of the proven performance of its projectors under demanding conditions.”

The planetarium’s new projection system will give the dome a whole new lease on life, enabling alternative audiovisual, theatre and musical shows, while also satisfying the most ardent planetarium-goers with incredible trips to the stars.

Diego López, Christie’s general manager for NOLA and Andean Region, concluded: “We are delighted that the Bogotá Planetarium placed its trust in Christie’s integrated solutions for its recent upgrade. We are convinced that the latest-generation technology will make it one of the world’s most modern planetariums. And, of course, we would also like to express our gratitude to our partners in this ground-breaking project in the region for their commitment at all times.”

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