Christie® Ultra series LCD panels
All photos provided by courtesy of Institut für Holztechnologie (IHD)
©Institut für Holztechnologie / Steffen Spitzner
At the Institut für Holztechnologie (IHD) in Dresden, everything is centred on wood and wood technology: So it's little wonder that this versatile raw material played the starring role in the design of the new conference centre with its large auditorium. Light is another element used, flooding in through huge windows and doors and creating a pleasant, warm space in combination with the vaulted spruce ceiling. However, the room concept with no curtains or blinds is a real challenge for the AV technology.
Since 1952 the institute has been researching how to best process the material – from raw wood to the finished product. "Our goal was to create a place that can be used for all types of event, from symposia, through to the in-house exhibition, right up to corporate events or private functions," explains Thomas Hupfer, Head of IT and DS Coordinator at IHD. These different types of use are as varied as the content played on the 4x4 split wall in the auditorium and a display in the foyer: "From presentations to wedding videos – anything is possible," says Hupfer.
In terms of visualization technology, the institute opted for 17 Christie® FHD552-X LCD displays with a screen diagonal of 55" each. They were supplied and installed by Christie partner Matec GmbH, a specialist for high-quality presentation solutions. The displays from the Christie Ultra Series particularly impress with their narrow bezel (3.7 mm combined), full HD resolution, high pixel density and LED backlighting. As successor to the Christie FHD552-X, the new FHD553-X display was recently launched on the market.
When you enter the conference hall, you are immediately struck by the extravagant vaulted construction made of spruce beams laid crosswise in a diamond pattern, which dominates the 13 metre-wide auditorium and impressively demonstrates that contemporary architecture and rustic wood are no contradiction. In combination with a large window façade – without curtains or blinds – overlooking the green surroundings, the light-flooded space exudes great warmth.
Yet the brightness and lack of shading have their pitfalls: although the windows face north, a lot of light reaches the outer rows of seating. In order to ensure clear visibility of the content on the display wall even from the back rows, great image sharpness as well as the possibility of colour calibration was necessary. That's why large displays are finding increasing use in smaller conference rooms especially.
"The advantage of a display solution is that it requires less maintenance and is cheaper than a projection solution, as there is no need to replace bulbs or filters," states Uwe Hille, Project Manager at Matec. Plus, the image is bright and installation is simple. Another bonus is the option of incorporating interactive applications.
And that's what won over IHD. Hupfer: "We looked at a lot of display installations in and around Dresden before the project began and the 55" displays from the Christie Ultra Series were simply best suited for our purposes. That's why we opted for the installation, although it's the first time we have used products from Christie. One decisive criterion, for example, was that the edges of the displays don't interfere with the overall image and are very narrow." As the room was to be used several times a week – ideally every day – the displays needed to be suitable for permanent operation and require little maintenance.
The conference centre has been in use for some time now and the overall verdict is still positive: "We always have a lot of events planned in spring and autumn. It's safe to say that a major event with several hundred people takes place here around every four weeks," confirms Hupfer. And the conference room is not only used for external events, but also for internal purposes such as meetings. Overall it is currently used around two to three times per week. Hupfer laughs: "Initially there was some reticence within the organisation to using the space for simple meetings, as everything was so nice and new." That's all changed now.