Museum complex "Zoya": a tank under the bombardment of projectors and other technical nuances
- Jan, how much can you shoot down projectors ?! When will you finish your tank spin ?! Well, again the mesh on stitching has gone astray, redoing again!
- Dmitry, finally turn off the grinder. When will I rebuild directional sound at night?
To build an immersive museum is
Today we will talk about how we equipped the new Zoya museum complex in Petrishchevo with multimedia systems. Under the cut - details of working in the trench, especially acoustics in the dugout and many other nuances.
By tradition, I will first say a few words about the technical equipment of the museum. We selected the equipment at the design stage, and as a result we got the following stack:
- BrightSign players - almost all expositions are collected on them;
- Screenberry server and server software for stitching and ensuring the operation of one of the expositions;
- Canon projectors - stopped at them, because they needed fairly quiet projectors with good lens shift;
- Bose Speakers & Dante Amplifiers;
- NEC LCD panels.
Technical equipment: by sightseeing
The museum complex is designed and constructed so that during the tour visitors move through the halls in a pre-planned, dramatic manner. So I will also consistently talk about each of the zones.
"Country of the young"
In terms of technical equipment, this is one of the simplest rooms. The collage of posters and photographs fit LCD panels from NEC. They cyclically broadcast footage from films and chronicles of the times of the pre-war USSR. A directional sound column is installed in one place - the audio recording is audible only to those who are opposite, and does not interfere with other visitors.
The interior of the class in which Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya studied was recreated here. The school desks are in two rows: old, with lids. On them are fountain pens and inkwells. Portraits of leaders are hung on the walls, and a globe is standing on the teacher’s desk. Outside is a sunny day, birds are singing.
When visitors enter the premises, the guide starts the program: day is replaced by night. The voice of Molotov announces the beginning of the war. Sound machine gun bursts, explosions. Outside the window, planes fly by. The program lasts 5 minutes, after which daylight returns.
This is a rather interesting and difficult area. Our task was to synchronize between a light and sound show. Correctly adjust the acoustics so that visitors “believe” that an air raid has begun: explosions are heard simultaneously with flashes of light.
As for organizational issues, it was necessary to decide how the show begins. Two options for the hall were discussed: with a guide and an automatic. We settled on the first option. As soon as the group enters, the guide closes the door and starts the program with the button. So that no one accidentally opens the door during the session, a placard with a countdown to the end of the program hangs above the entrance to the hall. The show is quite loud, and in museums there are certain standards for noise levels. One group should not interfere with another.
The ability to press the button again is limited by logic at the Crestron processor level - network commands to the player and DMX controller are not sent until the show ends.
Winter forest. The trees rustle, the snow crunches underfoot. A little ahead are the log houses of the village of Petrishchevo. One can hear the shells exploding in the distance and the dogs barking.
The sounds of the forest are looped and played continuously. This is background acoustics. Together with her in the hall there are installations with directional sound - they cyclically broadcast the memories of Zoe's relatives and contemporaries. Here we used a BrightSign player and a Panphonics directional speaker with an amplifier. Inside it are several dozen miniature speakers, due to which the sound is concentrated exclusively under the speaker.
A little further is a wooden screen covered with special projection paint. A slide show of photos of Zoe's execution is projected onto him. They were found in the personal belongings of a German officer. Through the built-in speakers, the voice of Zoe's mother sounds. Installation is not interactive, but it makes you goosebumps.
Trench. Battle of Moscow
Very interesting area. It is a tall, almost human height, trench, powdered with snow. Above the visitors rises a full-size SU-152 with an inscription on board: “For Zoya, for my sister!”
The trench is surrounded by a screen on which, in normal mode, a looped animated picture of the view from the trench is shown. The image is fed directly from three projectors - the stitching was done manually, standing on a stepladder so that the entire screen was visible. The horizontal and vertical lines were shot with a laser level, along which the grid (pixel map) was pulled onto the wall. The trench itself consists of a wooden frame over which a special coating is stretched. The top layer imitates the earth and snow.
Perhaps, we’ll dwell in more detail on the trench - several stories are connected with it.
At the time of installation of the equipment, the museum was still under construction, so our specialists had to either wait until the finishing work in some room was over, or reconfigure on the fly if something changed dramatically.
A tank (strictly speaking, this, of course, is not a tank, but the SU-152 - a self-propelled artillery installation, but for the sake of brevity it was called a tank for brevity) was brought and installed in parts for about two days. All this time, we looked with horror at the heavy construction made of gypsum and MDF, which had every chance of getting between the screen and the projectors. It was not possible to physically stitch the first time: during the collection, projectors were shot down 3-4 times to us. Had to re-align them.
During the installation process, engineers repeatedly had to go to a modest job feat - to climb the "trench". We give builders their due: despite the obvious decorative design, everyone returned home safe and sound.
In the same way as in the “Zoe class”, the program starts at the touch of a button: the animated view from the trench is replaced with a film about the battle for Moscow, and a countdown for the following groups lights up before entering. The timing for the timer is taken directly from the video file, so if the movie is replaced, you won’t have to reconfigure anything.
All recordings (photos, music, sound effects, videos, etc.) are stored on the museum server, which is located in a separate room. As soon as the guide includes the program, the controller instructs the server to start the video. At the same time, a command is given on the “Do not enter, there is a session” display.
Especially for people with limited mobility, video information is duplicated on a small 32-inch screen, which is located on the wall of the trench. Another screen shows the chronology of the battle (an animated map of the Battle of Moscow) - this is also a looped video file.
This is a classic museum area. It recreated the life of partisans and sabotage units. Ceiling acoustics are placed in the “dugout” - the general’s sayings are broadcast. Here the emphasis is not on the technological installation, but on the skill of the guide and the situation.
Hall “The World Remember Zoe”
On the walls of the hall are placed classic lightboxes with posters and photographs, as well as a 98-inch LCD panel. It is a short film about Zoe, shot back in 1944, during the war. Since passive acoustics were used, twisted pair transmitters had to be used for video transmission. Classic.
Hall of the Immortal Regiment
One of the most impressive halls. Projection stitching from three projectors is projected onto a semicircular wall. Passive acoustics are built, the signal comes from the amplifier from the rack, and the video is transmitted to the projectors through the transmitter-receiver.
Special stands with touch displays are installed here. Any visitor can indicate their full name, scan the photo and record a short (up to 3 minutes) video about their grandfather or other warring relative. The museum administration regularly reviews the materials left by visitors and adds them to the overall video sequence on the wall.
If for some reason a person cannot record a video or forgot to bring a photograph, he can leave his phone number or email. Museum staff will contact him and collect the necessary materials.
A video wall consisting of 9 NEC LCD panels is installed in the lobby of the museum. All content comes from one player (it is located behind the wall). All players in the museum are powered by PoE.
As for acoustics, audio players transmit sound to the audio system. Further, according to the Dante protocol, it is routed through amplifiers and through the speakers it falls into the ears of visitors.
The power supply of the “sensitive” equipment is without fail reserved by uninterruptible power supplies - all the power lines of the equipment from the hall come to the server room and are fed from the UPS installed there, to which the rack itself is connected. For example, projectors cannot just be pulled out of the socket - the lamp will not have time to “cool down” normally. As a result, the projector will work much less than planned. Or even fail.
All systems are controlled from a laptop on which a Crestron panel with a control system build is installed. You can monitor the status of players, LCD panels, see if there is any kind of session now. The interface is duplicated on the tablet, and control is given to the hands of technical support engineers. All the elements that the guides interact with are made as babushka-friendly as possible: I clicked a button and it worked.
Curiosities and difficulties
At the site, we encountered two main difficulties. The first was that the multimedia equipment was not originally included in the building - it was started after the construction was completed and the projects of all engineering systems were ready. As a result, I had to bypass the air ducts, trays, hang projectors over the finished structures and select specific mounts for them. Or invent something custom. The premises of the museum also added difficulties - when installing sound systems, there were many “difficult” zones. All the exhibition halls are rounded, so it was necessary to make an acoustic calculation and hang the sound so that there were no reflections. The hardest thing was in the "trench". There, re-reflection of sound is possible not only from the walls of the exposition, but also from the trench itself. In addition, in parallel with our work, decoration and installation of decorations were in progress. I had to wait until my colleagues on the site finished painting some wall or “installing” the forest.
The second difficulty is a tight deadline.Coronavirus slowed down both construction and equipment supplies, so we were able to start work two weeks later than planned. To keep within the opening, sometimes I had to stay until the morning. But everyone managed to do it - from the moment of entering the site to the final setup, about two and a half weeks passed.
The most epic happened before the opening of the museum. Imagine: midnight, all the equipment, except for the arriving at 6 pm clock directional acoustics, configured and debugged. They are shooting and editing videos for opening. And then the electricity goes out. Not only in the museum, but throughout the village. Naturally, you must not leave the site if there is even the slightest risk that the equipment has been damaged. But not only we were excited here - the next morning was planned not only a responsible showing of the video, the shooting and editing of which was in full swing, but also the grand opening of the museum with the participation of the Minister and the Governor. At about one in the morning the electricity returned, everyone shrugged and resumed work. At four in the morning the project was completely ready to receive the first visitors. But this, as they say, is another story.
- Wi-Fi at the Arkhangelskoye Estate Museum
- Museum of Russian emigration: how we put a motion sensor in a gramophone and generally added technology
- The virtual hall of the Hermitage - the first step to the future according to Pelevin