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Dataton’s WATCHOUT Blends 56 Projected Images into Single Diorama

Linköping, Sweden (March 15, 2012) — In one of the largest technology rollouts the Swedish-based company has delivered, Dataton supplied its WATCHOUT™ multimedia content playback solution for a multi-faceted 228 m screen in a new Chinese exhibition titled ‘Old Beijing Gets Moving’.

Located in the Chinese capital’s National Conference Center, adjacent to globally renowned Olympic venues such as the Bird’s Nest stadium and Water Cube, ‘Old Beijing Gets Moving’ takes as its inspiration ‘A Glance Round Old Beijing’ – a celebrated panorama of the city as it was in the 1930s, originally created as an extended scrolled image by the painter Wang Daguan.

Thanks to WATCHOUT’s ability to seamlessly blend and synchronise the images of 56 digital video projectors, Daguan’s original painting has been brought to life as a spectacular animated video in which up to a thousand ancient buildings including temples, castles, city walls, theatres, shops and people’s homes are enhanced by moving images of the people who once inhabited them as they go about their daily lives – walking, talking, working, shopping, playing and even, in one case, getting married.

On entering the exhibition, visitors are guided around in front of a custom-built projection screen that measures three metres high and is over 228 metres long. Along its ‘journey’, the screen takes a number of right-angle turns, allowing visitors to view some parts of the animation in parallel with one another, and giving them a fresh perspective each time they turn a corner.

“The theme of the exhibition is ‘Watch Old Beijing, Love New Beijing’,” explains Kenneth Cheung of Audio Visual Technique, Dataton’s local partner. “Many of the buildings represented in Wang Daguan’s original painting are long gone, so the idea was to apply new technology in a way that would bring them back to life for today’s generation.

“The creative team responsible for ‘Old Beijing Gets Moving’ is the same one that created the acclaimed Riverside Scene in the Chinese Pavilion of the Shanghai World Expo. We thought that was an extraordinary achievement of digital programming andanimation, but this new Beijing exhibition outshines it not just in terms ofscale but also in terms of creativity, artistic depth and sheer ambition.”

Audio Visual Technique supplied the WATCHOUT licences to local systems integrator An Heng Group, which designed the exhibition’s AV infrastructure. As well as its multiple image-blending, WATCHOUT was chosen for its geometry correction capabilities – essential given the many corners in the projection map – and for its centralised control features which allow the whole ‘show’ to be triggered and run automatically from the Exhibition’s Crestron control system.

Adjacent to the new display, three of Wang Daguan’s original paintings – ‘A General View of Old Tianqiao’ and ‘Landscape of the Capital and its Environs’ as well as ‘A Glance Round Old Beijing’ – are showcased for comparison, themselves occupying a total length of over 30 metres and providing a poignant artistic contrast to the multimediawall.

Fredrik Svahnberg, Marketing Director at Dataton, observes: “Our partners in Asia continue to astound us with the scale and ambition of their work, and ‘Old Beijing Gets Moving’ is a perfect example. It is hard to imagine a multimedia installation of this scale being accomplished with anything other than WATCHOUT, and we are delighted to have been the supplier of choice for such a spectacular and historically important project.”

Renowned Swedish show control developer and manufacturer, Dataton has firmly established themselves on the international market since the 1980s. The company’s flagship products include the award-winning Dataton WATCHOUT™ multi-display production and presentation system as well as the intuitive Dataton PICKUP™ audio guide. WATCHOUT version 5 is a multi-display, timeline-based software system that comprises stereoscopic playback and 3D effects, and a strong array of groundbreaking features, including enhanced live interaction.

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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