Auckland Museum Chooses Sony for Sir Edmund Hillary and Ocean Exhibits

Recently, the Auckland Museum had professional projector and display requirements for two of its highest profile new exhibits, the ‘From The Summit – Hillary’s Enduring Legacy’ and ‘Moana – My Ocean’. For The Hillary Exhibit the museum chose Sony VPL-SW125 short throw projectors and for Moana – My Ocean, Sony VPL-FX35 and VPL-FH36 large venue installation projectors and VPL-SW535 ultra short throw projectors alongside multiple Sony Bravia screens.

Auckland Museum Exhibition Developer Victoria Travers explained; “The Auckland Museum is the place where the legacy of Sir Edmund Hillary is safe and we continue to develop our legacy plan for Hillary objects. We have a long relationship with the Hillary family which will be on-going and Auckland Museum will remain the home of Sir Edmund Hillary’s legacy. That said our primary objectives with the new Hillary exhibit were to help people appreciate the magnificence of Mt Sagarmāthā (Mt Everest), understand the extraordinary human feat of ascending Mount Everest, fully appreciate the good works of Sir Edmund Hillary and The Himalayan Trust and realise the significance of Hillary’s collections housed at the Auckland Museum.”

Travers continued, “We had never ventured in to 3D modelling, mapping and projection of this sort prior to this exhibition and we had a limited budget. The height limitations of the ceiling were a major factor and we were restricted to short throw projectors. Originally we planned to use four projectors, but because of the height restriction and the positioning of the 3D mountain model, the hardware and software used to feed the video image dictated that we use a three-unit projection setup. After researching all the options available to us we decided on the Sony VPL-SW125 short throw projectors as they produced amazing results despite our space and height restrictions.”

Before creating the ‘Moana – My Ocean’ exhibit, the Auckland Museum had engaged the public in an internationally significant research expedition to the Kermadec Islands led by Marine Curator Tom Trnski. Leveraging on the public engagement in marine research the museum decided to create a special exhibition and accompanying programme to take family and educational visitors on a journey of discovery from Auckland’s east coast to the Kermadec Islands.

Travers continued, “The Auckland Museum has the most comprehensive collection of Kermadec material in the world and we wanted to invite visitors to become marine explorers and embark on a remarkable journey of discovery in our marine environment. On their travels, visitors consider their relationship to the ocean and how they can play a role in reversing the damage being done to the planet.”

It was essential that the new exhibit help increase access to and engagement with the museum marine collections and collections research. The museum also wanted to develop outstanding new content and make the Auckland Museum Research Centre a significant part in the global conversation on preserving marine environments.

Finding projectors that were extremely short-throw and that provide a great image when used in a multi-channel environment was a real challenge that thankfully was eventually met by Sony’s VPL-SW535 (ultra short throw) projectors.”

The short-throw was required due to the nature of the space but also to ensure visitors didn’t interrupt the projection or cast shadows. In addition the Moana – My Ocean team were concerned about the short throw angle and how reflected light from the screen may cause hot-spotting and light scattering in the blend regions.

Travers concluded, “We had some real issues to overcome and it was a major problem finding a solution from many of the companies offering short throw projectors, despite looking at a number of models. When all were evaluated properly the Sony VPL-SW535 ultra short throw projectors offered the best solution and great value for money too. I’m also delighted to say that once installed, the Sony VPL-SW535 projectors truly did an excellent job.”

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