• Recreating Ancient Rome

Recreating Ancient Rome

Eight 6,500 lumen Panasonic projectors help bring ancient Rome to modern Aarhus.

Having attracted ten times more visitors than anticipated in its first year of operation, Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus, Denmark is a true success story. 

Such positive visitor feedback for the permanent exhibition has meant the museum has a challenge to meet high visitor expectations within the temporary exhibits too.

In 2015, the museum successfully presented ‘The First Emperor – China’s Terracotta Army’, about Emperor Qin, the first emperor of China and his mythical army of terracotta warriors.

For 2016, the museum has created ’Gladiator – Heroes of the Colosseum’, which presents stories from the lives of the gladiators and is a journey into the arenas of Rome and Pompeii.

The exhibition displays more than 200 items from key museums and institutions in Italy. Among them, Moesgaard Museum has been able to borrow five extraordinarily well preserved and elaborately decorated bronze helmets. They are in the same condition as they were on the day in the year 79 AD when the volcano Vesuvius erupted and buried the city of Pompeii and its citizens in ashes.

The items along with set design, sound, lighting and visual effects depict the life of a gladiator from the fate of a fallen mercenary to that of a slave and gladiator. Many of the 200 items displayed in the exhibition at Moesgaard have not previously been displayed outside of Italy.

In addition to the artefacts, the museum has recreated a Roman amphitheatre. A 26m projection covers one wall of the exhibit opposite a balcony, from which visitors are able to sample the view the emperor would have had of the spectacle.

The awning above the spectator area, the so-called Velarium, and the elevator from the corridors below the Colosseum, with which wild animals are brought to the fights, are just a few of the physical elements that allow the exhibition area to resemble the real Colosseum.

Hidden within the cavea (the concentric rows of stone steps on which the audience sat) are eight Panasonic PT-RZ670, 1-chip DLP™ projectors.

"Redundancy is critical for us, so to know that each of the projectors has 20,000 hours of maintenance-free operation gives us peace of mind."

The perfect edge blending from them creates a 20 minute projected movie depicting stories of ancient Rome, taken from period marble friezes.

An underfloor cage houses a virtual lion within a Panasonic TH-70LF50 70 inch flat screen, with the animal ultimately released to interact with the main projected content.   

“Before we opened you don’t know how the flow is going to be, we have both traditional artefacts and video elements, but visitors stay for the full 20 minutes,” said Lasse Ugilt Sø, AV technician at Moesgaard Museum.

Each projector features 6,500 lumens of brightness, and like other Panasonic large venue projectors, the PT-RZ670 has an extremely compact body, providing a variety of advanced features, such as DIGITAL LINK connectivity, portrait mode capability and multi-screen projection. 

Liquid cooling combined with a filter-less dust resistant structure and airtight optical block reduces operational noise and maintenance requirements. 

“Redundancy is critical for us, we anticipate that over half a million people will see the exhibition this year, so to know that each of the projectors give 20,000 hours of maintenance-free operation gives us peace of mind,” added Lasse Ugilt Sø.

"We have both traditional artefacts and video elements, but visitors stay for the full 20 minutes."

Flexible installation allows the projectors to be mounted vertically. The projectors come equipped with a multi-screen support system which seamlessly joins screens using edge blending, colour matching and digital image enlarging.

The PT-RZ670 is compatible with Panasonic multi monitoring and control software as well as the early warning software. In addition, the single-cable DIGITAL LINK connection transmits video and control signals for up to 100 m (328 ft).

The content scenes, projection and lighting work in tandem to create stunning, lifelike day and night scenes.

“We have the content specially made by a local production company, it was filmed in Aarhus and many of the extras are members of staff from the museum. The biggest challenge was finding local people who could pass for ancient Romans,” added Lasse Ugilt Sø.

’Gladiator – Heroes of the Colosseum’ runs from April 22 until September 11, 2016.