Panasonic Projectors Bring David Hockney’s California Love Affair to Life

Panasonic’s projectors illustrate six decades of David Hockney’s work, thoughts, and creative processes, from Los Angeles, to Yorkshire, and Normandy

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Client: Lightroom

Location: King's Cross, London

Product(s) supplied: PT-RQ22K PT-RZ12K


To honour the life of multiple award-winning pop art pioneer, David Hockney, Lightroom was keen to provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Hockney’s celebrated works – including his long affinity with California – across six themed chapters on a canvas far bigger than Hockney had ever envisaged. 


Multiple installations of state-of-the-art Panasonic 4K laser projectors deliver the stunning visuals required to bring Hockney’s work to life in a truly immersive experience, without compromising the viewer’s ability to absorb the emotion behind his pieces

"Together with David Hockney, we’ve created an experience that is a cross between a gallery show, a documentary, and a podcast on a vast scale, with high resolution Panasonic projectors central to this."

Behind-the-Scenes Storytelling

David Hockney is one of the world's most celebrated artists, and one of Britain’s most influential artists in the establishment of pop art in the 20th century. Fascinated by the use of vibrant colours, and always exploring the possibilities of new mediums – frequently including works created through dedicated tablet and mobile phone-based applications – his work appeals to every generation.

To provide a glimpse into Hockney’s creative process and visually depict how his thoughts and feelings influence his work, he has partnered with Lightroom to create David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away)

This vibrant assault on the senses features everything from Hockney’s iPad drawings and Polaroid collages to reanimations of his stage designs and the enormous A Bigger Grand Canyon painting that can be viewed as intended within Lightroom’s vast space. The exhibition is completed by Hockney’s continuous commentary, providing the rare chance for visitors to get into the mind of a living, highly innovative artist.

"We previously showed David Hockney the scale and fidelity of 4K images offered by Panasonic’s projectors, that could do justice to the calibre of his work. He was thrilled by the vibrancy and colour of the pictures offered by the projectors, and – coupled with the ability to wrap his art 360°, he immediately appreciated the capabilities of the technology."

Colour Quality and 4K+ Visuals Essential

Hockney’s signature use of vibrant colours necessitated projectors that could bring these images to life through stunning 4K+ visuals. This is especially important to convey the influence that his near-60-year residence in California – and his fascination with the United States and American modernist movement – has had on his life and work.

Lightroom chose 14 Panasonic PT-RQ22K 3-Chip DLP projectors for the space’s walls, delivering 20,000 lumens and 4K+ visuals, thanks to Panasonic’s unique pixel-quadrupling technology, Quad Pixel Drive, at the heart of the projector. The best-in-class 3-Chip DLP imaging, combined with Panasonic’s SOLID SHINE laser light phosphor technology, delivers high brightness, colour accuracy, and high contrast visuals, without any visible pixels, for the most realistic experience.

The ability to project Hockney’s work from near-impossible angles, that surround the visitor without casting shadows, was also important. The full lens shift capabilities of the PT-RQ22K enable 360-degree installation through any axis.

This is achieved through the use of Panasonic Ultra Short Throw (UST) lenses on many of the projectors. This allows the projectors to be hidden in the ceilings, so as not to distract from the immersive illusion, with no risk of shadows being cast onto projection surfaces that would disrupt the viewing of Hockney’s work.

Lightroom has also deployed 14 Panasonic PT-RZ12K 3-Chip DLP projectors that project 12,000 lumens of HD projection onto the space’s floor, creating an all-encompassing visitor experience.

A Reliable, Maintenance-Free Operation

Panasonic’s PT-RQ22K features a filter-less design and a hermetically sealed, dust-proof optical system, giving Lightroom the confidence that projector uptime will be maximised. It can also deliver 24/7 continuous projection, and 20,000 hours of maintenance-free use. 

Furthermore, the dual-drive optical engine groups laser diodes into two discrete modules, with a redundancy circuit working to minimise any loss in brightness or colour-uniformity in the unlikely event that a diode should fail. 

Social Media Sharing Crucial

It was paramount to Lightroom that visitors could capture Hockney’s art, and the futuristic methods he uses to create it, and share them on social media. The high-resolution visuals provided by Panasonic projectors made this possible.

James Roxburgh explains: “Nearly 3,000 people visit Lightroom every day, and after experiencing the awe-inspiring visuals of Hockney’s work for real, they want to capture this in still images and videos to share on social platforms. We know that Panasonic’s projectors will work every time; the impressive refresh rate and the ability for the 4K visuals to be recorded allow visitors to take a souvenir away with them.”

The Show Goes On With Projection Monitoring

Equally important to the continuous projection was the ability to monitor every aspect of video playback from the projectors. Given their location in areas that cannot be accessed without disrupting the visitor experience, this would normally prove difficult. Lightroom used four Panasonic AW-UE150 and four AW-HE130KRL PTZ cameras for the Duty Technician to monitor the projectors. 

Panasonic’s PTZ cameras are designed to operate in low-light conditions, with market-leading optical zoom capabilities making them ideal for a variety of purposes. Connected to Lightroom’s rack room or control room, the cameras can be controlled either by Panasonic’s AW-RP150EJ camera controller, or by recalling presets via network control. The Lightroom team can then monitor video playback in forensic analysis and diagnose any technical issues, ensuring the exhibition continues without interruption.

“We need a camera system that enables us to see the full big picture, but also zoom right in to check that the video line up is still optimal. The control room has no line of sight to the space, so we are totally reliant on the camera system for technical operations,” adds James.

Appealing to New Generations

Lightroom has seen people of all ages visiting David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away), from very small children and older generations, and experiencing something they haven’t before, as Richard explains:

“Panasonic enables visitors to go on a journey with David Hockney’s work with him, and have a creative mind explaining his processes as the art unfolds around them from every angle.”

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