Panasonic videomapping adds stardust to "David Bowie Is" experience

Creating an interactive trip combining art and technology for over 130,000 visitors to special Bowie exhibition

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Client: MAMbo Museum

Location: Bologna

Product(s) supplied: PT-RZ570


To celebrate a great artist through an interactive journey, powerfully staged to meet the demands of a diverse audience.


A multimedia route has been created, with immersive projection using three PT-RZ570 laser projectors, four 20,000 lumen PT-DZ21 projectors, two PT-DZ6700 projectors and a Space player.

"The quality and reliability of the Panasonic projectors was evident in technological aspects providing real added value to the show"

Last year, the Modern Art Museum Bologna (MAMBo) hosted the Italian version of‘David Bowie Is', the last of a long series of successful installation shows designed to celebrate the life and career of the Thin White Duke around the world [1].

A series of Panasonic projectors were arranged at the venue to form an interactive route through which visitors passed surrounded by music, sound, and images. With the projectors also fully integrated with a Sennheiser audio installation, the audience were able to enjoy an evocative immersion in the 50 years of Bowie's personal and artistic life. The AV solutions used in the show were designed and produced by 3P Technologies, with installation provided by BF Servizi.

Marko Boscos, Operations Director for BF Servizi explains:“The show is designed to meet the demands of a mixed and varied audience, from the passionate fan to the visitor curious to discover something new. Our angle for the exhibition was therefore to design a route including a major audiovisual and multimedia component, combining the best exhibition experience with a traditional museum style.”

With an exhibition space of 1000m2 within MAMbo,various phases of the singers career weretransported into three main macro-sections. This included Bowie's early days, the breakthrough with Space Oddity, and his artistic maturity, before moving onto a multimedia staging of the live concert experience.

"This extraordinary effect, mixing lights, video and historical relics, literally dazzles the spectator"

“As the title suggests, theDavid Bowie Isexhibition is laid out as a set of paths: winding through music, sound and images. Through this, the visitor obtains their own emotional response to the music, creatinga personal relationship with the pop stars world which allows them to understand whoDavid Bowie Is,” explains Alberto De Leonardis, Exhibition Director.

Videomapping with professional projectors

For the technical installation, four Panasonic PT-DZ21K2 projectors, two PT-DZ6700, three PT-RZ570and a Space Player (PT-JW130) were used, each with a specific purpose within the overall scenic design.

Leonardo Castellani, Project Engineer from 3P Technologies explained how the projectors were used in each section. “The route began with a reproduction of the bedroom of the young David Bowie, enhanced with some interesting videomapping effects using two PT-DZ6700 projectors fitted with ET-DLE080 lenses.

"From a logistics point of view, in addition to the creative and powerfully evocative effects, it is worth noting the use of a Space Player PT-JW130 to project the artist's face onto a pair of dolls, intriguing the visitor who cannot understand where the images are coming from.

[1] The show had its début in London, in 2013, initiated by Fifty Nine Productions, before moving to Chicago, Sao Paolo, Toronto, Paris, Berlin, Melbourne and Groningen, finally coming to Bologna.

The "David Bowie Is" show provides an experience enhanced by over 300 original objects and relics of the artist: stage props and equipment, photographs, album cover art, personal items, manuscripts of his songs and some of his musical instruments. *Photo by Francesco Gozzi

The device is the size and shape of a spotlight, so it can be camouflaged among the overhead lighting rigs."

Four 20K lumen PT-DZ21K2s, renowned for their compact size andwide-angle lenses, project images onto the four walls of a cube into which the visitor enters through a small door. Here, they were immersed in an intense sequence of video, image and sound, reliving the live experience for around 20 minutes. Major video projections alternate with the exhibition of stage costumes and original materials belonging to the artist. For instance, some walls with niches holding cabinets containing mannequins dressed in Bowie's stage costumes are the focus for particular projections. In the darkened space, a series of films is projected onto a sheet covering them, and at the moment the lights go on, the stage clothes appear. This extraordinary effect, mixing lights, video and historical relics, literally dazzles the spectator”.

"The quality and reliability of the Panasonic projectors was evident in technological aspects providing real added value to the show."

"The final stage of the route included an exceptional video mapping display using a single Panasonic PT-RZ570 laser projector, concealed above the exit door, on a series of “dummy” images alternating with real photographs. Animations are projected onto empty frames, alternating with other frames containing real photographs. It created a powerful effect, for it was almost impossible for visitors to distinguish the difference in the images due to the PT-RZ570's technical functionalities such as its colorimetry and the absence of residual brightness,” concludes Castellani.

“The whole exhibition, of artefacts and content, winding through the life and account of David Bowie, the artist and the man, needed a reliable technical basis to provide a harmonic blend of all the characteristics for each context. Throughout, the integrated sophistication of the AV systems established a vital scenic effect,”added Alberto De Leonardis, Exhibition Director.

The interactive, emotional multimedia journey through the exhibition convinced even the most sceptical of viewers to devote the time necessary to their visit. Marko Boscos described the experience, “Often people stayed longer than necessary in the exhibition, leading to long queues at the entrance. We observed cases in which some enthusiasts spent the whole day in the exhibition, where we had expected it would take one to two hours.

"It was a real challenge to assemble such a vast quantity of content, materials and films, integrating it all into a fascinating, immersive journey giving concrete expression to David Bowie's personality. The quality and reliability of the Panasonic projectors was evident in technological aspects providing real added value to the show. For instance the enhanced thermal stability wasvital to avoid distortion in the projected images.”

Castellani added, “Once they were installed, these projectors needed no recalibration.”

*Photo byFrancesco Gozzi

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