For many home theater owners, the recent Super Bowl and Sunday’s Oscars were all the incentive they needed to do a video upgrade.
For the Adler Planetarium, the timing of its major improvement to its central domed theater is purely coincidental. The lakefront space center puts images of the cosmos on its 70-foot-diameter dome, rather than such ephemera as football and awards shows.
But those images will be much better thanks to a new set of projectors delivering the immersive imagery of the planetarium’s sky shows.
“The new projectors provide a brighter, crisper, and more colorful image on screen. In addition, the software behind the image is more powerful,” Mark Webb, director of theaters, said in a statement.
The makeover comes six years after the Adler gut-rehabbed the Grainger to deliver what was then said to be the best video technology of any planetarium on Earth.
That system used an array of 20 projectors, provided by a British firm, Global Immersion. The new one, which comes from Utah’s Evans and Sutherland, needs just six to provide the improved image quality. That will allow the planetarium to cover some of the projector holes on the lower, back portions of the dome's walls.
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The Grainger's Digistar 6 system is billed as providing 8K resolution. It is comprised of “six Sony SRX-T615 4K projectors with 18,000 lumens per projector and 12,000:1 contrast,” according to the company, “seamlessly blended together using E&S' auto alignment and auto blending systems that will keep the imagery looking expertly aligned with the click of a mouse.”
A slightly different Digistar 6 system, also serving up 8K resolution, has been installed in the Adler’s Defniti Space Theater, a 55-foot dome. Funding came from Lake Forest's Grainger Foundation. The Definiti will get a further makeover -- new chairs, carpet and a new dome surface -- in the fall.
“These big improvements not only enhance our public shows, but actually allows us to use the theater in new ways,” Webb said. “The increased brightness and quality of the screen image, combined with faster production capability, makes it possible to pair projection with other lighting sources for private events, musical performances, and unique presentations that were difficult or impossible to achieve before.”
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