Closed from 2004 to 2014, the reopened Center of Science and Industry Planetarium in Columbus, Ohio draws more than 100,000 visitors annually. In its earlier incarnation, the planetarium used Evans & Sutherland’s Digistar 2 – state-of-the-art for its time – but with the reopening in 2014, it was time for the latest and best technology.
“Upgrading to the Digistar 5 system with the Christie [D4K2560 ] projectors was huge for us. This system does everything we ever wanted a planetarium to do or wished it could do,” said Kate Storm, director of theaters, COSI.
Storm said audiences are impacted by how immersive the planetarium experience is now. The technology has evolved from wireframe models to fully rendered images, increasing the level of engagement.
“With the Christie projectors, and the Digistar 5, you can get into great detail and we have wow moments where we leave the Earth and audiences see the big blue marble of the planet,” said Storm. “We can now fly out to the stars and planets and where things are in the universe. The projectors are amazing.”
And because of the Christie projectors and Digistar 5’s flexibility, the planetarium features a Science Now component where new discoveries, such as gravitational waves, can be shown within hours instead of weeks.
“In addition to the robust real time show production capabilities of Digistar 5, the brightness of the D4K2560 projector was essential to the COSI project because they wanted a stunning system to generate buzz, draw visitors and make a statement,” said Michael Daut, director of show production/marketing, Evans & Sutherland. “We installed one in the front and one in the back of their 60-foot dome. “You get the dramatic brightness out of the Christie system and the great color fidelity, all combined with the flexibility and features of Digistar 5. The Christie projectors are solid, perform well and produce a great picture on the screen.”
The planetarium – and COSI as a whole – is also helping local students prepare for standardized testing. Fifth-graders were struggling with the abstract concepts in science and astronomy but a day at the planetarium changed that.
“The technology in the Planetarium allows us to create and develop unique content. We created a custom show meeting Ohio’s Learning Standards for fifth graders in Columbus City Schools during specially designed field trips. The feedback was incredible,” added Storm. “Teachers and administrators told us the students could visualize and explain the concepts when they returned to school.”
“Evans & Sutherland explained everything very clearly to us. Everything went as smoothly as it could have gone and they hit the timelines. I loved working with them and we have cultivated a special relationship with them,” concluded Storm.
“We love what Christie projectors can do. Once we installed them in the Science Museum of Virginia, it became very obvious that they were a great solution that provided the kind of brightness that we didn’t normally have in a full-dome setting,” said Daut. “Digistar is a state-of-the-art digital planetarium/digital dome cinema system with unequaled features like the Digistar Cloud Library, providing free content sharing throughout the Digistar community, and Show Builder, providing fast and intuitive show creation tools. Christie projectors help make our systems look bright, crisp, and beautiful for maximum audience impact, and we are delighted to have them as a technology partner.”
Christie Digital Systems USA www.christiedigital.com