Stars shine bright in Hamburg

AUTHOR: Inavate

The Hamburg Planetarium has overhauled its projection system with two Sony SXR-T110 projectors. It turned to TV One for a 1T-C2 –750 dual channel DVI scaler for smooth cross-fading when switching between two server clusters.

The Hamburg Planetarium is one of the oldest planetariums in the world and boasts a complex multimedia setup that includes an advanced laser and lightshow system and attracts around 350,000 visitors each year.

Beside the Carl Zeiss “Universarium IX” Star Projector, the Hamburg Planetarium owns a modern, server-based, interactive and real-time, 3D simulation system called Digistar4. Based on a modular PC cluster array, developed by Evans & Sutherland, it is an integrated system of dom rendering video playback of real-time astronomy data and digital surround audio. The Digistar4 System redelivers video content on eight synchronized high-definition DVI Outputs each with a resolution of 2048x1080p that are projected on to the ceiling giving an immersive experience for visitors from all around the world.

Alongside the Digistar4 System, a second PC cluster from Swedish Company SCISS, is employed to run a Uniview System called a “GeoScience Cluster”, a 3D real-time simulation software to present Geographic, Earth and Space Science. These new system investments allow for the visualizing of world climate changes for educational purposes and bolster visitor appeal. Like the Digistar4 system, this SCISS Uniview system is also running on eight PCs with high-definition DVI Outputs of 2048x1080p that are projected high above the audience to the ceiling overhead.

In 2009 the Hamburg Planetarium decided to replace the old projection system with two Sony SXR-T110 projectors each with 11.000 Lumen. In order to feed the eight DVI outputs from both PC clusters into the two Sony 4K projectors, a way of switching between the two server clusters with a smooth cross-fade while staying in sync was needed.

The planetarium selected a TV One 1T-C2-750 Dual Channel DVI Scaler that emplots CORIO2 technology to allow genlocking, seamless switching - including smooth cross-fades - and other transitions with variable timing, as well as full 2K resolution support.

The genlock function of the 1T-C2-750 allows for all eight units to run in perfect synchronicity. It enables all of the 1T-C2-750 units to perform various functions, such as switching between sources, at precisely the exact moment as each other without any delay or timing issues.

Two of the 1T-C2-750 units from TV One are also being used in conjunction with two large DVI touch screen monitors within the auditorium that are used by operators to run the demonstrations for public audiences. Darkness within the auditorium of a planetarium is hugely important and it was found that the brightness levels of the monitors could not be decreased sufficiently. In order to resolve this, two small control boxes were built to control the fade level of two 1T-C2-750 units by RS-232 control, allowing the TV One units to switch from a video image to a completely black image using a fade to black command.

The eight TV One 1T-C2-750 Scalers are powered by two TV One P2-105 Power Distribution systems, rackmounted near the PC clusters and controlled via RS-232 from a central Control Room.