Since the National Museum of the American Indian opened in Washington in 2004, visitors have been treated to an immersive video experience in the Lelawi Theater, including a central projection surface with images including water flowing over rocks, plus a ceiling showing the sky and storms.
The Lelawi Theater at the National Museum of the American Indian Now, the museum—part of the Smithsonian Institution—has upgraded its showpiece full-dome video experience with a display system by England-based Global Immersion. The November 2009 renovation included integration of a new four-channel digital projection and server solution; producing sharper and brighter images.
The 120-seat circular theater immerses visitors in an exclusive 13-minute presentation titled “Who We Are,” designed to portray the vibrancy and diversity of contemporary Native life—exploring the organic bond between communities and their land, religion, traditional knowledge, government and expression.
The 12-meter diameter theater recreates the traditional campfire, native folklore scene—featuring a concentric design with tiered bench seating located around three display systems. The digital full-dome configuration allows the audience to view the “sky” above, while a central “campfire” is simulated using a video projector positioned below the floor onto a screen representing the flaming fire around which Native Americans would tell stories. This digital “fire pit” is surrounded by four smaller screens in the center of the theater.
Global Immersion upgraded the seven existing projectors with a four-channel Fidelity Bright DLP system, substantially increasing brightness and quality of the display while reducing the ongoing cost of ownership. A playback server was also integrated to feed the correct resolution to the display, and to house the new Remote Diagnostic capability—promising a reliable and serviceable system for the future. Global Immersion also integrated the new electronics to the existing audio and control systems and will continue to service the facility.
The original digital theater system was designed and developed by the Global Immersion team when the company was a division of SEOS (now Rockwell Collins).
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