Scalable Display Technologies Brings American History to Life in Philadelphia

Images from U.S. history are brought to life on digital displays with Scalable Display Technologies.
(Image credit: Scalable Display Technologies)

Zenith Systems, an Ohio-based systems integrator, was selected to engineer and integrate the audiovisual technology at Faith and Liberty Discovery Center in Philadelphia. The firm look to Scalable Display Technologies (opens in new tab).

Faith and Liberty Discovery Center is an immersive and digitally driven museum that explores the country’s history by illuminating the influence of the Bible at key historical and personal moments. The $60-million, 40,000-square-foot museum, owned by the American Bible Society, is the latest development in a decades-long transformation of Independence Mall. Faith and Liberty Discovery Center features two floors and six galleries where guests can unearth films, artifacts, immersive media and more, while learning about leaders throughout American history who have looked to faith, liberty, justice, hope, unity and love for guidance and strength.

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“Faith and Liberty Discovery Center is centered around digital storytelling to create an immersive experience,” said Douglas Fortney, CTS-D, chief technology officer for Zenith Systems. “Guests can explore interactive galleries, learn about the influence of scripture on noteworthy Americans, and take a journey of discovery guided by an illuminated hand-held lamp that activates galleries throughout the attraction. Faith and Liberty Discovery Center features several individual galleries that are tied together to create an engaging and detailed story."

“The galleries are curved, round, and obscurely shaped to create an immersive experience,” noted Jeremy Weatherford, systems integration developer for Zenith Systems. “The galleries for Welcome, Faith, Hope, and Unity each required a unique solution to accommodate different degrees of curved projection. One gallery has a 120-degree curved projection, while another features a 360-degree projection on the wall and the floor. Additionally, one gallery had a steel column in the middle of the space; ultimately, we could not relocate the column because it was load-bearing. We were required to design and integrate a solution to project content around the column. The challenge of integrating projectors in obscure spaces required us to select a feature-rich edge-blending and calibration solution.”

In the Unity room, history is brought to life in bright color with Scalable Display Technologies.

(Image credit: Scalable Display Technologies)

Zenith Systems integrated Scalable Display Technologies into Welcome, Faith, Hope and Unity galleries to create a simple-to-use, sustainable solution for warping and blending high-resolution displays on screens. Scalable produces groundbreaking software that automatically calibrates images’ color, intensity and geometry from multiple projectors, resulting in a single, seamless digital display. 

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“We had originally designed the project with different technology in mind,” said Fortney. “The projector manufacturer for this specific project had previous success with Scalable and recommended that we speak with their team. During our initial meeting with Scalable, we learned about their integration with WATCHOUT, a key feature that was very important for this project.”

 “The exhibitor designer, who was developing the media, was committed to utilizing WATCHOUT," Weatherford added. "Before Scalable’s integration, we considered manually coordinating the geometry correction. Essentially, it required us to have outboard video processing devices. This was a very tedious process. The sheer amount of equipment and rack space that would be required was prohibitive. We wanted to find a solution to eliminate single points of failure and improve coordination between the manufacturers. We used Scalable Display Manager for geometry correction, allowing us to use a single set of hardware for playback on the media server and geometry correction.” 

Scalable Display Manager is a premier solution for automatic warping and edge-blending. Designed to handle the most demanding applications, Scalable Display Manager can calibrate an unlimited number of projections on any screen geometry. Scalable’s patented algorithms are capable of sub-pixel blend registration and sub-degree geometric uniformity.

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“Scalable Display Manager was a technically important piece. It allowed us to create a sustainable solution for the end user,” explained Fortney. “It was imperative that we created a solution that the end user could easily configure and calibrate. We wanted media content to look pristine every day, not just on day one. With Scalable, the on-site technician can easily recalibrate the display each week, so it always looks incredible for guests.”

“Scalable’s one-touch recalibration was very important to us,” said Weatherford. “We integrated over 40 projectors—with each mounted in different ways. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to fix them in place. The projectors shift and move. Even as the building changes temperature, the projectors begin to drift. Scalable’s recalibration enables the on-site technician to simply push a button and calibrate the projectors with millimeter precision. It was essential to the success of this installation. 

“Scalable’s software provided an effective solution for black-level correction. We had to adjust the levels of projector blends, but this was an especially challenging space because the blend regions are not rectangular. We are working with triangular blend regions. It’s difficult to achieve the correct levels. Scalable collaborated with us to perfect the black levels.”

Scalable’s in-house, highly-trained team demonstrates a passion for technology, innovation and customer satisfaction. Scalable’s knowledge goes well beyond warping and blending, with broad expertise in 3D rendering, advanced graphics, machine vision and the latest projection technologies.

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“Scalable’s team has been extremely knowledgeable and helpful,” noted Weatherford. “We have direct communication with the individuals that know the software best. It’s the best technical support that we could have received. I’m happy we selected Scalable because of the technical support we’ve received. We work with many large manufacturers and frequently get brushed off when trying to do complicated things with their products. Scalable was the opposite of that. They have been very supportive. They want to see the project succeed and they’ve committed the resources to make it happen. Overall, we accomplished the impossible with this project.”

The AVNetwork staff are storytellers focused on the professional audiovisual and technology industry. Their mission is to keep readers up-to-date on the latest AV/IT industry and product news, emerging trends, and inspiring installations.