Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, once the home of Henry Francis du Pont of the famous du Pont family, has encouraged visitors to explore American history and culture, as well as stroll the striking estate landscape, for almost 60 years. While the museum has always offered guests a variety of activities — such as rotating exhibitions and tours — the Winterthur team wanted to elevate the guest experience further and look at new ways to utilize the property’s outdoor areas for its iconic holiday season.
Since this would be the first time the museum has worked with 3D projection mapping technology, it needed a high-performance, highly reliable projector that was easy-to-use, pre-programmable and self-sustainable. The museum also needed a compact, lightweight projector hat would blend into the surrounding landscape.
Looking to bring visitors historical and realistic scenes of the du Pont family’s holiday preparations, Winterthur partnered with 3D projection mapping specialist, PaintScaping, to make the home, which is the fourth largest in the United States, the backdrop for a mesmerizing holiday spectacular. PaintScaping is known for high-profile projects, including the world’s first 3D mapping on an operational rocket, in Cape Canaveral.
To ensure historical accuracy, Winterthur shared archival photos and historical accounts from the estate for PaintScaping to replicate the scenery of the du Pont’s preparation for Mr. Harry’s Party. To bring the story to life, PaintScaping deployed Panasonic’s PT-RQ50KU 3-Chip DLP SOLID SHINE 4K+ laser projector, the world’s smallest 50,000 lumens 3-Chip DLP SOLID SHINE projector with native 4K+ resolution, projecting the party scenes onto the front of the 96,582-square-foot house.
The PT-RQ50KU projector allowed PaintScaping to simplify the projection mapping process by covering the entire front façade of the building, eliminating the need for unnecessary projection blending. The projector also provided Winterthur with a solution that required a minimum amount of oversight for its team to easily operate and manage onsite.
“The 50K projector is the strongest we’ve ever used in all our mappings, and the image was absolutely sensational,” said Philippe Bergeron, CEO, PaintScaping. “The colors were crisp and saturated and the two advanced warp capabilities – one internal, and one external, — something that most other projectors do not have, helped to match the curve and intricacies of the projection canvas with extreme and precise accuracy.”
The compact size of the projector also enabled Winterthur to build an unobtrusive housing structure to conceal the projector from the visitors’ eyes. The PT-RQ50KU projector features sealed optics and a filter-less design which meant maintenance was not needed throughout the duration of the event, which took place December 1 to December 12, 2020.
With the help of Panasonic and PaintScaping, Winterthur was able to create a unique, engaging and safe holiday experience for visitors.
“Panasonic helped us to meet Winterthur’s high standards,” shared Charles F. Montgomery Director and CEO, Winterthur. “The projection was so clear and crisp, (not relevant to the projector) providing guests with both a unique and elevated holiday experience. Having that level of quality is a great match to what Winterthur provides its visitors.”
PaintScaping’s first foray into using a Panasonic projector was highly successful and helped enable its storytelling to truly come to life on the building. “Though this was the first time we’ve worked with a Panasonic projector, it will not be the last,” states Philippe Bergeron, CEO, PaintScaping.
Winterthur had been looking to diversify its offerings and create new experiences for guests visiting the museum during the holiday season, with conversations starting as early as August 2019. With social distancing mandates put in place in early 2020, the Winterthur team was well on their way preparing for an outdoor show that would provide a safe and immersive experience for families.
Recreating life on the Winterthur estate, from the holiday preparations to the party itself was a popular endeavor that resulted in a striking rendition of a 1920’s 12 Days of Christmas show. The projection covered a large part of the façade, including the windows, with visuals of jugglers, children playing, people dancing, magicians and more. All authentic to the 1920s du Ponts. Each scene was specifically created and included to showcase the unique architecture of the estate and the personal story of the family who once lived inside.
PaintScaping created the rendition of Mr. Harry’s Party using 3D projection mapping that appeared to pop off the outside walls of the house. Inspired by the photos and historical family stories of life at Winterthur in the 1920s, the team brought the immersive show to life.
To begin, PaintScaping built a 3D model of the Winterthur estate, allowing them to replicate shadows that affect the real-life 3D projection, enabling them to make adjustments of shadows and spacing to make the visuals truly realistic. Once the model was completed and the story written, PaintScaping needed to find the perfect projector to fit Winterthur’s high-quality standards. Simplicity, easy operation, and lumens were key, with Panasonic’s PT-RQ50KU 3-Chip DLP SOLID SHINE laser projector meeting all the necessary requirements, especially eliminating the need to use multiple projectors — blended or stacked.
The PT-RQ50KU projector’s compact, all-in-one body brings significant workflow advantages with simplified transportation, quick and flexible installation and adjustment while its vibrant color capabilities and reliable operation can deliver up to 20,000 hours of maintenance-free projection.
The lamp-free design also proved to be beneficial quality, preventing the projector from overheating, which is often experienced with higher-lumen projectors. With the self-sustaining and pre-programmed qualities, Winterthur’s IT team simply had to press a button for the projector to perform flawlessly throughout the full program, running on a timed loop every night, over a four hour time period from Dec. 1 through Dec. 12, 2020.
Bringing an iconic story in a new and unique show has enabled the museum to think about how it can use the grounds and open new possibilities for more immersive experiences. “Panasonic allowed us to think about how we can expand even further and utilize the other 900 acres of the estate,” shared Jennie Brown, manager of audience engagement, Winterthur.