Blockhouse Studios and Epson Pro Series Laser Projectors Brings the Columbus Bicentennial Celebration to Life
November 28, 2021 / By Project Reviews Staff
by Philip Boyle
The Columbus, Indiana area Bicentennial Commission will be planning events throughout 2021, celebrating the people and moments that make Columbus and Bartholomew County unexpected and unforgettable. Columbus is proud of its diverse history, and with the formation of the Bicentennial Commission, it is ready to celebrate that history through shared values, stories, and experiences.
Looking for ways to celebrate 200 years of legacy and culture, the Bicentennial Commission planned a series of twenty-eight separate events in Bartholomew County, Ind., over the year. The twenty-sixth event took place in September. A technological and visual showcase ultimately became an immersive light projection show designed to bring the community together.
The Columbus Area Bicentennial Commission turned to Blockhouse Studios to design, build, and implement the showcase event. Blockhouse Studios leveraged seven Epson Pro Series laser projectors to create: "200 Years Together: Our Stories Illuminated on Fourth Street," celebrating the Bicentennial with visuals that captured the history and culture of the last 200 years. A video of the project can be seen here.
Kevin Winkler, the owner of Blockhouse Studios, spoke about the creation of this unique showcase,
When the Columbus Area Bicentennial Commission came to us with a vision for their illumination event, we knew we could make it special for this unique city. A lot of details went into the visual art for this store window display to make it unique and offer a historical context, including radios, TVs, and clothing that were manufactured in Columbus from each of the individual eras. Because of this, we knew we needed a projection solution that would provide the advanced resolution needed to reproduce every minute detail and even read the text in each of the store windows.
Blockhouse Studios built an ambitious and detailed event designed to captivate and engage all attendees by showing them critical moments from the city and the county's rich and diverse 200-year history. Designed to bring the community together throughout a two-day celebration, this immersive light show highlighting the city and county's past, present, and future through projection used the city's historic Ulrich Building in downtown Columbus as a canvas.
Again, here is Kevin Winkler,
We try to create more of a theater-type show on a three-dimensional structure. Additionally, we produce these shows in very high resolution, which requires more projectors than are traditionally used to cover the same amount of space. But the result speaks for itself – it's an important part of the magic that leaves our audiences questioning how we created it.
The showcase's projection system was the center of this endeavor. To pull off an event like this, Blockhouse required a solid professional projection system offering proven reliability. Epson professional projection has a long history of developing products designed for this very type of showcase. Epson has been at the heart of many showcases that Projector Reviews has written about.
The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art on the Indiana University campus is the new home to one of the most advanced multichannel 4K projection-based installations available at any university museum in the country. When the Eskenazi Museum of Art faced significant challenges with their system, they turned to Epson to help them solve the problem of projecting a high-quality image in a fully lit space.
The Blockhouse Studios team has experience in film, documentary, music videos, and stop motion animations, which they apply to projection mapping to create engaging and immersive stories. To this end, Blockhouse Studios created an intricate and detailed historical account with memorable moments, including giant, almost 3D-like images of local figures and a mix of swirling, dancing "C"s that are part of the city of Columbus' brand that appeared to spill out of the building's windows toward the crowd.
Tobi Herron, Co-Chair of the Columbus Area Bicentennial Celebration talked about the event,
We were looking for an opportunity to demonstrate the rich history of the Columbus area and connect the community in a safe, unique celebration. The creative skills of Blockhouse Studios and the cutting-edge technology (Epson projection) they were able to bring to the project were the perfect combination. Their design and technical delivery of the show were a huge hit. They made something our community will be talking about for years to come.
Epson has a long history of providing projection solutions for just this kind of visual event. In fact, the first time that I heard about Epson projecting content onto a physical structure was when I read Art Feierman's illuminating article on how Epson laser projectors are the go-to solution for entertainment venues and large-scale environments like the Illuminus Light Festival in the image below.
Or the Electric Forrest Festival, where Epson professional projectors literally lit up a forest.
Blockhouse Studios leveraged seven Epson Pro Series projectors for the creation of the bicentennial event. Epson Pro Series projectors are designed for virtually any large-venue application, offering innovative advanced 3-chip 3LCD projection technology, interchangeable lenses, extraordinary image quality, and incredible brightness.
Kevin Winkler commented on his choice of Epson projectors,
We wanted to make this as accessible as possible, and that meant allowing visitors to get close to the building without casting a shadow – which is normally not the case with projection. (With Epson) We were able to do this by getting creative and angling the projectors from across the street, which is another reason we relied so heavily on the brightness and image quality of the Epson Pro L models.
Epson's Pro L series of projectors are part of Epson's most compact interchangeable-lens laser projector lineup. These 3-chip 3LCD projectors offer a native WXGA resolution providing up to 1-million pixels on the screen. Epson® 3LCD projectors provide brilliant lifelike images necessary to pull off an event like the Bicentennial Celebration. These projectors seamlessly provide lifelike projected video so clear it just blends into the overall presentation without causing distractions. The Pro L series provided Blockhouse Studios with 6,000 lumens brush of color brightness and white brightness, allowing them to "paint" an incredibly realistic picture that looked as if people were actually in and on the Ulrich Building. The L series laser light source produces sharp, true-to-life images, which were key to the success of the Columbus event.
Ramzi Shakra, Product Manager, Epson America, Inc., articulated the choice of Epson Pro projectors best,
Epson's laser projectors are designed to allow visual professionals to create memorable events, which is exactly what Blockhouse Studios did for the Columbus community. As visual artists find new, exciting ways to leverage projectors, we are always delighted to see how Epson's technology is used to bring people together for a shared experience.