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Minnesota State Unveils 17-Projector Digital Canvas
Video Services Inc. uses Dataton Watchout to create spectacular 360-degree 23,640 x 1,200-pixel display at Minnesota State University.


September 25, 2012 By Tom LeBlanc

“Digital canvas” isn’t a term that has worked its way into mainstream lexicon. Those familiar with the concept of using projection technology to decorate space probably don’t think of a university as a likely candidate.

Minnesota State University (MSU), however, provides an eye-opening example of technology’s enhanced role in creating standout aesthetics. Mankato, Minn.-based integrator Video Services Inc. (VSI) installed a 360-degree video projection system driven by Dataton Watchout for the university’s Centennial Student Union ballroom.

Related: Integration of Technology & Design

Dataton distributor Show Sage provided Video Services Inc. with support on the project, which includes 17 Sanyo PLC-ZM5000 projectors combined to provide a display canvas totaling 23,640 x 1,200 pixels. Watchout is used to control content feeds for each projector, edge-blending multiple images together from up to 28 different digital and analog sources, according to Dataton.

The venue is used as one large, immersive event environment, but can also be divided into up to five smaller spaces. The versatility requires the digital display canvas to be particularly adaptable.

VSI president Terry Dahl, acknowledging that demand for these types of applications are on the rise, says the Watchout solution “works very well, looks great” and “is multi-functional with acoustic sound absorption capabilities.”

The challenge for integrators, Dahl recognizes, is to create solutions that meet the aesthetic demands of digital canvas clients. In VSI’s case, “we specialize in custom solutions and have worked with architects and interior decorators.”

On the MSU project, the projection imagery was designed by KAAS Wilson Architects and AV/IT consultant Elert & Associates.

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Tom LeBlanc - Editor-in-Chief, CI,
Tom has been covering electronics integration since 2003. Prior to being named editor-in-chief of CI, he was senior writer and managing editor of CE Pro. Before that, he wrote for the sports department of the Boston Herald. Migrating to magazines, he was a staff editor for a golf publication and an outdoor sports publication. Follow him on Twitter @leblanctom.
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