Engineering Space 360 – South Korea’s first spherical projection theater

Gwangju, South Korea, July 2017

Brief

Lucerium National Science Museum needed a projection system for a theater of the future that would allow visitors to enjoy an immersive 360 environment without any VR headsets.

Execution

To provide viewers with an uncompromised experience, we engineered and installed a 12-projector system auto-aligned and driven by a single Screenberry Media Server. The installation creates crisp video projection around, above, and below viewers as they stand on a glass bridge and watch.

Impact

The spherical projection theater received over 60 media imprints. Tech Insider’s video featuring Space 360 got 14+ million views on Facebook. The theater was nominated for two highly-respected awards for its engineering excellence – AV Awards 2018 and Inavation Awards 2018.

Client

METASPACE

Brand

Gwangju National Science Museum

Capabilities

Projection System Design & Installation, AV Engineering, Media-Servers & Software Development

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www.frontpictures.com
www.frontpictures.com
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kostenko-ceo

Yuri Kostenko
Front Pictures CEO

“The spherical projection theater creates new possibilities for education and entertainment. It can ‘teleport’ viewers to any place on Earth or in the Universe with its unbelievable immersive effect. It was a great pleasure for us to be a part of this futuristic project, which truly embodies the innovative spirit of South Korea. We also believe it is a significant step towards the future of cinematography.”

The sphere – which is 12 meters in diameter – is located next to Lucerium National Science Museum in Gwangju. Construction started in September 2016 and finished in July 2017. The sphere opened for visitors in September 2017.

Space 360 can be considered a true VR theater of the future. When visitors step inside, they find themselves on a transparent, glass observation bridge, which crosses the sphere’s interior. A crisp 360 video projection around, above, and below the viewers fully immerses them as they stand and watch. They literally dive into a virtual world without having to use VR headsets.

Unlike in a conventional digital planetarium, where projectors are located along the dome’s perimeter, the options for placing thеm in a full sphere are substantially limited. One of the challenges was to devise a layout that would avoid shadows being cast by the observation bridge, minimize openings for the projectors, while, at the same time, maximizing the resolution and brightness of the projection. It was also important to position the projectors in a way that would prevent them from shining light into the viewers’ eyes. Taking all the factors into account, Front Pictures team decided to use 12 Barco PGWU-62L WUXGA projectors and locate them around two entrance doors.

Front Pictures used the proprietary Screenberry Media Server for video playback and auto-alignment (stitching images from different projectors together). The system is capable of playing any fulldome or VR content. The immersive effect is enhanced by 11 channel audio.

Credits
Gwangju National Science Museum – client.
Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. – sponsor.
Front Pictures (Ukraine) – projection system design and installation, A/V engineering, media-servers and software.
Redrover (South Korea) – system integration, screen manufacturing, and content production.
EL Architects (South Korea) – construction design.
Baekje (South Korea) – construction. 

Engineering Space 360 – South Korea's first spherical projection theater

Engineering Space 360 – South Korea's first spherical projection theater

Engineering Space 360 – South Korea's first spherical projection theater

Engineering Space 360 – South Korea's first spherical projection theater