DWP NashZoo 3 - DWP LIVE

AV Network published an interview with our founder & president, Danny Whetstone, about DWP Live’s involvement with the Nashville Zoo’s “Night Visions” installation.

Click here to read the piece or continue on below.

Epson Projectors, Strand Lighting Get Visitors In the Mood 

Lighting and projection mapping help set the stage at the Nashville Zoo.
The “Night Vision” program at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere uses projection mapping and a musical score to increase visitation at night.

No matter the colors used or brightness levels set, lighting is an ideal way to evoke a variety of emotions and provide a more immersive experience within larger AV installs and projects. Everyone is looking for ways to bring foot traffic back to their locations—and the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere and the Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News, VA, are using innovative lighting projects to bring new life to their attractions.

Klip Collective, a visual art firm that specializes in hyperreal projection, lighting, and audio design, collaborated with the Nashville Zoo on a concept to increase visitation at night, creating a unique opportunity for engagement while most of the animals were asleep. The concept quickly became known as “Night Visions—A Wild Display of Light and Sound,” an immersive celebration of art and nature through the use of vibrant imagery, projection mapping(opens in new tab), and immersive audio.

Nashville-based event technology provider DWP Live was brought on board to take the idea from concept to reality, helping to manage the install process, selecting the best technology, and providing ongoing support. The program will continue to run Thursday-Sunday nights through mid-July.

Sights and Sounds

As the sun sets and the animals settle into sleep, a combination of light and sound create a breathtaking spectacle. As visitors make their way through the different areas of the zoo—including the Entry Village, Festival Field, Expedition Peru: Trek of the Andean Bear, and the Jungle Gym Playground—pathways, trees, and bodies of water are transformed through the imaginative use of projection and audio for an experience that seamlessly bridges technology and storytelling. Using an upgraded audio system consisting of outdoor rated Crown amplifiers and QSC and JBL speakers, a musical score created specifically for the project adds an extra element of immersive engagement amongst the animal-themed imagery.

Epson Pro Series laser projectors, including four EB-PU2010B, three Pro L1755UNL, and six Pro L20000U, use 3LCD technology to create lifelike images with outstanding brightness and vivid color depth. The projectors were selected for the project due to their size, which allows them to be hidden better during the day and are unintrusive to the visitors and animals, as well as their lower maintenance costs.

“One of the biggest challenges with these kinds of installations historically is budget for maintenance,” said Danny Whetstone, founder, DWP Live. “Lamps are expensive, and you run a projector for 800-900 hours and then you have to replace the lamp. With the new laser technology, you have got a 25,000-hour laser lifetime on the light engine, and that’s really allowed more opportunities to develop for these kinds of projects from a budget perspective and not have those incredible maintenance costs.”

To protect them from the elements, the projectors are installed in IP65-rated housings that are waterproof and weatherproof. All control elements, including audio, media servers, networking, and video distribution, were also housed within their own AV system racks in an environmental enclosure. None of the enclosures are located within animal exhibits, but are still able to be hidden in a way that allow them to go unnoticed by visitors.

Klip Collective was also responsible for all elements of the projection mapping, including the creation of content, renderings, and warping and blending of content. The firm spent eight days on site using its own custom warping and projection software through TouchDesigner to design content ranging from small creatures emerging on rock walls to beautiful, colorful projections appearing through a waterfall.

This is the first big integration at home for DWP Live, and Whetstone was thrilled to have the opportunity for their friends and families to be able to experience this unique install alongside them. “It is a real joy for us to have this opportunity to support Nashville directly as a Nashville-based company, and to be able to do something right here at home that supports our local community,” he said.