As part of a major overhaul of its main theatre, the Colosseum cinema in Oslo, Norway, wanted to create an unforgettable experience by projecting onto its 32 metre high, 45 metre wide spherical dome.
Built in 1921 and distinguished by its huge dome, the Colosseum is the largest cinema in Northern Europe and the largest Barco Auro Max cinema in the World.
The refurbishment of its ‘Sal 1’ would include a new 22 metre wide screen, 50 new speakers, new seats and décor and a stunning audiovisual lightshow into its iconic dome.
Production company, Nordisk Film Shortcut was tasked with finding the right projection solution for this ambitious project.
Espen Pedersen, from Nordisk Film Cinemas, said: “We had this idea of using the cavernous space above the audience for the lightshow. As far as I know, this has never been done before in a movie theatre anywhere in the world.”
The projectors would need to be installed on a small, hard-to access, rim around the circumference of the dome and project upwards. For this reason, they needed very bright, reliable laser projectors that would require minimal maintenance.
Nordisk Film Shortcut approached Optoma, which brought in its ProDesign team to advise which projectors would be suitable and calculate how many projectors would be needed to blend and cover the whole dome.
Its feasibility study included technical drawings showing the exact location of each projected image to achieve full projection coverage across the dome.
Sixteen Optoma 8,200-lumen ZU850 ProScene projectors, featuring MultiColor Lasers, were installed around the base of the dome.
These WUXGA resolution projectors form part of Optoma’s DuraCore laser range which champions an industry-leading lifetime laser light source delivering a minimum of 20,000 hours in full brightness mode. They feature MultiColor Laser (MCL technology) which achieves superior colour to deliver striking and rich lifelike images with exceptional detail.
Needing minimal maintenance, their airtight optical engines have been independently certified as IP6X and engineered for 24/7 continuous operation.
They offer flexible installation with HDBaseT, four corner geometric adjustment, 360° and portrait orientations and five lens options giving a throw distance from 0.81m to 35.5m. They also have 100 adjustable brightness settings to help installers match the brightness when edge blending multiple projectors.
Vioso blended and warped the imagery from the 16 projectors to become one seamless image around the dome using its patented projector calibration solution. Three small IP cameras were mounted along with the projectors to be able to re-align the projected images if and when they go out of alignment in the future.
With the media server solution “Wings VIOSO”, the fulldome content is synchronised with the theatre’s main auditorium projector to create a dynamic experience where the content sweeps across the screen and up into the dome.
Vioso used fibre optics for the signal transmission to the projectors because of the long cable runs and to ensure there was no delay.
Sven Giersch from Vioso, said: “It was a particular challenge to operate on such a huge surface. But we are proud to have mastered the calibration procedure accordingly and achieve such a high precision of overlap.”
Nordisk Film Shortcut designed and produced all content for the lightshow that would become the signature start for all films in the cinema.
Other elements of the refurbishment included a new 22m wide projection screen. This is 15% bigger than a tennis court and the largest Ultimate Screen in Europe. The screen material reflects 75% of ambient light to enhance the imagery – particularly in 3D. The theatre’s sound system was also upgraded with 50 new speakers and of its 888 new seats, two rows are electric armchairs that can be adjusted at the touch of a button and have USB charging points for mobiles.
The Colosseum invited Cinema Plus customers, press and partners to the grand opening of its newly renovated ‘ Sal 1 at the end of September.
Espen Pedersen said: “It looks amazing! The cinema guests are overwhelmed when the picture in the vignette moves from the cinema screen into the top of the dome.”
Emanuel Züger from Vioso, said: “It was awesome to see the content nicely aligned to the features of the historical ceiling – as if the architecture was made to be a projection screen from the very beginning.”
Vegard Børresen, Optoma ProAV Sales Manager, said: “It looks incredible! The colourful animated content started on the big screen and then exploded right across the dome. Everyone burst into applause. Even though I knew what to expect – this immediate response from the audience sent chills up my spine. The content had a stylish 3D effect making the dome no longer feel like a dome.”
Henry Cummings from Nordisk Film Shortcut added: “Without Optoma projectors at this price, this project would not have happened at all.”
The Colosseum is the venue for all of Norway’s movie premiere red carpet events and listed among the top ten most beautiful cinemas in the world.