Medialon Travels Back In Time

Six Medialon Managers are playing a unique role in controlling a highly interactive and immersive network at Paléosite, the Interactive Prehistory Center in St. Cesaire, France. A new concept and an innovative approach to exploring prehistory, Paléosite invites visitors to the 10-acre park to go back in time to witness the Big Bang and meet our Neanderthal cousins.

“The challenge was to implement an automated system integrating various audiovisual techniques which dialogue via a network,” explains Roland Roy, branch manager of AXIANS, Paléosite’s integrator. Among the technologies converging at the attraction are video, lighting, sound, databases, automation, and interactive kiosks. Six Medialon Managers automate and pilot these technologies which tie into 18 video projectors, 200 square meters of image projection, and 40 IP network terminals.

Paléosite is built on the site of the 1979 discovery of the fossilized remains of a young Neanderthal woman, dubbed Pierrette, who changed scientists’ perception of Neanderthals from brutish subhumans to our close relatives who survived in Europe until 28,000 years ago.

When visitors enter Paléosite each receives a “Paléopass,” a magnetic card on which information about the person is recorded--gender, age, language, and more--making it possible to tailor the visit to the visitor’s profile. As visitors proceed from room to room, they are guided by a succession of lighting and special effects, mixing to animate real sets and featuring synthesized images, panoramic screens, and 3D projections on mirrors. Paléosite’s goal? To bring prehistory to life even though few actual prehistoric artifacts are exhibited.

In the Morpho workshop visitors explore the physical characteristics of the Neanderthals through animations that enable them to scan and morph one of our ancestors. They can measure their strength by arm-wrestling a virtual Neanderthal and collecting virtual artifacts as if they were real archaeologists. Throughout, voice, data, and still images merge with light, sound, videos, projections, and animations.

“Paléosite is a very unique environment,” points out AXIANS project manager Daniel Saulnier. “It requires unique competences to create an audiovisual architecture connected to ticketing with Paléopass and the Internet. The amount of AV equipment involved added to the challenge.” Paléosite represents 1,500 hours of engineering and 6,000 hours of integration and installation--an achievement in which Medialon Manager is proud to play a role.

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