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CASE STUDY: Meteor Crater Interactive Discovery Center, Arizona

Located in the northern Arizona desert, Meteor Crater is the best-preserved meteorite impact site on Earth—nearly one mile across, 2.4 miles in circumference and more than 550 feet deep. The Meteor Crater Interactive Discovery Center prepares visitors for their look at the site with 24 interactive displays and exhibits detailing the origins of meteors and their encounters with our planet.

Recently, Portland, OR-based Formations updated the underlying hardware that delivers the AV content and enhanced some exhibits with new videos and upgraded presentations.

“The Center took a big jump in refreshing its underlying technology,” said Christopher Williams, AV producer/engineer with Formations. “The modernization included Alcorn McBride equipment: a DMX Machine, Digital Audio Machine (AM4), A/V Binloop HD with three reproducer cards, V4Pro show controller and ShowTouch 7-inch touch panel interface. We wanted equipment that was easy to use and update, and Alcorn’s intuitive WinScript programming language gives us that capability.”

The Alcorn McBride V4Pro replaces an older show control system from another manufacturer that was “much more complicated” to operate, says Williams. The V4Pro powers exhibits and their monitors, touchscreens, as well as other interactive exhibit components.

The V4Pro controls the changing light effects, starts the heater for a hot air burst, and triggers a sudden warming of the chamber in the new “Put Yourself at Ground Zero” experience, while the A/V Binloop HD plays back video content. Williams used the DMX Machine and DMX Ramps to make the lighting effects in WinScript. “The RGB lights just make the chamber feel more dynamic, and the color and intensity of the effects track the events in the video fairly well,” he said.

The V4Pro also provides DMX control of 20 points of pulsing lights on the world map in “Impact Earth,” which shows other impact sites across the globe, while the A/V Binloop HD plays back news and animations of the Chelyabinsk meteor impact.

Alcorn McBride’s A/V Binloop HD also plays back the attract loop and main video program for “Crater Perspectives,” an exhibit featuring artifacts housed in wall-mounted cases and portrait busts of famous scientists which is displayed on a 55-inch LCD. The DMX Machine replaces the exhibit’s old lighting controller; DMX control of lighting levels brings up display case lights to highlight artifacts and illuminates the busts.

The Digital Audio Machine (AM4), controlled by the V4Pro, now plays a streaking comet sound on demand, giving staff better control over the sound effect that had formerly been looped on a CD player.


Alcorn McBride V4Pro

The V4 Pro is a highly reliable frame accurate controller. Its Timeline feature offers a flexible way to program events on Pro Controllers, allowing users to add markers, drag and drop events, add triggers, and group related events for fast editing. 

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