KIRKWOOD, Mo.—What might be the next best thing to discovering nature outdoors? Perhaps experiencing it on a larger-than-life video wall at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Powder Valley Nature Center.
The nature center has recently completed an extensive audio-visual upgrade in their 250-seat auditorium. The main attraction is a video wall comprised of nine 55-inch LED screens that link together to create one giant image. The video display is 4K resolution and capable of bringing nature to life in an immersive way.
“The technology is just incredible,” said Nature Center Manager Tamie Yegge. “It almost has an Imax-like feel.”
Yegge said she believes the new display matches more closely what audiences have come to expect in modern day cinemas, Imax venues, and newer home entertainment systems. It is also capable of meeting future demands with its 4K resolution video compatibility.
“It complements our mission to help Missourians learn about nature,” Yegge said.
The display has the practical advantages of being sharper and brighter than the previous projection system as well, which makes text more legible and the display easier to see even with the auditorium lights on.
Other updates include Blu-ray playback capability and the ability for an operator to control the entire system remotely, including lighting, from a single iPad. The system has also been upgraded to accommodate 12 Assistive Listening Devices to aid those with hearing impairments.
The new system also sports audio upgrades, including speakers with cutting-edge steerable beam technology. This allows sound to be distributed to the audience in a more efficient way without unwanted echoes, evening out the volume and making the sound more intelligible throughout the auditorium.
According to Yegge, Powder Valley is the first of MDC’s nature centers to receive this AV makeover; however, the rest of the state’s nature centers will eventually follow.
Audiences will get to experience the new video wall and sound system for the first time Friday, June 24 during the John Nilsen concert. Nilsen, a popular composer/musician from the Northwest U.S., will perform his nature-inspired music live along with nature images of MDC Photographer Noppadol Paothong. For more information about the Nilsen event, go to http://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZZ6.
“We’re really looking forward to rolling this out,” Yegge said. “It should be quite a show.”
Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center is located at 11715 Cragwold Road, near the intersection of I-270 and I-44 in Kirkwood.