The Keep Military Museum POW Cell


Panasonic Projection

BrightSign Digital Signage

The Keep Military Museum in Dorchester approached GV to update their exhibit of a First World War POW locked in a cell. Originally, the display simply consisted of a mannequin laying in a bed within the cell. While this served the purpose of presenting the cramped, confined conditions, the Museum wanted to bring it to life in a manner that was more engaging to its visitors.

Small space, big impact.

The small but fascinating project involved using AV to tell the story in a different, more appealing way using moving content. GV’s Exeter team came up with a solution involving a projector that was fitted out of view, meaning that when the public looked inside the cell they could see the POW wandering around his confinements and contemplating his decisions.  

While the project was relatively small, the impact needed to be huge. It will come as no surprise that the space within the cell was limited, but this needed to be carefully accounted for when considering the throw distance of the projector. In order for the presentation to look realistic, it was imperative that the solution provided featured the cell’s occupant at life size height and that the content filled the back wall of the cramped, confined space. To achieve this realistic effect, the team worked closely with the content creators, taking into account each element that would be necessary to sustain the illusion of a prisoner locked inside the room. GV advised that they film the content within in the cell itself and as near to actual size as possible, maintaining the resolution to ensure the display was crystal clear.

Taking all of this into account, this ensured that the POW was presented accurately and that the content could be easily mapped to the walls of the exhibit. Together, GV and the director worked to ensure that the film was presented in a manner to ensure it didn’t break the illusion in any way. One of the key components of this involved ensuring that the subject’s feet needed to remain flush to the floor when the footage was projected – if he were a few centimetres off the ground the effect of the whole exhibit would be shattered. 

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Smart use of AV.

A significant element of the project was in specifying the projector to fit both the space and provide the required throw distance. While a 4:3 aspect ratio has generally fallen out common usage, the XGA Panasonic model was perfect for this square room as any wider image would have rendered the subject too short.

What makes this installation so impressive is how so much was achieved with so little. Although the AV used was certainly of the highest quality, there wasn’t really a lot of it - the projection was provided by Panasonic and the content fed to it was handled via a BrightSign Digital Signage player. However, it’s the application of that AV and the content that makes the result so much more impressive than the sum of its parts. GV provided a solution that was low cost, but provided those specific desired results via clever usage of the technologies involved - ensuring a result that was akin to a solution that could have been easily incredibly expensive. The project left the customer extremely happy and ready to work with GV again for subsequent projects.

The cell projection is up and running and is very popular with visitors, both old and young alike. Prison cells always seem to intrigue people! However, the movement of its occupant really gives our visitors a much more authentic feel for what it might have been like for someone who was locked up in the cell, much more so than the bloodied mannequin that was in there before!

Laura Jane gardner

Curator, The Keep Military Museum

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A happy customer and a proud team.

While the customer is understandably pleased, the GV team are absolutely delighted with the project. This small installation stands out as a prime example of what you can do with a simple solution when it’s well-executed. We provided a system that didn’t cost the earth and made for a truly eye-catching and fascinating exhibit.