Art, True to Life

April 16, 2014
The 300-seat Menschel Hall in the Harvard Art Museums will feature a digital cinema projector that offers higher contrast than most other projectors, making it ideal for looking at images of art.

For three decades, Nick Browse has been a consultant for Harvard, advising on and creating audiovisual systems throughout the university. His latest project, designing all AV systems in the Harvard Art Museums’ new facility, features some of the most cutting-edge technology on campus.

Working with Ian Callahan, technology support specialist in the museums’ Digital Infrastructure and Emerging Technology (DIET) department, Browse has designed state-of-the art equipment for every conference room, the Art Study Center, the lecture halls, and even the Calderwood Courtyard, giving staff excellent options for meetings and presentations. While Browse’s scope is the entire facility, Menschel Hall and Deknatel Hall stand out. Each room is equipped with three professional-grade digital projectors that will advance teaching and learning for Harvard students. (During weekdays, Harvard College will administer the lecture halls, which will be devoted to Harvard classes in all departments.)

“Most of the classrooms at Harvard have older, LCD technology,” said Greg Morrow, technical manager for multimedia projects with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “The newer displays use digital light processing (DLP), a reflective technology that offers higher contrast ratios. With DLP, for example, the color black is no longer gray, but truly black.”

The central projector in the larger, 300-seat Menschel Hall is designed for cinema, which means that in performance terms, it offers a higher contrast than most other projectors. It will allow faculty members to view and compare works of art with a much more discerning eye.

Instructors will be able to “conduct left and right projections simultaneously, so that they can compare and contrast artistic images with exact precision,” Browse said. “It will show true-to-life, true-color images. These high-definition projection systems were chosen for their color performance.”

Having worked on the project since 2010, Browse said it was exciting to see the systems being installed. “Working with talented designers and installers in a very collaborative way is always a great experience,” he said. “None of us could accomplish any of this without operating as a strong team.”

  • of Three high-performing digital projectors have been installed in both Menschel Hall and Deknatel Hall.