Visitors from around the world come to Ellis Island looking for historical information and background on their ancestry. Now, they have the opportunity to experience history in digital 1080HD video with 3-channel audio through the film, “Island of Hope, Island of Tears” in Ellis Island Theater One. Made in the 1990s, the movie originally ran as a 35mm film and was converted to HD in 2001. With recent audio/video system upgrades in Theater One, including a new player and projector, the film looks and sounds even more realistic.
The new system is controlled by Kramer Electronics’ K-Touch. It can deliver content from various sources, including an HD media player, Blu-ray player, and sources connected through VGA and HDMI inputs. The film is on an SD card in the HD media player, and the images are brought to life on a 9-foot high x 16-foot wide screen. K-Touch also controls a surround sound processor and multiple relays for auxiliary equipment and lighting.
A senior AV production specialist at the National Parks Service said this is the organization’s first IP-controlled presentation system. “K-Touch was recommended by a Kramer consultant, who presented its capabilities and discussed the outcome for the NPS,” he said. After reviewing K-Touch, the NPS saw the potential for its use in the theater, and decided to make it part of a pilot program.
The K-Touch System is a Cloud-enabled control solution that controls devices directly over IP. It enables use of any commercially available Apple iOS or Android-based phone or tablet as its user interface, with no requirement for dedicated touch panels or other hardware. All data is stored in a Cloud-based platform and can run on any web browser. A touch-based room control system can be designed using the Cloud screen designer. The free App is available in the App Store and Google Play.
Kramer Electronics technicians worked with NPS technicians to design a customized system for the Theater, generating creative solutions for various challenges. One of the biggest challenges was adapting the system to run on a precise, automated schedule. The presentation needs to run once an hour throughout the day, and requires an automatic start, but government security regulations prevent connection to the Park’s computer network for accurate timing. Instead, a Kramer SL-1N master room controller is used as the time source.
The system now runs unattended for eight hours a day, seven days a week. NPS officials estimate nearly 300,000 people visit the site per year. NPS is planning to duplicate the system in Ellis Island Theater Two in 2016, which is used in conjunction with Theater One during busy periods.