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BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, India

Barco lights up centerpiece installation during spectacular show

BAPS, a socio-spiritual organization that was established in the early 20th century, is committed to ‘caring for the world’. Affiliated with the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council, BAPS has a worldwide network of 3,300 centers and a total of 55,000 volunteers who are active in moral and cultural, medical, educational, environmental, social, tribal and spiritual activities.

Just recently, BAPS’ Swaminarayan Akshardham complex in Gandhinagar scheduled a breathtaking, once-nightly water show, provoking India’s ancient story of Nachiketa. Barco took up the gauntlet to provide the high-quality equipment required to project images onto a 40 x 21 meter screen made of water droplets – in the open air!

Headquartered in India, Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a widely-networked social, cultural and spiritual organization. Besides providing over 100 types of social and humanitarian services, BAPS also educates people at several cultural centers, including Swaminarayan Akshardham in Gandhinagar. The Sat-Chit-Anand Water Show is a new addition to this complex - a unique event that aims to reveal Indian wisdom through spectacular multimedia effects. The centerpiece of the show is a giant screen of water droplets, powered by Barco.

The Sat-Chit-Anand Water Show tells the ancient story of how the nine-year old Nachiketa receives the knowledge that made India a land of enlightenment. 4,000 nozzles, 2,000 lights, over 100 pumps, 49 meter-long tongues of flame spreading over the water, several fireballs and powerful lasers, accompanied by a 10.2 surround sound system, make this an incredibly spectacular event. The centerpiece of the stage is the 40 x 21 meter projection screen onto which HD images are projected. This required a challenging visualization solution.


Meeting explicit and demanding requirements

Vipul Vaghela, Technical Director of BAPS: “This is a unique installation as it involves projection onto a ‘living’ screen made of water droplets. The required intensity and brightness is much higher than in normal circumstances for the same throw distance and screen size. It was especially challenging to ensure a really dark background, while making all colors stand out brightly – something only a projector with a very high contrast ratio can provide. This made the requirements for the projection system very explicit and demanding, so we scanned the market for a first-class provider to make this come true.”

High-quality products and services

BAPS contacted a number of vendors, including Barco. “We have been using visualization solutions or a couple of decades and Barco has always been a preferred vendor for BAPS”, Vaghela continued. “Consequently, we knew what services we could expect, which was a big plus. The quality of Barco’s solution and the price were other distinct advantages.


Challenges overcome with enthusiasm

Barco came up with just the right proposal: two stacked Barco FLM-R22+ projectors, visualizing video footage in HD along with graphics and visual effects on the water screen. Although this setup is already challenging in the best of environments, it is so much more difficult when the show is outdoors, which makes the water screen very susceptible to wind conditions. “Despite the hallenges, the teams from Barco and BAPS felt very confident about the proposed solution. And they were proved right. The set-up made it possible to have a true-to-life color projection with a high level of both brightness and contrast. This installation really is the centerpiece of the show, amazing the audience every night,” Vaghela continued. “We particularly appreciate Barco’s enthusiasm when tackling new projects. They are always trying to raise the bar during challenging installations and look for new, innovative applications for their projection systems.”

Prompt in assisting

About 300 BAPS volunteers have worked totally free-of-charge for many months to have the show reach the desired result. For them, it is crucial that all the equipment used is of the highest quality and that vendor support is available round the clock, to ensure the show can go on at any occasion. “Barco provides us with a good service level,” Vaghela said. “They are always available, even though – thanks to the user-friendliness of the solution – the installation was done by a BAPS in-house team. Every time we contacted customer support, Barco has been prompt in assisting.” Ritesh Gadhia, Project Manager of BAPS added: “All the logistic and any other arrangements with Barco went very smoothly and Barco stood by us from day one to ensure quality service in this area too.” “We can truly say that all the project objectives have been met,” Vaghela concluded.