The Strategy

In 2012, The Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) had worked with its partners, 900lbs of Creative and DelCom, to bring the original Run Exhibit Experience to fruition at the Perot Museum of Science and History in Dallas, Texas. The award-winning 55-foot exhibit resides in the Sports Hall and has been the most popular exhibit over the years. Competitors get a chance to race a life-size animated T-Rex or live-action athletes like Jamaal Charles and Derrick Johnson through large-scale projected visual content.

An immense amount of R&D and problem-solving went into the original execution, ranging from a spider cam to cable cams bolted into the cement. Budget played a crucial role. Ultimately, 900lbs settled on a multi-camera setup which would end up being the most feasible solution for the true 1-to-1 experience. A case study for this project can be viewed on our website HERE.

As word of the experience’s success spread, 900lbs and SMM partnered again to bring a second Run Exhibit to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA, containing a similar mix of 3D animated characters and live-action athletes, like Philadelphia Eagles wide-receiver Jordan Matthews, and the world-famous Philadelphia Phillies mascot, the Phillie Fanatic. Our case study for this project can be viewed on our website HERE.

Continuing on the success and popularity of this experience, the Science Museum of Minnesota reached out to 900lbs to help design and produce a new Run Exhibit in a newly renovated science hall, called “Sportsology.”

The Experience

The unique combination of physical and digital interactivity has already helped Sportsology become one of the most popular exhibits in the popular St. Paul-based Museum. Some of the technical specs of the project included 4K BlackMagic URSA cameras creating a massive overall resolution that was more than 20,000 pixels wide. The infrastructure of the exhibit includes a series of blended Panasonic laser projectors and a UI-focused touch panel. Museum visitors can see their finishing time compared to their competition along with stride lengths and reaction times. The post-production process utilized a variety of visual effect techniques to place the athletes in our track environment. We stitched and blended the edited camera footage to make one seamless imagery composition of the athletes racing down the two-lane track. Our team then designed a photorealistic animated matte painting for the background. We then chroma-keyed the athlete footage and composited it in the matte painting environment. The finishing touches included lighting effects and color-correction to make it pop. 900lbs worked with a diverse range of seven athletes including: U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team star, Christen Press, Minnesota Vikings breakout star wide-receiver, Adam Thielen and the popular Minnesota Twins mascot, TC Bear.