Orcas, Seagulls & Penguins … Oh My

July 17, 2009

CHICAGO, July 17 /PRNewswire/ — When a museum like the Shedd Aquarium undertakes a $50 million renovation to one of its most popular exhibits – the Oceanarium – there is no such thing as a small detail. And no one knows that better than one of the many partners that helped renovate the space, Chicago’s Mightybytes media design firm.

Mightybytes was selected by the aquarium to develop an animated video of a South African penguin habitat that would serve as the background to a new children’s playscape area featuring faux glacier ice slides, tunnels and more.

Seen on a 25-by-15 foot screen, the Mightybytes-designed video features orcas, seagulls, two different kinds of penguins and a storm – all in 12 minutes. The project presented a number of interesting challenges. First, masking a rectangular video to fit within a custom rockscape. The second, ensuring the animation aligned perfectly with the actual, on-site rocks and glaciers.

“When you’re working on a project-within-a-project such as this, there are so many variables to work with – it can get really complicated. But that’s also what makes it so fun,” said Mightybytes founder Tim Frick. “We’re proud to have had a part, even a small part, in this exciting renovation.”

In addition to the video, Mightybytes designed and developed two interactive kiosks to further engage children in the Oceanarium experience. One kiosk involves a maneuverable claw children can use to pick up items such as shells and stones. When an item is picked up, the claw reads an RFID tag embedded in the object, which triggers animation on the kiosk screen providing further information. The second kiosk, housed within a small submarine, allows children to push a button for different ocean animals, activating a sonar screen that detects the animal and produces a video. Additionally, Mightybytes developed both kiosks within a one-week turnaround deadline.

“A year ago I never would have predicted we’d be studying how a penguin moves or the finer points of nesting behavior,” said Frick. “But that’s exactly what we love about what we do, there’s always something new.”

After nine months of renovation, Shedd Aquarium’s much-anticipated new Oceanarium is now open to the public.

The exhibit features a Polar Play Zone for kids, the Grainger Beluga Encounter Habitat, a new Marine Mammal Show and Amphitheater, Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Penguins, Sea Lions, Sea Otters and more. Visit www.sheddaquarium.org for more information.

Mightybytes offers high-quality creative media services in a unique environment that blends artistic talent and technical expertise with a client-focused work ethic. The company creates design-driven media solutions for a wide variety of corporate, educational and not-for-profit clients including the Chicago History Museum, John G. Shedd Aquarium, Rand McNally, CareerBuilder and Project WET. Visit www.mightybytes.com for more information.

SOURCE Mightybytes, Inc.

Source: newswire

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