How Canon PTZ Cameras and projectors showcase the beauty of biodiversity

From T-rex bones to out-of-this-world meteorites, find out how Naturalis Biodiversity Center uses Canon PTZ cameras and projectors to get closer than ever to the beauty of nature.
Museum, Staff, Dinosaur, Nature

Learning never stops

As one of the top five natural history museums in the world, Naturalis Biodiversity Center in The Netherlands welcomes nearly half a million visitors a year.

Its mission is to record all life on earth, while providing a combined educational experience of seeing and doing for an audience of all ages. It won European Museum of the Year 2021, and with around 42 million specimens, it is home to one of the world’s largest natural history collections.

Client - Naturalis Biodiversity Centre
Location - Leiden, Netherlands


    After moving to a new, bespoke building, Naturalis needed to improve its livestream capabilities to complement the custom-built network infrastructure. The equipment in the previous museum was too old-fashioned and rigid. Furthermore, the global pandemic forced the institution to close. To ensure they could still share world-class research with an audience at home, they needed to upgrade their hardware. The in-house production team wanted an easy-to-use 4K UHD solution that could offer the professional quality it deserved.


    One of Naturalis’ consultants had previously proposed several Canon projectors. Those HDBaseT projectors were supplied by Ata Tech, with Canon being the preferred digital imaging supplier. When the museum needed new PTZ cameras, Naturalis worked with its partner ALV Productions to facilitate a package for the new Canon PTZ cameras, as they were pleased with the previous service and product quality they received from Canon.

“ We pan our PTZs quickly, so the fast and accurate Hybrid Auto Focus is essential to maintain a professional shot even in low light ”

Camera, Depth of field, Mounted

Products that were used to achieve this

Unlocking the power to amaze

Naturalis believes in the power of ‘verbazen’ to educate – meaning ‘amaze’ in Dutch. Whether online or in-person, or both, the production team seeks to tell stories about the natural world in the most fascinating ways possible.

“We were attracted by the flexibility of NDI in the Canon CR-N300 PTZ camera, which enables all the footage to be kept independently and sent anywhere in the venue network. It means I can show what I want, where I want – whether that’s on the screen for online viewers, or on the big TV here in the Lab,” says Ashwin Singh-van Grevenhof, engineering technician at Naturalis.

“This control protocol lets me tell more engaging stories for our audiences, wherever they are. Now I couldn’t imagine a world without it. It’s brilliant – picking up audio through NDI is so easy,” he adds. “The flexibility is ideal for me. It reproduces the exact picture I want. So, it’s definitely a game-changer and the reason we took the rig apart and rebuilt it from the ground up with NDI in mind.”

Ashwin adds: “We also pan our four PTZs quickly from scene to scene, so the fast and accurate Hybrid Auto Focus is essential to maintain a professional shot even in low light.” To make life even easier for his colleagues, he enjoys automating image presets on the CR-N300 for whoever is behind the joystick. He also uses a Skaarhoj controller which connects seamlessly with a variety of PTZ cameras including Canon.

Camera, Stage Lights, Set
Control Room, IT, Staff, Monitor
Cameras, Stage Lights, Set, Museum, Dinosaurs

Not just cameras

Beyond the CR-N300s, Canon provided Naturalis with a full end-to-end digital imaging solution with the use of HDBaseT projectors, including WUX5800Z and WUX6600Z. For a museum with multiple galleries, the immersive use of projectors is invaluable for seeing the bigger picture of nature at large.

“What a lot of museums do is show still pictures of dinosaurs. But what’s more interesting is to see the way they move, which gives a whole new dimension. When you see a T-rex skeleton and then you see a projection of the dinosaur move, you can compare the bone structure, the muscle formation and see how the entire anatomy functions. The projections bind it all together in the imagination,” says Ashwin.

Inside the museum’s gallery titled ‘Death’ lies another impressive application. “The ‘circle projection’ is an immersive 360 experience, where we use five projectors stacked at a very short range to cover the entire cylinder. How sharp and diagonal you can point them without losing picture quality is amazing,” comments Ashwin. “It’s a one-of-a-kind solution, only possible with the Canon projectors.”

Diagram, Photos, Cameras


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