Camera/Design Considerations For Art Galleries?

I tried the search function but could't find any discussions/articles that mentioned art galleries. Besides basic system design considerations (i.e., lighting, bandwidth, storage, distance) does anyone have any experience working in the museum/art gallery market where they could offer specific design/product recommendations?

I'll chime in one suggestion. The entire inside should be considered a moving target. Walls go up and down, "priceless" items end up on the show floor and in the warehouse. Lighting will get changed often. The most expensive items can be very large weighting in tons or very small weighting only ounces.

I have one tip coming from working with an art museum a few years back: if they're asking for analytics to tell them when someone is touching an exhibit, demo whatever you're thinking will work in place.

The customer I worked with got a design from a museum-specific integrator/manufacturer which promised a lot of things. Those analytics were one of them. We talked to a couple manufacturers to get their opinion on it, and most said it could be done...if we mounted a camera over every 1-2 pieces. But the design called for two cameras per gallery, more or less. Some cases four. So instead, you're looking at covering an entire wall with a camera, and the angle just didn't work, nor was PPF high enough to be properly accurate.

Beyond that, design was fairly simple. It was pretty full coverage in most galleries, with enough resolution to clearly see activity, but not faces, and then cameras on the exits. Those were pretty much there in case of art theft, which is amazingly not just something that happens in the movies. Cameras I've seen in other museums were laid out the same way.

In my experience, art houses love 360 cameras, especially fisheyes.

Generally, its one or two 360 cameras per room to see the entire area at once for 'situational awareness', and then fixed cameras to cover specific areas with greater detail. PPF is lousy for 360s even 15 feet away, but operators can generally see if someone is touching a display or has crossed a boundary line.

The tip about the changing nature of how things are organized and displayed is a good observation. Encourage the idea that repositioning and respecification of camera types is part of the project and should be expected for best results.

As such, finding cameras that can be moved easy may be a problem. A local museum project wanted recessed can-mount cameras in tiles. So whenever they reconfig a gallery, the entire tile with camera already installed gets swapped around.

Here is an older video from Axis showing there older pin hole cameras being depolyed in a museum setting. You might get some ideas from this and you can use the new F series with 4 pinhole cameras.

Start watching at 1:33

This is a timely discussion, as I am starting a design for a college art museum. I gave up on analytics 5 years ago when their performance seemed sketchy. But now that technology has advanced, I want to give it another try; I plan on using object missing analytics to protect important art pieces. Any experience deploying analytics in a gallery, that folks would like to share, would be appreciated.

Setting aside the technology of Object Missing, there is simply the issue that museums are a constantly moving target. Covering the area for situational awareness is difficult enough. It can be a great tool along with line crossing for reaching hands, touching fingers, kid barfing over mothers shoulder...(yes, it happens).

The question about deploying it goes back to the never ending changing of the layout in most galleries, museums and such as shows come and go. Be careful of the time invested in the upkeep. That becomes the true cost that end users don't want to pay for.

Ask them how often they re-arrange the layout.

Thanks guys, this is all fantastic feedback. I've not done museum or art gallary camera installations before so the input is something I can consider for the pre-planning meeting next week.

I have been involved in a few, and the main comment is that they usually won't allow a traditional looking camera in the exhibit spaces. Too obtrusive. They want something that is discreet and blends in to the environment. Fisheye cameras often meet this need becasue they could be mistaken for a smoke detector. I think that pinhole cameras can also be used IF they have a way mount/hide the camera without damaging the exhibit. Often there is large moulding around the ceiling. They want to keep the aestitics of it, but you may be able to hide a camera there and run the cable through it.

Also, WDR is important - lots of shining lights pointing at the exhibits, and shiny reflective floors.

If you can mount a small PTZ, they like to watch the exhibits during the day, and then schedule to watch the doors/windows at night.

we have sold the mobotix Q25 and s15 for a large gallery in Georgia and they have had good results. They like the s15 as its easy to hide and has two imager units.