1961. A time when cell phones and home computers didn’t exist and you had only three television networks from which to get your daily dose of entertainment and news. It was also the year that Sony introduced a new way to communicate to the masses with the Sony Scope projector.
The Sony Scope projected images from one Sony building onto the wall of another 100 meters away. The images were enormous, measuring 24 by 14 meters.
Content was typically public announcements (Things like “Beware of fire” or “Drive carefully”), manga animation, and Sony product announcements.
The Sony Scope is significant because it was Sony’s first attempt at tackling giant screens, which were a novelty back then. And in some ways, it was a success!
The projected images mesmerized passers-by and captured media attention; they were sometimes even featured in newspaper reports from time to time. Projections were carried about three times a week for three hours after night fall for around three years.
The projectors required specially coated slides, a powerful 4 kilowatt xenon arc lamp and a 70mm prominar movie lens. The light source was cooled by water circulation. The only drawback was that the projector weighed a whopping 1 ton.
Although a technological feat, it was too big to become viable as a business. Still, we’ve got to appreciate it as it was an innovative way to spread messages to the general public and it’s also the predecessor to today’s giant screens.
So as you go to the movies this weekend (seeing “The Avengers” anyone?!) and perhaps visit a theater featuring a Sony 4K projector, you can give props to the Sony scope.
Why? Because it’s a Flashback Friday. That’s why.