usomo at the Festung Xperience in Dresden: exploring a medieval fortress with the interactive 3D sound system in a multimedia audio play
The Festung Xperience is an immersive multimedia staging of the medieval fortress in Dresden. The huge rooms of the fortress expand across 1500 sqm for the most part underground, directly by the river Elbe. In the building that was originally conceived as a defence bastion and armoury, there are today no furnishings or other objects that could be displayed. It is the empty architectural space itself that is being staged as an exhibit by means of state-of-the-art audiovisual technologies. TAMSCHICK MEDIA+SPACE developed and realised as general contractor for Staatliche Schlösser, Burgen und Gärten Sachsen (SBG) an innovative and experiential permanent exhibition, which stages the history of the fortress as an audiovisual, walk-in audioplay with film projections, motion design, light design and sound design.
3D sound and motion design fill entire spaces with innovative storytelling
The feat of filling such a large space with light and sound and therein telling an entire story is achieved primarily by the combination of 3D-animated motion design, cast onto walls, ceilings and floors by projection mapping, with the interactive sound technology usomo. For the audible content related to the specific rooms and projections – language, music and sound effects – a complex playlogic corresponding with the route of the visitors was programmed. The sound is synced with a partially interactive 720-degree projection at the Grosser Kanonenhof (Large Cannon Court). Numerous individually moving elements from this projection were accentuated with sounds that are animated spectrally in sync with the movement. Additionally, usomo syncs sound with special effects such as a fog machine and a flash light at the Kleiner Kanonenhof (Small Cannon Court).
While scenically designed films play out on the dark masonry, bringing to life historical moments and associative situations of the location, the innovative sound experience unfolds on the headphone-based audio system usomo without any of the visitors’ doing. Thereby, it looks and sounds like one were indeed a witness of real scenes. One does not only hear an audio track or sees a film projection but enters a three-dimensional audio play that tells a fascinating story in an empty space.
Dynamic and precise synchronisation of people, media and space
Visitors wander through the courts, corridors and vaults, guided interactively through the headphones by the voice of the narrator and other figures, as well as of specially composed music, of abstract sounds and sound atmospheres. The sound design and the motion design are a coherent texture that seems to fluidly morph in relation to the movement and the line of sight of the visitors. In this way, 25 filmic and audio zones are traversed that are in themselves designed dynamically – just like in real life scenes are entered, heard and seen spatially. The digital sound sources reproduce the sounds steplessly and with correct perspective, louder and lower depending on the distance, transform them in congruence with the constantly changing hearing angle. This precise synchronisation of people, media and space maximises the perceived authenticity of the virtual staging.
One of the biggest particularities of the Festung Xperience is the spatial experience of the content through the hearing that holds the same level of importance as the seeing does, not a subordinate one. In that, the visitors are not required to actively work for learning and unlocking information, but they are entertained in a playful way, which is likely the very reason a lot of new knowledge about the building is accessed, anchoring it in long-term memory. The Festung Xperience conveys substantiated content in a high-quality and high-tech format and is simultaneously attractive for various target groups. Because of the spatial media design, it is the ideal scenographic format for an edifice that is otherwise difficult to draw attention with and has little spectacle to offer on its own. By the interactive and immersive media, it is being upgraded to a unique attraction.
Client and curation Staatliche Schlösser, Burgen und Gärten Sachsen (Schlösserland Sachsen)
Lead agency / general contractor TAMSCHICK MEDIA+SPACE, Berlin
TAMSCHICK MEDIA+SPACE tasks Media-based scenography: creative direction, creative producing, conception, development of script, audio drama and music, media design, media production, media technology, light design, fittings
Sound design and composition Not A Machine with TAMSCHICK MEDIA+SPACE
Spatial sound system usomo by FRAMED immersive projects, Berlin
usomo tasks usomo sound system, spatial audio production, consulting on the interactive sound concept and playback logic
Photos © Schlösserland Sachsen / Ben Walther