Okay, seriously — how cool is our AV industry that a seemingly small AV component plays such a major role in creating immersive experiences that trigger visitors to feel like they are part of a SciFi, fantasy, or horror film? Right?
Wētā Workshop Unleashed (opens in new tab) is an exciting new ‘part film set, part creative workshop’ attraction housed in the Sky City Hotel of Auckland City, New Zealand. Integrated by Toulouse Group, a New-Zealand-based audio-visual consultant, the visitor attraction showcases the innovations of Wētā Workshop, the industry-renowned makers of props and visual effects for an impressive array of films that includes Lord of the Rings (opens in new tab)Avatar (opens in new tab)and Bladerunner (opens in new tab).
The resulting experience is an explosion of creativity, mayhem and color that blurs the lines between reality and fantasy through smooth content management from the BrightSign players. Following a ‘red carpet’ entrance, visitors are directed through nine distinct zones, each matching a genre of films being created within a fictional studio. All the BrightSign (opens in new tab) players are locally networked. The push of a single button by a staff member issues commands to multiple players that send either the video or audio and lighting elements to multiple projectors, a surround sound loudspeaker system, and a theatrical intelligent lighting system.
BrightSign Players Deliver a Customizable Media Experience
Five BrightSign HD224 and 65 BrightSign LS424 players power the experience, each with a different role in the installation. A further 35 BrightSign LS424 players are used for audio-only throughout the site.
Commenting on the project, Jeff Hastings, CEO of BrightSign, said “We’re delighted that BrightSign players are powering such a fantastic visitor experience. It’s always exciting to see how installers apply the players to their installations, and Toulouse Group is no exception. For example, using the GPIO inputs on the BrightSign players can trigger the media via a mixture of buttons, levers and other mechanical devices. Using the GPIO inputs in this way is very unusual in digital signage installations, but Toulouse uses the players in this way in close to half its installations, including Weta Workshop. ”
Marc Simpson, managing director of Toulouse, said “We use BrightSign players for the majority of our visitor experience installations due to their inherently reliable nature. The client brief for Wētā Workshop was fluid, and we needed a responsive system that allowed us to work swiftly to meet the creative vision in situ. BrightSign players provided a robust platform that supports swiftly changing programming. Firewalls keep the network secure and allow staff at Head office to update content off-site. With almost guaranteed uptime, remote monitoring is a formality and maintenance is very seldom required. ”
Wētā Workshop co-founder and creative lead, Richard Taylor said, “The experience wowed audiences from the moment it opened. Each person’s visit is unique depending on what they choose to interact with: which button they push, which lever they pull or which sensor they trigger. BrightSign allows this fully customizable media experience to be delivered in a repeated, reliable way, until the final credits roll. ”