The Vaults / Disney
The Vaults is London’s home for immersive theatre and alternative arts. Their mission is to collaborate and conspire, embracing artists from all walks of life to come together and inspire others. Set in a maze of disused railway arches under Waterloo station in London, they encourage those that have a natural affinity to the unusual, the daring and the unknown. Working in partnership with Disney, the Vaults set about creating a live theatre project based on Disney's world famous Fantasia.
Be able to work with 600+ users simultaneously
The Vaults production team approached Recursive to assist them in delivering a real time audio system driven by beacon technology which would allow guests to freely wander through the immersive theatrical environment whilst being delivered a real time Fantasia soundtrack fully synced with the dancers and actors within each space. The system needed to be able to work with 600+ users simultaneously in a very challenging environment of Victorian underground tunnels with a busy rail network running overhead, and allow on screen content to be accurately driven based on the users location. Being a live event, the system had to work each and every time for each guest to ensure everyone had their own unique experience. No small challenge!
Switching of audio at precisely the correct time based on the users journey
Several major challenges became apparent during the design of this system. The main two were tracking people's positions within a very challenging environment full of metal and the EMF interference from the busy London railway above and the transmitting and switching of audio at precisely the correct time based on the users journey through the theatrical sets, often occurring more than once in any given space and in a densely populated environment. To transmit audio to the chosen audio device, Recursive proposed the use of an audio over Wi-Fi device that would allow audio to be streamed over a wireless network directly to each mobile device. We worked with the Williams Sound Hearing Hotspot product, continuing our development work from the Qatar National Library project in order to solve this challenge. Custom directional Beacons were designed and deployed to enable the users exact location within each room to be determined to ensure that they received the correct part of the soundtrack at any point of their journey. A content rich media delivery was also required which could push HTML based content in real time based on the users location.
Recursive was instrumental in ensuring each and every visitor was able to enjoy their visit.
The bespoke software developed by Recursive was instrumental in ensuring each and every visitor was able to enjoy their visit. As they walked through the theatrical experience, the system ensured the correct audio channels were sent via the extensive WiFi network. The system first determined the position based on information received by the visitors iPod touch from an extensive network of carefully configured and calibrated bluetooth beacon. Bespoke binaural audio developed and recorded for the event by renowned sound designer David Gregory was transmitted to users over a dedicated WiFi network. Recursive worked with the network specialist to configure the network, to ensure the audio was delivered with close to zero latency to ensure it was synchronised with live performance and video playback in each space. Audio and Bluetooth networks were run via the CMS developed by Recursive specifically for the project, allowing real time administration over the system. Recursive are proud to have played a part in bringing this show, which was extended beyond the initial 6-month run to life.
“The Vaults at Waterloo, is a valiant and imaginative attempt at taking the essence of the 1940 classic and creating a unique, individual and immersive experience from it with the aid of im-pressive binaural technology."