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The Interactivity Behind the Lincoln Heritage Museum, Part 2

May 15, 2014 9:22 AM, With Bennett Liles


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And that can be as effective as lighting as far as setting the period environment for this. Now when it came to testing all of this, did you do it a little at a time? I would think that testing this whole thing would be the real fun part.

Well, it’s quite a process. It’s like a war, basically, and you have an attack plan of how we’re going to do this and you have your little generals that you say okay, this is your area and you attack this part of it. And so that’s a funny analogy, but it is pretty much a tactical thing. You can’t just throw it all in and then decide you’re going to test it. You have to be real methodical, especially with wire runs. Just on the audio/video we had well over 5,700 feet of wire within the system. So you have to do it very methodically and you test your connections as you go. And then after you get it all hooked up, then you start testing your programming and your lighting versus your audio. It’s quite an extensive process. [Timestamp: 6:04]

And probably a lot of the adjustments are in the timing of everything.

Exactly. Exactly. And the timing, you have a good idea of how you want it to be timed, but until you get in there and actually walk through it, you don’t have an idea of what it’s going to be until you get there.

And you have plenty of video in the exhibits. Who did all of the audio and video production for this?

Well, we have a company called Native Sun Productions out of Indiana. They shot the reenactment footage of Lincoln and company for the Ford’s Theater and the boarding house videos, and they recorded the V.O.’s for the first-person storytelling along the way. And then we did postproduction and animation along with integration of all the A/V. [Timestamp: 6:48]

And the sound outputs for this would in some cases have to be pretty small, but you didn’t actually use speakers for all of it.

We incorporated several different technologies. You know, surround sound in general, and in surround usually you have a sub-woofer too, so the speakers weren’t small by any means. They weren’t huge, but small groups of 12 to 15 was what we were shooting for in the different areas, so we incorporated that technology. And we also incorporated transducers – aural exciters, basically – and turning objects into sound-producing material sort of like the musical birthday cards, the greeting card technology. There’s a little transducer in there and when it’s hooked up to the paper it turns the paper into a speaker. [Timestamp: 7:38]

It seems like there are a whole lot of possibilities in where you could go with that.

Yeah. We used the walls as actual sub-woofers in many instances.

And they can have a power outage just like anyplace else, so if that happens everything just comes right back up and you’re back in business pretty quickly.

That’s the good thing about these types of units. Just a power loss is not going to be too tough to recover from at all, unlike a PC or that type of thing. These things boot right up really fast. It probably takes about two minutes for it to all boot up and get going again. [Timestamp: 8:09]

The museum is open now and it looks like a success. What sort of things has Eidson Studios got coming up next?

There’s some interesting stuff we’re looking at. We’re working on some solar-powered nature trail audio kiosks where you go along a nature trail, you touch a particular part of this informational kiosk. We’re not using any buttons or anything like that, once again using the proximity type of sensor. It’s all solar-powered and it plays a little bit of audio, and we’re using those transducer – that same type of technology to turn the informational panel into the speaker itself. So that’s one of the things we’re working on. Some other nature trail type things, QR codes where they take their smart phone and read the QR code and it’ll play a short video for whatever they’re looking at. That’s kind of some things we’re working on right now. [Timestamp: 9:03]

Oh yeah, you can really get into some things once you start working their smart phones into it. Well, it’s been fun hearing about this one. Alan Eidson from Eidson Studios in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the Lincoln Heritage Museum at Lincoln College. Thanks for telling us the story, Alan.

Thanks, Bennett. Thanks for having me, and it’s a pleasure and it’s always good to talk about this stuff. It’s a lot of fun.

Enjoyed having you with us for the SVC Podcast with Alan Eidson of Eidson Studios. Show notes are available on the web site of Sound and Video Contractor Magazine at svconline.com. Make sure and be here with us again for the next SVC Podcast.



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