Discovery Dock: Mixed Reality 3D Sound Experience

DEVELOPMENT OF ALGORITHM-BASED COMPOSITIONS AND INTERACTIVE SOUNDSCAPES

Copyright Pictures: Peter Böhmer, Discovery Dock and WESOUND

In three sentences

The Discovery Dock is one of Hamburg’s most innovative attractions. Here, visitors explore the port of Hamburg in completely new ways via VR technology, projections and live simulations – in places they would usually have no access to. In close cooperation with the lead agency Demodern, we created a complex, yet immersive 3D sound experience for the tourist adventure.

Development & Production

We spent weeks roaming around Hamburg harbour with our 3D microphone array: we miked up hydraulic risers, climbed aboard container cranes and even teased the sheep on the dykes. All to record characteristic sounds of the harbour. Together with a series of musical motifs, these sounds form the golden thread of the exhibition.

The entrance area of the Discovery Dock lies at the centre of Hafen City, right opposite Steinway & Sons and alongside the Elbphilharmonie concert hall. As a tribute to these classical surroundings, visitors are greeted by Telemann’s Water Music in a special new arrangement for this setting. Recorded by a string quartet made up of musicians from various ensembles and interwoven with an elaborate 3D sound design, this aural experience takes visitors on a journey from the Landungsbrücken [landing piers] of St Pauli to the world of the exhibition: the harbour of today and the future.

One very special factor is the compositional algorithm we developed for the sound system in the space, an algorithm which constantly reinterprets the motifs and sounds anew – depending on shipping movements, tidal flow and visitor behaviour. Thus, every tour has its own acoustic fingerprint which makes the visit unique. The 50-channel 3D loudspeaker system creates an overwhelming soundscape – visitors have the feeling they are standing in a dry dock, the nature reserves or on one of the harbour’s container bridges.

Result

The interplay of state-of-the-art 3D sound technologies and specially developed compositional algorithms fashions a complex, powerful acoustic experience in the Discovery Dock and allows visitors to immerse themselves in the world of Hamburg harbour.

All in all, conceiving and realising the soundscape was a wonderfully challenging project. Thanks to excellent coordination with agency and client, along with our holistic planning concept, the Discovery Dock is now a shining example of acoustic design in multimedia spaces. Which makes us very proud!

Website: https://discovery-dock.de/?lang=en

Credits

  • Client: DuMont Media GmbH
  • Lead agency: Demodern GmbH
  • Sound agency: WESOUND GmbH
  • Film production: WESOUND GmbH / Case Film with footage from Demodern / The Marmalade
With the help of cutting-edge virtual reality technology, projections and real-time data, the audience at Discovery Dock gets to experience Hamburg’s harbour in a playful and interactive manner. Naturally, the listening experience is a central element. WESOUND managed to capture and technically transform the harbour’s sounds in a way that makes visiting the Discovery Dock a truly realistic harbour experience.

Susan Molzow, Morgenpost Verlag / DuMont Media, CEO

Awards

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