In 2016, The Getty Museum contracted Earprint to develop an immersive audio tour for their standing Louis XIV exhibit. The exhibit is full of art and artifacts from the Sun King's court, and the Getty was eager to use multi-sensory experience to enhance visitor's understanding of the art and artifacts' use and history.
With this in mind, Earprint developed a binaural walk, using various audio components to create a 3D audio environment for visitors to walk through as they viewed the tapestries. Earprint's immersive sound design deepened the visitor's sense of Louis XIV's original environment.
To begin the project, Earprint conducted a "binaural shoot-out" to test which microphone would produce the most clear 3D audio experience. After testing many top microphones, we determined that the Sennheiser KU100 was best for our purposes. This unique microphone is placed inside of the ears of a styrofoam dummy, capturing sound in a way that perfectly mimics human hearing by tracking differences in timing, volume, and pitch between the ears. Sennheiser was kind enough to lend The Getty and Earprint a KU100 microphone for this project, and this partnership took Earprint's immersive sound design to a new level.
All of the sounds for the binaural walking tour were recorded on-site in the Getty's exhibit gallery. The gallery was only available for two days for recording, so Earprint took advantage and brought in a flurry of sounds (including fire, dancers, musicians, and clocks) to record them in-place and in relation to the visitor's placement. This "world-izing," or building of a unique aural environment, recreated a sense of place for visitors to the gallery.
Because of this unique approach, visitors to the Louis XIV gallery are able to hear a fire crackling in the fireplace as they walk through the room, feel surrounded by dancers when they reach a certain point, and hear clock sounds coming from a non-functional Louis XIV clock. These immersive sound environments deepen visitor's experience of these historic pieces and fully submerge them in the environment of 17th century France.
Because of the success of the Louis XIV exhibit, Earprint assisted The Getty the following year in creating an audio tour for their Eyewitness Views exhibit. This exhibit focused on eighteenth-century viewpoint paintings, which were originally commissioned by important men to capture magnificent and dramatic events. Visitors were invited to come experience the artworks as eyewitnesses to these wonderful spectacles, a perspective that was enhanced by Earprint's rich sound design.
The audio tour that Earprint created for the exhibit included sounds that immersed viewers in the painting's environment, as well as character voices of people who were actually at the event. As a direct result of this project, Earprint is now working to develop dimensional design tours of individual paintings. These experiences would allow visitors to walk into paintings in 3D by immersing them in the sights and sounds of the environment in the painting. We are eager to see where this project goes and thrilled to have been part of such innovative exhibit design with The Getty.