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Uncovering the Stories behind One of London’s Best Kept Secrets

15. May 2016
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Centre Screen has recently been appointed to work on an exciting project for The Postal Museum, opening in 2017. Mail Rail was an underground railway network, running beneath the streets of London between 1927 and 2003. The system carried mail between Paddington and Whitechapel, and at its peak it transported 4-million letters a day.

As part of The Postal Museum – a new heritage attraction revealing five centuries of social history surrounding one of Britain’s most iconic services – Mail Rail will open to the public for the first time in Spring 2017, with a brand new motion ride experience and exhibition area produced by Centre Screen. As visitors travel through underground tunnels, large-scale immersive projections and evocative soundtracks will transport the visitors back in time to wartime Britain and the heyday of the 1920s. Centre Screen will be working with The Postal Museum and Haley Sharpe Design to capture the story of this hidden industrial treasure.

D&AD Festival 2016

3. May 2016

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D&AD exists to stimulate, enable and award creative excellence in design and advertising, and in April, they took over Shoreditch’s former Truman Brewery for three days of creative excellence…right on the doorstep of our London Studio. Our Graphic Designer, Joel Hepworth @Jerralerra, threw himself right in there…

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Wondering through the door on the second day of the inaugural D&AD festival – after some polite small talk with the lovely people helping out with wristbands – I could feel a sense of genuine excitement. I was good to go…armed with a strong coffee, a youthful enthusiasm to see everything (most likely the caffeine) and my festival app, which helped me plan where I wanted to be and and also integrated my multiple social media apps which I was about to flood with pictures and random shit my brain could think of.

But first, I took the time to roam around a little and admire the space that had been put together so extremely well by the people at D&AD. The exhibition hall was brilliant and packed full of extraordinary work! I would have been more than happy wondering around that room for the entire day.

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What followed was a ridiculously busy day, starting with a great talk and a refreshing approach from Kate Dawkins @Ask_at_kid_new.

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I then listened to a fantastic talk by Sulaiman Khan @Kinectricity on the Brewery Stage who claimed ‘quote of the day’ with

“Never be afraid of introducing yourself. The worst that can happen is they say f*ck off!”.

…a fine piece of advice for anyone!

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I then spent 10 minutes looking like a complete idiot in a photo booth, but as always, did it with a massive grin on my face. After some lunch, Shoreditch sunshine and beers, I wobbled down to listen to what Vincent Morisset @vmorisset had to say, finding the promise of ‘interactive wizardry and a dancing French-Canadian’ too great to resist! The talk was inspiring and thought provoking, to say the least. The dancing, entertaining!

Mark van der Heijden @markvdheijden had some amazing experiences and world views to share having travelled as ‘The Backpacker Intern’ (read his story, thebackpackerintern.com) to 48 countries across 7 continents. Seriously check out @wanderbrief, it’s going to be f@*&ing HUGE!

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My day ended back where I started on the main ‘Adobe Stage’ to hear from the brilliant heads of @4creative Chris Bovill and John Allison @jinka. A great approach from two creative minds that have been working together for 20 years and consistently smash it on a day-to-day basis. They put this down to a few key reasons that they shared with us…my personal favourites being ‘MAKE IT WNORG’ and ‘BE A CREATIVE TERMINATOR’.

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I was exhausted by the time the day ended, but felt creatively charged. Energised and excited to plow head first back into my work…and a hard drive full of self initiated projects, sat patiently at home, waiting to welcome me like an old friend.

Bringing History to Life for Dunfermline’s new museum & art gallery

8. April 2016
Bringing History To Life For Dunfermline’s New Museum & Art Gallery

March has been a fun and busy month of historical period filming here at Centre Screen, as production continues on AV and interactive media content for Dunfermline’s exciting new Museum and Art Gallery.

During our four-day stay at The Big Shed, we recreated sets spanning the centuries and brought historical characters to life to recount the fascinating stories behind Dunfermline’s ancient and recent history.

From Robert the Bruce, King Charles and Queen Anne of Denmark, to local characters from the 1920s, 60s and 90s, our production team’s passion for all things period made for a very enjoyable week, however we were interested hear what the curatorial team at Dunfermline Museum and Art Gallery made of the whole escapade. We spoke to Anna MacQuarrie, who joined us from Dunfermline Museum and Art Gallery, along with fellow curators, Lesley Botten and Lesley McNaughton…

What was your favourite part of the week? 

In general it was fascinating to see how the whole process of putting together a film works. From the costume department, to hair and makeup, the technical equipment setup, to the different crew roles on set and the variety of different things to consider. For example, how technical the lighting process was to convey a certain time of day or atmosphere, was very interesting.

What surprised you the most?

I was certainly surprised by the sheer number of people it takes to do it. But when you see how much there is to think about to make something look exactly how you want it to, then you can understand why there are so many technical roles on set.

What did you learn from the experience?

It was really nice to be able to ask questions as we were going along about what was happening and why certain things were done a certain way, to achieve a certain result. I’ve certainly got much more of a working knowledge of set protocol and systems now.

What was your favourite costume and why? 

Even though we had these fantastic historic costumes, my favourite costume was still the 1960’s era character of Lynn McAllister, (a working mum  portrayed in an era of ever increasing gender equality). It was such a transformation for the actress with the addition of a period wig and dress. Queen Anne was also a favourite, again due to the transformation of the actress from her modern appearance to very ornate, late-16th Century period dress, make-up and wig. The character of King David I of Scotland was another favourite costume, due to the fact that there isn’t a great deal of historical references to him. It was difficult to pin down a specific look for him, however the period tunic and cloak of a wealthy monarch provided by expert costumiers and a stunning early medieval crown really brought the character to life. It gave a brilliant overall impression for a historical individual with a relatively unknown appearance.

Who was your favourite character and why?

My favourite character was definitely King David I of Scotland. I didn’t know that much about him and with such a great performance from the actor portraying the early medieval monarch I really found myself immersed in his story. I found myself really rooting for him. Queen Anne of Denmark was another favourite due to an excellent performance from the actress playing her role. I think for my colleagues and I as well, the 1920’s era Housewife character invoked quite an emotional reaction, as did the historical character of King Robert the Bruce with a very impassioned and emotive performance from the actor.

What would you do differently next time?  

Being the first time we’d commissioned a project of this type we were all very apprehensive about making sure that the props used were all historically accurate, and I think that was something I’d want to be more involved with leading up to a similar shoot in the future. However once on set, and seeing how amazing the props looked on camera (all sourced from period props specialists), I found it very reassuring. Particularly the Centre Screen team going to the lengths of recreating 1990s-era curry boxes from scratch and 1960s tinned tomato tins really helped convey a sense of the era.

Was there enough cake to eat? 

There was definitely sufficient cake! Enough for the whole of Manchester!

The museum is being developed as part of the Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries Project,  funded by Fife Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Carnegie Dunfermline Trust. Fife Cultural Trust will operate the new facility when it opens in Spring 2017.

Simon Lucas, Assistant Producer, Centre Screen Manchester

VR World Congress Highlights

15. April 2016

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Over the past 18 months we have been researching and testing a multitude of Virtual Reality experiences and more recently developing our own demo, showcasing immersive films from projects, such as St Paul’s Cathedral and Stonehenge Visitor Centre, within 3D spaces.

We think there is a huge opportunity for the cultural sector to benefit from an emerging technology that allows users to be transported to a different period of time or ‘hard-to-reach’ locations, such as the depths of the Pacific Ocean.

If David Attenborough’s First Life at the Natural History Museum or British Museum’s VR weekend last year wasn’t enough to convince people that VR isn’t just for gamers and tech enthusiasts, the VR World Congress in Bristol earlier this week should do.  

Apart from the incredible amount of technology on display in the exhibitors’ hall there were host of informative talks from people already firmly wedged into the VR community.

Here are 5 highlights from VR World Congress…

1. Keynote by AMD Vice President 

Roy Taylor, Vice President at AMD, was the keynote speaker who kicked started the event. His insight from a hardware point of view was valuable but it was some of the broader points he made about VR:

Forget the rectangle and say ‘hello cube’. We are so used to rectangular experiences on a flat screen but we need to become more familiar with a cubed experienced.

There needs to be widespread co-operation for VR to be successful. VR is just a glimpse at the moment. Users don’t crave the tech yet.

2. The wide range of hardware on display 

From Oculus Rift to Samsung Gear VR the VR World Congress had everything for attendees to try. Any organisation considering VR development should be aware of the different hardware and what each headset offers.

The star of the show was the HTC Vive, which uses sensors to map your physical space. This allows for body tracking as well as head tracking.

3. VR doesn’t need to be an isolated experience 

This is something that has and will continue to come up for clients within the cultural sector. It is up to companies such as ours to create experiences that allow for more than one user. This could be the use of a tablet device that helps guide the VR user or an additional screen that is on display for the benefit of the audience.

4. “Decision makers must use VR” 

This was a quote by James Valls at Rebellion Games. Although he works as a Senior Producer within the games sector, this advice is true to any sector or company developing VR. In addition to decision makers, different teams within the company should also be trying VR – it’s all part of the user testing process.

5. Women in VR panel 

Unfortunately this was at the end of the day so it didn’t get the best turn out but it was an interesting discussion on the position of women within VR and the tech industry.

The panel consisted of Samantha Kingston, Virtual Umbrella, Sarah Jones, Coventry University, Liz Mercuri, Game Developer, Marisol Grandon, Department of International Development and Sophie Smart.

Hammerhead VR had an open conversation about the growth of female VR groups and what to look out for from VR in 2016.

CS talks Virtual Reality in Museums

15. March 2016

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We recently hosted a seminar to a number of students and staff, at Manchester Met University, about the use of Virtual Reality within museum and heritage sites.

The technology is still novel to the museum sector and we want to share our knowledge and understanding as we develop new experiences and learn about the complexity of using such technology in open, public spaces.

Get in touch if you would like to discuss a VR project.

@CentreScreenUK

 

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