Merging’s Ovation brings Imperial War Museum exhibit to life

London’s famous Imperial War Museum opened its new First World War Gallery in July, seeking to give visitors a realistic representation of life in the trenches. An international competition was organised to select the sound design company to make this goal a reality, and with its enviable track record of significant projects from the BMW Museum in Munich to the Stategrid Pavilion at the Expo Shanghai 2010, Idee und Klang were the ones selected.

To create the desired level of immersion, a soundscape was to be crafted, with effects sounding from many different parts of the display. To this end, a proven playback system was required which would respond to cues from a Medialon Show Controller and interface with video servers from 7th Sense and Dataton. The clear choice was the Merging Technologies Ovation.

Sound designer at Idee und Klang Ramon De Marco was able to understand these technology requirements very easily: “We were lucky to see a demonstration of Ovation some time ago and it seemed to tick the boxes. We know Merging well since we are both from Switzerland and my partner was one of the first to buy a Horus converter. I have now had a chance to look a little deeper into the product and I think it is the perfect product for this type of project. It is great not to be limited by the technology.”

Ovation even allowed the freedom of a usual work approach; the team usually records and assembles programmes in Pro Tools, and as there was no time to become familiar with Pyramix – an integral part of Ovation – the same approach could be taken. Once the track was finalised, it was easily transferred to Ovation and the cues and outputs programmed.

As with any public project, budget constraints prohibited more ambitious ideas in favour of sufficient audio quality and reliability in a system that will be working constantly during the museum opening hours. The Ovation Native pack was consistent with the budget and was able to easily interface with the rest of the components specified by the systems integrator.