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At the heart of the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs, is a new Hall of Fame, completely re-envisioned for the 21st Century, and anchored by a 360° cinematic experience, ‘What It Takes: Journey to the Hall of Fame.’ The immersive multimedia aspect of the experience takes visitors behind the scenes and into the center of the story, as it explores the extreme level of skill, talent, devotion and effort it takes to earn a coveted spot in the Hall of Fame—an honor awarded to fewer than 1% of the sport’s participants.
Donna Lawrence Productions, responsible for the 360 experience, teamed with Gallagher & Associates (G&A), who provided exhibition design and interactive media, and Electrosonic, responsible for technical direction and systems integration. As well as Available Light and Explus, to create a one-of-a-kind experience that draws people of all ages into the beauty, drama and excitement of Thoroughbred racing.
While the focus of the Museum is on history, Electrosonic uses technology and interactivity to engage a new generation of visitors who see quality of experience as important. The Hall of Fame pushes the boundaries of technology to create a multi-projector, multi-screen 360° immersive experience.
An immersive multi-media cinematic experience created by Donna Lawrence Productions features original footage shot at racetracks and farms throughout the US. Multiple 4k projectors cover interior walls, and project onto 2 ‘roll drop’ central columns consisting of 4 retractable screens each. Custom show control systems seamlessly deploy the central screens, the reveal of the 250 linear feet of surrounding 360° walls and integration of interactive monitors into the show.
The film builds to a crescendo as the audience begins to see and hear video of Hall of Fame inductees encircling them on all sides. Seamlessly integrated into the projected portraits on the surrounding walls are nine oversized touchscreen monitors. Visitors are able to interact with custom multimedia content including more than 100 videos and 2000 images and discover new depths of information about any of the 459 members of the Hall of Fame.
The Race Day Gallery introduces visitors to the essential elements of a day at the races. A lush soundscape adds detail and ambiance to the experience through the use of traditional calls and sounds from the track.
The Museum wanted to create the leading Hall of Fame in the country, while helping a new generation of visitors understand and appreciate the story and experience of Thoroughbred racing. To achieve that, they recognized the importance of using technology to immerse visitors in the atmosphere and action of the sport through the sights and sounds of the race course behind the scenes. They also wanted visitors to understand what it took for individuals to achieve the highest honors in the sport by telling their story and providing in-depth information.
Electrosonic transformed the Hall of Fame space into a compelling multimedia experience through creative audiovisual design and engineering. Immersive, interactive technologies fully engage the audience in the story. Electrosonic was responsible for technical direction and detailed engineering, as well as audiovisual design to ensure the technology would deliver the creative vision. Remote monitoring and preventative maintenance ensure the installations would continue to operate reliably.
The unique format is a sensory experience that brings the world of Thoroughbred racing to the audience in a way never experienced before. The fusion of architecture, storytelling and technology is helping the Museum to attract a growing, more diverse audience, and further establish Saratoga Springs as an important location in Thoroughbred racing. The experience brings the long, proud story of Thoroughbred racing to a new generation, helping to broaden the sport’s appeal.