Enhancing Experience Design with Media

Bryan Miller, Media Exhibit Producer

“I look at visitor reactions to determine the success of one of my media pieces. While they watch, are they fully immersed in that environment and feeling the emotion of the piece?”

’Media’ is a broad term that can apply to immersive films, large-scale projections, audioscapes, touch-screen interactives—we do all those at Solid Light. We tend to think of ‘media’ as anything with moving pictures or rolling sound.

How do you know if you need media for your experience? Sometimes you don’t—panels of graphics and interpretive copy might say everything you need. But often, content lends itself to a filmic treatment for greater emotional impact or to get the point across.

Crafting Media Takes Collaboration and Time

Creating a well-thought-out media piece that fits into and enhances an overall experience takes a lot of time. We must get the script right, cast actors, hire a crew and the right director of photography, find the location, schedule the shoot and then edit the piece. There might be CGI [computer-generated imagery] work in post-production. We always start with a treatment, which we turn into a script containing detailed visuals as well as narration and dialogue.

I am fortunate to work with David Crites, our immersive media specialist. David is a nationally recognized film editor, visual effects artist, composer and audio engineer—a true pro. A certain mind-meld happens between us on projects: I can go to him with an idea, and he can make it happen or suggest a better one. David typically goes out on our shoots, which benefits us when he’s editing. He understands why we’re shooting certain scenes, where they will fit in the story, and recognizes great takes when we capture them.

Media Tested Here to Avoid Surprises

Solid Light prototypes media pieces and the immersive environments in which they will be shown. In our offices, we build small and full-size models to test projection on unconventional surfaces as well as how the media piece ‘feels.’ For pieces with multiple screens, like a giant 9-monitor wall, we assemble the ‘wall’ to test the equipment and see how the images work together visually and emotionally. Clients come here to give us feedback on the delivery method and any changes needed in the piece. By the time we install the finished media in your space, you have interacted with the piece multiple times and there are no surprises.

Bryan’s Advice:

To help us get your media piece right, pay close attention to the script as it develops, and also to your preview of the finished piece: Does it have the full story, or is it missing an important element? How does it fit into the overarching story of the experience?

Bryan Miller, Media Exhibit Producer, has worked at Solid Light for four years. When he’s not creating media for exhibits, you might find him enjoying time with his wife and sons, browsing bookstores and comic book shops, or having a drink in his favorite Irish pub.