if walls could talk

Volumetric Mixed Reality Heritage

“Created for St George’s Hall, Liverpool, in partnership with CAVA, Immersive Storylab filmed 8 minutes of volumetric material, and then demonstrated the many immersive ways this material could be used.


Immersive Storylab in collaboration with Liverpool University’s Centre of Architecture and the Visual Arts (CAVA), Culture Liverpool, Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, Draw & Code, Cinetecture and Dimension Studios developed a ground-breaking participatory and immersive mixed reality experience: “If These Walls Could Talk”.

Bringing together world-leading researchers with BAFTA winning writers, a world-class performing arts organisation and immersive technology experts, the team created a pioneering hybrid spatial experience that allowed audiences to be a part of storytelling.

The location-based prototype was produced for one of Liverpool’s most iconic heritage buildings – the 19th century St George’s Hall, an intrinsic part of Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The experience tells the story of Florence Maybrick, wrongly accused of poisoning her husband. The audience are taken on a journey back in time to experience what it was like to encounter Liverpool’s late Victorian prison and justice system. Set inside the cells and the courtroom at St George’s hall, the experience uses a variety of technologies: Virtual Reality, 3D Projection Mapping, Mixed Reality (Microsoft Hololens), spatial sound and live performance

With the support of Microsoft’s Mixed Reality team in the US, the team also created the world’s first volumetrically filmed (3D holograms) UNESCO heritage experience using Microsoft’s Mixed Reality capture system at Dimension Studios in London.

Peter Woodbridge, producer explains how the experience combines the real space with virtual objects to allow history and the building to be brought to life with virtual characters and sound. In this experience the audience is part of the story, also on trial as they encounter holograms, spatial sounds and stories from the past. The experience takes place across 5,000 square feet of this magnificent UNESCO world heritage building, a real challenge which required pushing the boundaries of current technology. BAFTA award winning writer Rosemary Kay, Director at Immersive Storylab, explains how this creates a greater understanding, when immersed in the experience of being a prisoner in this grim place, seeing, hearing all the other prisoners around them. The experience treated the audience like Victorian criminals as they were led physically from the dank, cramped cells, past the whipping bench, up the stairs and into the imposing courtroom, where they are tried and found guilty, alongside the historically accurate holograms. The team behind the experience have been working on research into spatial storytelling, human performance in mixed reality and augmented reality. To find out more about our partner’s in bringing history to life please visit http://www.cava-research.org and www.dimensionstudio.co

Behind the Scene