In the Hong Kong Science Museum (HKSM), a unique exhibition about Egyptian mummies opened on 1 June. This exhibition, consisting of hundreds of objects and six original Egyptian mummies, has been given on loan by the British Museum for a period of four months. The exhibition attracted over 30,000 visitors in the first week and can already be regarded as one of the museum's most successful exhibitions of all time.
In order to illustrate the life of the old Egyptians, the HKSM asked Globe Creative from Hong Kong to develop additional multimedia programmes in collaboration with MCW / creative agency. Our concept team went to work on this assignment and came up with various different concepts. In the end, we were able to develop the following two concepts.
Projection Mapping – Journey to the afterlife
One of the mummies on display is a woman known as Nestawedjat. She was found in three beautifully decorated sarcophagi. The drawings and hieroglyphs on the sarcophagi reveal Nestawedjat's identity and the visual representation of her intended journey to the hereafter, the life eternal.
These images inspired us to create a projection mapping of 12 metres wide and 3.5 metres high in order to illustrate her stories. To achieve this mapping, we designed the wall with the 3D objects (sarcophagi and pillars), joining forces with journalist and historian Sarah Lazarus and Globe Creative to shape the story. Based on the drawings and stories on the sarcophagi, we developed the storyboard and the animation team got started.
The entire space, including 3D objects, was recreated digitally in 3D to test the animation and coordinate it with the client.
After months of intensive work, we installed the entire production in Hong Kong with the support of the local AV party, which had prepared the installation of three projectors and a Watchout system perfectly. This projection mapping is the first thing which visitors experience when they enter the exhibition and creates the perfect mindset for viewing all the wonderful objects on display.
VR-experience – Virtual Tomb Adventure
For the second experience, we wanted to take visitors on a journey into an ancient Egyptian tomb in order to provide a context for all of the objects from the exhibition. We felt that an exclusive VR experience would be the best possible way of seeing what it would be like to visit a tomb. However, we naturally wanted a credible back story as well.
We came up with the idea of following a young archaeologist, known as Yan Yan, at the point when she enters a previously undiscovered tomb. She is interviewed in the desert of El Medina for an archaeological TV show, after which she puts on her special VR helmet. This helmet has a 360° VR camera mounted on it which allows visitors to follow her live on her journey of discovery, if they put on their own VR glasses.
In collaboration with Globe Creative, Sarah Lazarus (research) and Janwillem de Kok (scenario), we then transformed this concept into two scenarios for a pre-show and a VR Experience.
In order to create this experience, we first produced the pre-show which contains the interview and introduces the characters.
Next, we developed a complete 3D-stereo VR Experience which allows visitors to descend into the tomb with Yan Yan. The tomb has been very realistically modelled, truly making visitors feel as though they are entering the space with her.
We also developed a VR management system which makes it possible to control the VR glasses of the visitors in several different languages at the same time. In the first instance, the system was intended for 10 simultaneous users. However, as a result of its overwhelming success, we scaled up the system to 20 simultaneous users after the first two days of the exhibition.
We can say that this experience has been a great success as well. Not only is the VR Experience exhilarating, it also paints a very clear picture of how richly the tombs were decorated and explains the functions of all the objects and paintings in the tombs.
The press have also praised the exhibition. In sum, we are hugely proud of our contribution to this outstanding exhibition.