With Scotland renowned for its whisky it’s a given that visitors to Edinburgh will want to explore the history and process of distilling the famed spirit at the revamped Scotch Whisky Experience, formerly The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, located next to the city’s legendary Castle.
Electrosonic completed the AV installation for the visitor attraction which included synchronized lighting, sound and video for a dark Barrel Ride. The company’s Edinburgh office was responsible for the original system design, supported the installation and provides ongoing service.
Visitors board the dark ride in whisky barrel vehicles equipped with multi-channel audio systems augmented by sound from within the scenic elements of the ride. The ride is comprised of ten sections, each detailing a stage in the production of malt whisky. Sections feature a combination of scenic elements, lighting effects, video images and "ghostly" tour guide Douglas McIntyre, the fictional distillery manager who leads the journey. As visitors board the ride an attendant uses a touch panel to select the required language; at present the system caters for no less than 15 different languages.
It was Electrosonic’s goal to design the Barrel Ride using standard products as much as possible without compromising the design objectives. Each barrel vehicle has an on-board control system consisting of an AMX NI-900 controller, Alcorn McBride AM4/E solid-state audio player and JBL GTO 5355 multi-channel amp. Within each barrel is one main speech loudspeaker, four "Exciter" loudspeakers four special effects and two Aureal bass "shakers" fitted to the seats.
An infra-red transmitter and receiver in the controller receives language set-up signals, transmits position information and acknowledges commands. Each section of the dark ride runs as a mini-show with main audio elements contained within the barrels while ambient audio, lighting effects and video play within the sets.
Control and source gear for the ride is housed in two racks in a small control room. Overall control is provided by four linked AMX NI4000 controllers. Single-screen video replay is via Alcorn McBride DVM7400 players; multi-screen playback required for the curtain of raindrops and mash-tun scenes is accomplished with Delta servers from 7th Sense. Ambient audio is played from an Alcorn McBride 8 TRAXX multi-channel MP3 player through an AMP TRAXX multi-channel amp and Tannoy DC16 loudspeakers.
The central touch screen controller shows system status and allows manual intervention. A wireless control panel is also provided permitting staff to initiate individual scenes within the ride.
The main ride lighting control commands are carried in an e:cue lighting server which stores multiple DMX lighting control sequences that can be independently programmed and recalled. The DMX signals are either fed to lighting devices that receive DMX directly or go to a Helvar lighting router operating multi-channel architectural dimmers.
Three principal video display devices are deployed throughout the dark ride. To accomplish the ghostly apparation of Douglas McIntyre in a curtain of raindrops four 42-inch Orion Infinite Plasma screens are stacked vertically. Other displays are either 46-inch NEC LCD screens or projections featuring Panasonic PT-D4000E DLP(tm) projectors.
Electrosonic also supported several exhibits on the first floor of The Scotch Whisky Experience, including two Sensory Rooms where whiskies from different areas of Scotland are sampled and the Diageo Claive Vidiz Scotch Whisky Collection, one of the largest in the world. In the Sensory Rooms guides use a wireless remote control to trigger a large video screen and lighting; in the Claive Vidiz Collection a guide uses push-button lighting scenes to identify different groups of whiskies.
Since the entire floor can be used for hospitality events outside of, or alongside, normal public access to the attraction, the system required flexibility and ease of control. Electrosonic installed a single AMX NI3000 for overall control; commands are by RF wireless hand controllers carried by the guides or by permanently-installed push buttons.
Projection is by Panasonic DLP projectors and video reply via Adtec Edie 4111 High Definition Digital Media Players. Lighting control is achieved by six Helvar 99400 4-channel architectural lighting dimmer units controlled through a Helvar 900 lighting router that receives RS232 commands from the main AMX system.
In the Sensory Rooms audio is based on Tannoy CMS60 ICT loudspeakers and Marantz amps. The Tasting Room and Bar areas use a Cloud 4450 multi-zone mixer amplifier, configured for three zones, feeding Tannoy CMS401 BM loudspeakers.
NGP Architects handled the architectural aspects of the attraction’s upgrade; Continuum was the exhibit designer and RSP the consulting electrical and mechanical engineers. Lighting design was by Kate Wilkins Lighting Designers; audio and video production for the ride by Ay-Pe and video production for the other exhibits by Enigma 3D. Laurence McIntosh Ltd. was the principal contractor for the Barrel ride with Stage One responsible for the ride set works and WGH Transport Engineering supplying the ride cars.