Electrosonic have provided the audio-visual systems integration for a new ‘Ajax Experience’ visitor’s centre in Amsterdam. The new ‘Ajax Experience’ replaces the former museum at the football ground, which is within distance of the city centre and Amsterdam’s main tourist attractions.
Visitors will now have the opportunity to get fully involved in the multimedia site, which was designed and produced by Montreal’s gsmprjctº. Ajax is one of the best-know football clubs worldwide and fans will now be able to put themselves in the boots of the players.
The new experience features a series of virtual exhibits in which guests can spend time in the locker rooms, players’ tunnel and stadium, as if they were one of the players themselves. ‘T.I.P.S’ is also included, which focuses on “Technique, Insight, Personality and Speed” and allows visitors to practice their football skills, including timing, aiming and force skills in glass ‘boxes’ called Technique cubicles.
The boxes allow spectators to see what’s happening whilst keeping the ball contained and an Electrosonic projection screen at one end of the box displays a target zone and a field or team member. At the opposite end, a football is placed above a sensor which detects when a kick has been taken.
The kick detector works in conjunction with an invisible (IR) laser beam, which helps a computer to work out the ball’s trajectory and swerve. Performance is then displayed on screen, along with a player comparison table. The accompanying sound system provides sound effects from a virtual ‘crowd’ and outside of the box, spectators can see what’s going on via a graphics panel.
On the opposite side to the boxes, “T.I.P.S. Insight” shows guests how to understand what options are available via a multi-touch tabletop display, based on 46 inch NEC LCD panels, and gives a number of available options when players are in various positions on the pitch. These are based on strategies commonly employed by Ajax players, depending on what opportunities are presented during a match.
“T.I.P.S. Personality”, located on a wall close to the locker room exhibit, is represented by a graphic panel where guests can read about the kind of personality players need in order to fit with the Ajax ethos.
“T.I.P.S. Speed” is another interactive display that requires participants to dribble the ball around a course, without making any mistakes, as fast as they can. This can be played alone or with an opponent and works via “target markers”, which the ball must be passed over accurately. In order to achieve this, two Panasonic projectors are spaced apart, yet display the same precisely-aligned image which prevents the player’s shadow from obscuring them. Results are displayed on an interactive display which also shows the top scorers of the day.
Infrared lighting and cameras, also supplied by Electrosonic, detect the position of the ball and two computers are dedicated to each exhibit in order to run the combination of display and detection systems, as well as player entry and record screens.
Once visitors have had their fill of the main interactive exhibition area, they move on to “the climax of the Ajax Experience”, the first part of which is in the Locker Room. This allows guests to play the part of team members and a wall-mounted mirror becomes a rear-projection screen once the lights dim. This leads the way for the team manager to give guests a halftime pep-talk in a projection using four Optoma short-throw projectors, which produce a blended image behind the mirror; this was also created by Electrosonic.
Next up, visitors are taken to The Stadium, passing through the Players Tunnels as they make their way to a large space dominated by four projection screens. The biggest use two Panasonic 6710 projectors, in order to produce a panoramic edge-blended image. These display historic Ajax matches and are accompanied by a multi-channel soundtrack; synchronized playback is achieved by Medialon Players and Image Anyplace units provide image warping.
In The Giant Academy, three screens are recessed high in the walls which display films on the training and development of Ajax players and each screen comes with its own listening device and five pairs of headphones. Wotbox Warping video servers are used for the “Well of Talent” film and “The Giant Academy” content.
Standard single-image video playback throughout is by Roku Brightsign HD210 players. Audio processing is by Symetrix Jupiter DSP with amplifiers from T&M. Overall show control is through a Medialon Showmaster Pro system with a Medialon Rugboard touchscreen acting as the user interface at the ticket desk.
Numerous audio-visual components were used in the creation of the Ajax experience, including a large graphic montage, the Hall of History, which is augmented by four NEC 46 inch LCD panels configured in a 2×2 video wall.
One of the main themes, From Children to Champions, shows how talented youngsters are transformed into world class footballers and another, Well of Talent, looks at how kids become Ajax’s juniors. Both of these shows can be run fully automated or can be started via a control panel close to the automatic entrance door.
gsmprjctº designed and produced The Ajax Experience as well as providing the linear media content and tabletop interactive media. The “T.I.P.S. Technique” and “T.I.P.S. Speed” interactive exhibits were produced by Kiss-the-frog. Fiction Factory was the fit-out contractor for the exhibit.