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Turning a tunnel into an experience

DNA to one side, the work of my older brother Daniel’s media production company, Graetzmedia, is of the highest standard I’ve seen. Dan recently won a Golden Tripod at the 2012 Australian Cinematographers Society National Awards for Cinematography, in the Experimental and Specialised category, for a video Graetzmedia produced for skateboard brand Zflex.

Watch their work here:

Gold, as it turns out, typically comes from some form of mining/digging, which is a rather dynamic segue to my tunnelling comments.

The Graetzmedia team created an interactive destination for the Legacy Way Visitors’ Centre in Toowong. Legacy Way is Brisbane City Council’s 4.6km tunnel that will connect the Western Freeway at Toowong to the Inner City Bypass at Kelvin Grove. Graetzmedia was responsible for the design, construction and all experiential and media content of the Visitors’ Centre.

Their work is a superb example of one trend and two principles I happen to love:

The trend – fusion.

We’re doing it with food, art, development and more. Fusion combines two fields that more often exist apart. In the case of the Visitors’ Centre, Graetzmedia combined static construction with a customised use of interactive media and multi-sensory technology. The state-of-the-art Visitors’ Centre blends educational exhibition with experiential marketing.

One of the principles I love – ‘build it and they will come’.

Field of Dreams had to make it into my website somehow. But seriously, this Visitors’ Centre is a perfect example of using innovation to help people connect with an idea. The guys transformed a standard office fitout into a microcosm of the construction project itself, building a simulated tunnel. As visitors walk on the tunnel’s roadway, they walk over a protected floor-mounted plasma screen playing a stream of cars ‘travelling’ the road. As they move through, the tunnel converts into what looks like a construction zone. The team built an interactive mini tunnel boring machine (TBM) to help educate people on the tunnelling process. The everyday person wouldn’t see a TBM, so the team brought one to them instead. It is activated by pushing one button – with lights, sound, and rumble packs in the floor creating the sensation of the TBM in action.

The other principle I love – seeing what people create when they don’t bring preconceived ideas to the table.

Graetzmedia had never constructed a visitors’ centre before. Their bread-and-butter work is in cinematography, editing and live event production. That meant they couldn’t cut and paste from a past job. They envisaged the project from the only angle they could – as visitors. They thought about what it would take to get visitors in the door, keep them interested and get them engaged. And that’s what they delivered. Visitors can browse a library of multi-media presentations, including 3D animations and interviews, interact with a range of models and features, and gain the information you’d expect from a traditional visitors’ centre. This new perspective meant they created a very different kind of place. And the benefits speak for themselves. Visitor feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and the destination is proving to be an asset for the Legacy Way team.

Of course, pulling off the feat – from design and construction through to media development – in less than nine weeks is pretty impressive. But the real point is that these three features can be used by any organisation looking for new solutions to old problems or wanting to explore opportunities:

  • Fuse different disciplines for a more interactive outcome

  • Bring rare experiences to your audience to help them connect with your brand or offer

  • Be willing to start a project from a non-traditional foundation if you really want to innovate

You can watch a quick snapshot here:

Marketry is working with Graetzmedia to promote their services including a new offering that provides clients with a one-stop-shop of advanced presentation production services for major meetings, conferences, events and other presentation forums.

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