Heineken experience refreshed

A new and improved Heineken Experience, the visitor attraction at the historic Heineken Amsterdam Brewery opened to the public at the end of 2008, with an interactive journey taking centre stage. Electrosonic UK was appointed as the principal systems integrator to deliver the AV solution for an attraction that makes extensive use of specially produced HD video programmes.

The re-designed visitor experience seeks to draw its audience deep into the world of Heineken. Simulation rides and interactive kiosks give visitors a stronger understanding of Heineken’s history, the brewing process and much more.

Electrosonic used high definition display and surround sound technology to encapsulate the visitor in a lifelike environment. Standout examples include Raised by the World which features eight synchronised screens that envelop the audience with high definition video and sound and the World Bar which delivers an interactive virtual drinking environment – projected virtual beer mats appear whenever a visitor puts down a glass.

Another of the highlights, the Brew U simulation ride features a high definition film on a 3 metre wide screen accompanied by 5.1 surround sound and places the audience on a platform that shakes, rattles and rolls as, made to feel like human beer bottles, they undergo the complete brewing process.

Working with BRC, Electrosonic was responsible for the engineering, supply and commissioning of the main audio and video systems including an international welcome display that illustrates the spread of Heineken’s international activities diagrammatically, with the help of thirteen 12-inch LCD monitors from Dicoll.

In an area themed as a traditional Amsterdam Bar visitors view a show called ‘Born in Amsterdam’ where they learn about the origins and development of Heineken since its founding in 1863. The presentation is informal, apparently given by a genial barman standing behind the bar. Two large (3m wide) rear projection screens are built into the set using Panasonic PTD series projectors, and the show plays from two synchronised Electrosonic MS9500GL HD video players. It is accompanied by multi-channel sound that both ensures correct location of the voice and creates the appropriate ambience.

Raised by the World, a fast paced presentation shown on eight 52” Sharp LCD displays screens surrounding the audience, shows the impact of the Heineken brand in countries around the world, using footage from many sources. Four further electrosonic HD players, each feeding two screens playback the show.

The main spaces are surrounded by a frieze of LCD monitors that show city panoramas from around the world – all in high definition. In the centre of the rooms interactive bar tables have back projected images that match the theme of the main displays and the virtual beer mats make a particularly nice touch.

Throughout the site, DSP is handled by BSS Soundweb processors, and amplification by a selection of Cloud Electronics multi-channel amps. Loudspeakers are

Electrosonic’s UK office was responsible for the engineering, supply and commissioning of the main audio and video systems. However, installation was carried out by local company Mansveld. Some items from the old Experience, which had also been supplied by Mansveld, were carried over into the new show.

The interactive displays were developed by the companies Alterface and Bitmove. All video media and sound tracks were produced by BRC Imagination Arts.

The whole system is under network control, both in respect of operation and system monitoring. The facility, and overall show control was provided by Crestron equipment. In one neat touch, Electrosonic provided a ‘snapshot’ facility for control of the main projectors. This stores all the projector settings so that, if a projector has to be replaced, the unique settings for a particular projector position can be instantly downloaded to the new unit.

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