Museum guided tour: how to sync 100 tablets with multimedia content in rooms

Today I’m going to tell you about an installation I completed over a year ago:

The interactive POP visit to the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza.

The municipality set the goal of creating something innovative for the enhancement of the Olympic Theater, which happens to be the first indoor theater ever built in the world. A remarkable record!

Designed by Andrea Palladio, the theater is a magical place in which you can fully breathe the culture that has crossed its premises over the last 500 years.

For the creative part of this installation, Alessandro Baricco was chosen and, as always happens, I was involved to design the systems integration and make so that the machines would communicate properly with each other 🙂

The visit flow is quite simple:

Visiting hours are defined according to the museum calendar: currently two visits are held per day, but in given periods they will be even more. The user is provided with a tablet with which he can enjoy some interesting content while awaiting the start of the show: quizzes, video games or fun facts and interesting news about Vicenza and the Olympic Theater.

The theater guide has another tablet that is a sort of “remote control” allowing to activate the several steps of the guided tour with simple buttons.

The first step is the invitation to the public to change room and enjoy the first content on a big screen. Pressing the button on the guide tablet causes a 30 second timer to be displayed on a screen and simultaneously on the tablets.

The public then moves and enters the Antiodeo room, for a welcome video in which Baricco himself speaks, presenting the museum with his unique style and quality. While viewing this content, users can enjoy subtitles on the tablet in 7 different languages, based on their initial choice of language. The subtitle videos on the tablet and the video on the screen are synchronized, of course.

Then the public moves inside the theater itself, where they will see a Son et Lumière show controlled directly by the GrandMA console of the theater, which receives timecode from the “brain” of the installation which I will talk about later.

After the Son et Lumière, the audience watches another video synchronized on the tablets, videos whose contents I don’t reveal to you so as not to spoil the surprise: know however that this content is synchronized like the others and the audio is emitted directly from the speakers of the theater stage.

I tried to be quick in this description and then move on to the technical part.

There could be no better tool than Christie’s tools for making this interaction.

That’s why I used Christie Pandoras Box for audio / video output. The setup is composed of:

  • 2 video output;
  • 12 audio channels;
  • Artnet emission;
  • Timecode emission.

But the heart of the system is Widget Designer. With this software we have built:

  • The control interface for the guides, ie the “remote control” of which I wrote above;
  • Synchronization of all the tablets within the museum;
  • Activation of DALI controls for the theater lighting system control.

The integration through this tool has allowed us the maximum flexibility, especially in the offer phase, which presented other devices to be controlled, such as motorized shutters and scenes. The flexibility of Widget Designer from this point of view is priceless and the practicality of its control interface has allowed us to program the tablet interface of the guides on the fly, building the user experience on the field, based on the different needs arising during the programming days, just before the inauguration.

Here are some snapshots of the interface to give you an idea of ​​how it works:


Testing_View screenshot



Management_View screenshot

Inside the theater, besides the guided tour of the museum, many shows are held. Thanks to our integration, the technicians of the temporary installations can use the sound system and lights for the shows. We have installed a device that allows the conversion of an Art-Net signal into DALI commands, thus allowing the lights to be controlled from the GrandMA console of the theater.


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If you have questions or curiosity, do not hesitate to contact me, I will be happy to answer.


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