3D visualization and reconstruction of lost cultural heritage sites has been a hot topic for the Europeana Initiative and EuropeanaTech for years. Supported by initiatives like CARARE, visualization, and 3D experiences have evolved from new and primitive renderings or cost-prohibitive ventures to ubiquitous, cutting-edge, and financially sensible solutions. The Europeana initiative, in collaboration with the European Commission, places greater emphasis on 3D and digital cultural heritage through the Common European Data Space for Cultural Heritage and the recently launched project Pair it! campaignwhich will mobilize EU Member States to submit a 3D digitized heritage asset to the data space by the end of the campaign in 2024.
Today, with the visual work well advanced, more and more heritage organizations are taking a closer interest in the sonic characteristics of historic sites in the heritage acoustics. EuropeanaTech has been waving the heritage acoustics flag for most of 2023, as we believe it is an underrepresented field that offers undeniable interdisciplinary value for the association of the Europeana network as a whole. . Read on to discover some examples that we hope will inspire your colleagues in the network.
About Heritage Acoustics
A short introduction to heritage acoustics. Heritage Acoustics uses a variety of measurement techniques, including impulse responses, to document how sound responds in a specific space. This can range from something as primitive as popping a balloon in a chapel and recording reflections from the reverberation, to using LIDAR (a light detection technique, sometimes called laser scanning) on rocky hills. of Greece to capture the reflective outlines of a long-gone planet. amphitheater. These techniques and everything else provide researchers with specific sound data that allows them to understand how sound reacts in specific spaces.
This data allows researchers and developers to capture a specific sound and the result would be how that sound sounds in a specific space. For example, let’s say a pianist has recorded himself playing the piano in his living room. Using specific processing software driven by the acoustic data, the same pianist could input their home recording and the result would be how that recording would sound in a specific cathedral. Now, a caveat. This is an extremely rudimentary example that omits countless variables but the principle remains the same.
However, those variables that the example above omits are precisely what gives heritage acoustics (the study and documentation of acoustics in historic spaces) and 3D auralization (putting that acoustics in a spatial engagement framework, e.g. VR/AR) so much potential and variability.
Some examples in practice
York University Audio Lab is one of the world’s leading research institutes exploring the world of immersive audio and spatial sound. The large team’s diverse portfolio of projects ranges from reconstructing the acoustic changes of the House of Commons over the centuries create in-depth virtual models of Abbey Road and BBC’s Maida Vale Recording Studio. The lab’s approach of seamlessly pairing heritage sites with innovative yet practical implementation scenarios such as music recording, game design, and cinematic experiences demonstrates how audio simulation can enrich multidisciplinary creative endeavors. . This is relevant to both the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors, paving the way for potentially viable business models for heritage organizations.
EVAA (Experimental Virtual Archaeological Acoustics) in France is a more heritage-focused initiative using acoustic simulations and virtual reality to bring the past to life, perhaps best known for its work on the acoustic reconstruction of Notre-Dame following the devastating 2019 fire. ‘EVAA, coordinated by Brian Katz (keynote speaker at EuropeanaTech 2023!) has a deeply inspiring and diverse portfolio of projects. The Ghost Orchestra is a virtual acoustic reconstruction of Notre-Dame Cathedral specially created using the The Virgin which was performed at Notre-Dame on April 24, 2013, when the cathedral celebrated its 850th anniversary. The inspiration for the project was to combine the research done for the reconstruction of the cathedral with the recordings of this show, allowing anyone in the world to experience the show as it resonated in Notre-Dame. Listeners can hear the sound of the performance from different places in the building. The wonderful thing about projects like this is that it’s multiple successes at once. On the one hand, these acoustic models can be preserved for future research or reconstruction, they can be made accessible to any creator, create new instances, and consumers around the world can experience the historic acoustics of this famous place.
The Ricercar team, made up of musicology researchers from CESR (Center for Renaissance Studies) in Tours, France, carried out several projects from 2013 to 2020, merging different elements of Renaissance studies. Perhaps the most impressive are their immersive 4D reconstructions of the Sainte-Chapelle in Dijon and the Collégiale Saint-Martin in Tours. The end results, stunning virtual reconstructions of cities, spaces, costumes, people and of course sound, showcase the depth of multi-disciplinary work that goes into VR projects and how audio impacts or is impacted. by each discovery from the material of the ancient clothing to the density of stone and more. You can watch a documentary about the project and experience it Dijon And Visits virtual instances.
Learn more and participate
The field of heritage acoustics continues to attract the interest of heritage organizations. The above are just a few examples of organizations that are devoting a great deal of time and innovation to exploring all the possibilities the field has to offer for our connection to the past.
EuropeanaTech is planning more events, news articles and webinars on this topic, so be sure to keep an eye out for Europeana Pro News Page to hear what is planned. And make sure to join us at EuropeanaTech 2023 where there will be a lot of talk about 3D and acoustics!
You can also find out more on how the TwinIt campaign aims to collect and present Europe’s cultural heritage in 3D and to support Member States in their efforts to digitize and preserve in 3D.