U.S. Marshals Museum

Thinkwell was approached by the leadership of the U.S. Marshals Museum to create an engaging and unique experience that would bring the storied history of the U.S. Marshals to life. The goal was to provide visitors with a firsthand understanding of what it means to be a Marshal by creating a space in which guests could engage with challenging and serious moments in the nation’s history, while also balancing the experience with the fun and larger-than-life stories of the Marshals. 

Thinkwell has been involved in the project since 2017 and was responsible for the design, production, and delivery of the entire guest experience throughout the museum, including all media production, interactives, and technology integration.

Formed in 1789, The United States Marshals are the nation’s oldest law enforcement agency in the US, and with that comes a rich and complex history. Thinkwell’s teams set out to tell their story by showcasing both the historic and modern worlds of the US Marshals with authentic placemaking, personalized and participatory visitor interactives, and dynamic media and exhibits throughout the museum. Separated into six distinctive zones, the museum provides a comprehensive understanding of the Marshals’ role in law enforcement for visitors of all ages and abilities. 

Thinkwell Media led the development and production for all custom media throughout the museum, bringing authentic storytelling to core museum experiences like ‘The Campfire – Stories Under the Stars.’ 

Thinkwell’s Montreal studio designed, developed, and programmed the technical and interactive elements across the exhibits, all working to showcase the history of the Marshals and bring to life the skills it takes to do the job. 

Wildwoods: AGLOW

As a longtime client, Fernbank Museum of Natural History approached Thinkwell with an ask: to create a nighttime offering that would activate the old-growth forest that surrounds the museum in the cold, dark winter months.

Before beginning production, Thinkwell conducted market research and a created a business model, working with Habo, a strategic consulting studio, to ensure that the final product would be financially viable. As a result, Thinkwell partnered with Fernbank to create an all-new illuminated forest walk-through experience, called WildWoods: AGLOW. Inspired by the native flora and fauna that thrive in the 10 acres of featured woodlands, this multi-sensory experience reveals the wonder of nature and wildlife through an immersive blend of the real environment and glowing displays.

Using captivating illumination, immersive projections, interactive scenography, and an original musical composition, WildWoods: AGLOW immerses guests into a natural nighttime wonderland of biodiversity. Throughout the process, Thinkwell worked hand-in-hand with Fernbank’s science team to ensure every image, color, and sound is an accurate extension of the Fernbank Forest. Along the enchanted path, guests watch as roots magically spread into towering trees, witness oversized seeds emanate with interactive light, behold nocturnal animals that come alive in the night, and engage with larger-than-life glowing and singing mushrooms and more.

The limited-run nighttime experience opened to the public on November 17, 2022 and will run during the winter months through 2026.

U.S.A. Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

For Expo 2020 Dubai, Thinkwell was honored to be selected by the U.S. Department of State to turnkey design and produce the U.S.A. pavilion. The 43,000 square feet (4,000 square meters) pavilion takes visitors on a 20-minute journey through seven exhibits showcasing the past, present, and future of American innovation.

The exhibits include a massive seamless projected cyclorama with a half-scale recreation of the Statue of Liberty’s hand and torch “painted” in projected media, illuminating the idea that freedom has formed the basis for opportunity and innovation in the United States. Authentic artifacts on display include Thomas Jefferson’s personal copy of the Qu’ran, an early telephone made by Alexander Graham Bell, and footage of Steve Jobs revealing the first iPhone—from the actual screen on that first iPhone.

The culmination of the exhibit is an eight-minute show that quite literally compels audiences to look to the sky with a proscenium suspended 39 feet (12 meters) overhead. The production is the first of its kind to use Black 3.0, forming an intensely dark contrast to giant LED screens and projectors that “paint” several large dimensional objects that silently glide into the room, including astronauts, spacecraft, and a 16-foot (5 meters) sphere that becomes the moon, Mars, and more. Stepping outside, visitors find a full-scale replica of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which at 137 feet (42 meters) stands as the second-largest object on the Expo site. Each night, the rocket dramatically “blasts off” as part of its own mapped projection spectacular.

Even the journey itself is quite literally part of that story of innovation—the first four exhibits are experienced via a newly designed moving walkway system that weaves through the pavilion exhibits, providing a transformative experience that is inclusive for all ages and abilities, while delivering the high capacity required for an Expo expected to attract some 25 million visitors over its six-month run.

Thinkwell was responsible for the turnkey delivery of the U.S.A. pavilion, including Concept Design, Interior Design, the pavilion’s Website Design, Office and Public Diplomacy Spaces, Creative Direction & Programming, Media Production, Technical Supervision, Art Direction, Project Management, and In-Field Production, and served as producers of all Pavilion media, including custom music and media.

The Aquatarium

The Brockville Aquatarium engages visitors in the distinctive history, culture and environment of Canada’s 1000 Islands through interactive and hands-on exhibits. Thinkwell Studio Montréal designed four interactive installations inspired by the themes and subjects of the aquatic museum. 

Included is an interactive table and ceiling projection which generates content depending on guests’ behaviour in real time. Other exhibits include an interactive news network studio and trivia race game which offers a playful and engaging way to present educational content for visitors of all ages.

Gulliver’s Gate

Located in Times Square, Gulliver’s Gate invites visitors to see the world in miniature, with landmarks from each region designed and created in their countries of origin. Thinkwell Studio Montréal created the interactive museum tools and the 3D exhibit of Niagara Falls as part of the Gulliver’s Gate exhibits. The team also created custom-designed RFID keys that unlock interactive content throughout the exhibits.

A model of Niagara Falls was constructed with a built-in photo booth. It invites guests to “jump into the falls,” incorporating snapshots from the adjacent photo booth into the video footage of cascading water. Each pixelated water droplet is made up of Gulliver’s Gate visitors.

Parc Oméga

Oméga La Nuit is a nighttime attraction designed by Thinkwell Studio Montreal that was created as an additional guest experience for the existing safari park at Parc Oméga in Quebec, Canada. The attraction transforms the daytime park experience into something completely new at night that takes guests on a journey into the Canadian wilderness through an array of technological, interactive, and theatrical experiences. 

Parc Oméga approached Thinkwell Studio Montréal to design Oméga La Nuit, an interactive nighttime experience for the park, with the caveat of creating an experience that could not distract from the wildlife and natural surroundings. By day, Parc Omega is a beautiful safari park where moose, elk, bison, and other Canadian wildlife roam freely in their natural habitat. A first of its kind project for Parc Oméga, the experience at Oméga La Nuit would allow guests to embark through the shadowed wilderness trails guided by soft LED lighting, projection mapping, interactive audio, and more that enhanced the forest in all-new ways.

With ensuring the environment was kept as dark as possible, the use of lighting was creatively placed to compliment the nighttime surroundings and not overpower it. Each of the eight areas along the 1.5 kilometer (0.93 mile) walk was uniquely lit to represent various forms and shapes of nature. Guests depart and arrive from The Village – the only place occupied by humans. The rest of the walk is focused on the nature of Quebec’s forests. Passing through the Enchanted Glade, the festive space begins to pull people from civilization and transports them out to the wooded areas of the tour. Within The Swamp, lights move to the soundtrack flow of frogs and insects croaking and chirping (all recorded onsite). Or in a moment of tense action, two bull elk battle on a 80 foot wide, 50 foot high projection onto a ‘screen’ of conifer trees.

Thinkwell Studio Montréal conceived, designed, produced, and installed this new expansion at Parc Oméga in 2019.

One World Observatory

Thinkwell Studio Montréal designed and produced a two-and-a-half-minute video for the See Forever Theatre permanent installation in One World Observatory attraction at the top of the World Trade Centre in New York City, NY. 

Projected onto an 80-foot long moving 3D surface, the film captures New York City from multiple perspectives, featuring everyday people & moments. The film uses images and soundscapes that reflect the gestures, rhythm, and sounds of New York to showcase the spirit and energy of the city. The audio-visual experience leads to the guests’ first glimpse of the city skyline from the One World Observatory, which is revealed via lifting screens at the conclusion of the film.

 

 

Áróra, Perlan Museum’s Planetarium

Áróra is a first-of-its-kind planetarium film created by Thinkwell Studio Montréal that takes its audience on an immersive audio-visual journey into the heart of Iceland to experience the country’s legendary landscapes bathed in Nordic lights at the Perlan Museum. To accurately capture the aurora in its true form, Thinkwell Studio Montréal also developed a custom 360° camera rig to shoot the film, which consisted of 6 synchronized cameras, to capture simultaneous shots, thus obtaining a real-time panorama in unparalleled 8K resolution.

One of the key challenges of this project was to recreate the ethereal beauty of northern lights and offer the audience an experience that is both scientific and artistic. To understand the science behind the mystery of the aurora borealis, the team gathered data from NASA plus drew on stories and legends around the world to develop the narrative side of the project. The result combines two modes of perception: one sensory, based on natural phenomena, and the other poetic, inspired by oral traditions and myths.

In its final execution, Áróra embodies the goddess of the dawn; her voice guides guests through time and space for an unforgettable adventure. An original soundtrack accompanies the story, a collaboration with renowned Icelandic musicians and composers, Petur Jonsson and Ragnhildur Gísladottir.

To set the scene before the show, the team in Montréal also developed and produced a generative sound installation within the entrance to the Planetarium, where the lighting system reacts to the original soundtrack. This unique environment creates a subtle dialogue between the light and sound, inviting the audience to dive into this fantastic story.

 

Wonders of Iceland, Perlan Museum

The Perlan Museum showcases the natural wonders of Iceland through multimedia installations and new technology-forward exhibit experiences. Working with Lord Cultural Resources, Thinkwell Studio Montréal produced the creative content and led the development and design of the technological installations for three new permanent exhibitions at the museum.

For Perlan’s “Land, Coast, Ocean” exhibit, Thinkwell Studio Montréal produced a short film using original footage shot in Iceland and also developed projection, calibration, and hardware solutions that brought to life a stunning virtual aquarium. The initial mandate was to replicate the effect of a traditional aquarium, using high-resolution video of extraordinary Icelandic marine life. With an original short film, shot mainly underwater, museum-goers are put within arms reach of some of Iceland’s most remarkable plants and animals. The resulting cut was equally part contemplative and breathtaking, while staying true to the rhythm of the Icelandic marine landscape. The original film score complimented the looping cadence of the film with a slow-developed, dream-like composition of instrumental music and nature sounds.

For Perlan’s “Forces of Nature” exhibit, Thinkwell Studio Montréal created an enclave of installations to present four Icelandic natural phenomena: volcanoes, earthquakes, geysers, and tectonic plates. This included the design and programming of a permanent show that features projection on a custom-designed bench and curved walls as well as LED lighting integration throughout. The exhibit’s soundtrack enhanced the space with the natural sounds of these phenomena using ambisonics and specialized equipment to render low-frequency audio signals into amplified physical vibrations. This exhibit also incorporates ambient lighting control and thermal detection in the entry area to create an atmosphere and immerse guests into the space.

From a technical perspective, the building’s unique architecture demanded a high degree of expertise to develop a method of rear-projection on the wide, curved screen that would not deteriorate the quality of the 6K video. Thinkwell Studio Montréal’s patented auto-calibration technology creates one unified image from the six separate projectors in a matter of seconds for optimized viewing, without compromising quality.