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An introduction to audio tours presented by Sebastian Wilberforce August 2004.

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1 an introduction to audio tours presented by Sebastian Wilberforce August 2004

2 overview The presentation is illustrated using an audio tour “New Zealand on the inside” created for the Interisland Line in the spring of 2003, called The Cook Strait Journey. The final audio clip from this tour is a fascinating, indeed historic one, where an ex whaler recounts his experiences whaling in Cook Strait  Why have one an audio tour?  An overview of process involved in putting one together

3 New Zealand On The Inside: an introduction  New Zealand On The Inside is a cultural tourism venture whose principal objective is to take the tourist behind the scenes. We offer a deeper and more insightful understanding of New Zealand leading to a more stimulating, enjoyable and memorable holiday.  Our objective is to offer fully integrated packages for the audio tour market, working in association with the American company Antenna Audio who, with almost 20 years experience are world leaders in the audio tour market.  With a worldwide client list Antenna Audio has developed expert delivery systems to match their exacting demands. New Zealand On The Inside use these for our tours.  Antenna Audio’s website is

4 the Cook Strait journey Interisland Line ferries make their way across Cook Strait between Wellington and Picton 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Audience for this tour is primarily overseas visitors, who have little knowledge, understanding or connection with the visible urban landscapes, bare hills, rocks, or the apparently empty sea. The purpose was to bring this journey to life with facts and unexpected detail, and some humour achieved through the use of sound effects. Production quality and its content has been highly rated by both foreigners and New Zealanders. A number of Wellingtonians expressed the pleasure, interest and surprise they had derived from the tour.

5 the Cook Strait journey Subjects covered included:  Maori myth about New Zealand, history and warfare in the area  Pakeha settlement including the wrongs done to Maori  Excerpts from Katherine Mansfield’s writings about Wellington  The geology & seismology of the area  The seas & and the depths that make up Cook Strait  The weather, particularly the winds  The marine and bird life  A mini documentary featuring Cook Strait swimmers  A couple talking of farming and living in the Sounds  Whaling in Cook Strait

6 the Cook Strait journey From a number of voices the client chose actress Katherine McRea to provide the narration for the audio tour. They liked the warmth of her voice, and her professional and fluent delivery. Kiwis who spoke their own stories provided a more obviously authentic accent, such as the ex whaler you will hear later. Sound effects and music were used only to a limited extent. Nonetheless they do indicate the added richness and colour they can bring to the interpretation. The listener is provided with a product that genuinely adds value to their ticket price and to their journey. sound bite about Thorndon

7 what can an audio tour do for a DOC site?  We live in a multi media environment.  Audio tours provide education through entertainment, finely balanced to achieve educative ends.  With historic sites we create the audio environment of the era that the site relates to, transporting people back in time. An example of this is provided by the ex whaler talking about whaling in Cook Strait who we will hear later. He talks about an activity that ceased forty years ago this year.

8 what can an audio tour do for a DOC site? An audio tour educates your visitor about:  the history of a site  its conservation values  the importance of what DOC strives to achieve An audio tour provides for the visitor :  A richness of interpretation  a depth of understanding  an engagement with your site  and often an emotional connection that display panels and other passive interpretative devices alone often can not provide.

9 understanding and engagement Oteranga Bay Taken on a day of unusually poor weather for the Wellington area. The magnificent overcast sky aside, this is the view that many a traveller sees:  a relatively featureless landscape  bare hills  one electricity pylon on the skyline  a few uninteresting and undistinguished buildings nestling into the slopes at sea level Oteranga Bay has come alive – when the listener first saw that view from the ferry he probably hadn’t even registered the flat terraces mentioned at the start of that clip, and would have missed their significance – and interest.

10 how does an audio tour work its magic?  Through a clever mix of narrative, interview, sound effects and music.  Delivered by means of appropriate technology whether portable or by means of a talking post – which I will come back to.

11 putting together an audio tour Once our proposal has been accepted there is a three stage process audio production selection of the right technology to deliver the product devising a strategy to promote the tour Let’s cover some of the issues under each of these headings.

12 audio production Audio production: articulating your brief who are your visitors? do you want a children’s tour as well as one for adults? what are the key messages you want to get across? what research resources are you able to provide us with? what colour & texture can we add, for instance, who can we interview, is there any sound archive material, what sound effects can we use? Researching and writing the script assessing and incorporating raw print data, interview or sound archive material, weaving in sound effects determining how to use music for effect or punctuation ensuring cultural appropriateness and accuracy Obtain script sign off Choosing the right narrator for your tour Recording in studio

13 audio collateral  We consider what if any navigational aids are required to enable the listener to get the full benefit of the audio, and what information needs to be on those aids? e.g. do visitors to your site need steering along a particular route, and visual prompts to switch on the audio at particular points?  What form should those prompts take? e.g. vandal proof signage atop short posts, or a map they can carry with them?  In the case of the Cook Strait Journey we used a map as illustrated along the bottom of this slide.

14 audio collateral Watercolour was chosen to enhance thumbnails of the sites which the audio covers. Listeners could either pick them out with greater ease, or know what they were missing if the weather was inclement. Watercolour also provided a potential cost saving over photography. Given the weather of Cook Strait and that most of the images were only visible from a boat, a photographer might have to make repeated ferry trips to capture sites with good enough images.

15 audio collateral Oteranga Bay: compare the difference between what is visible on a bad day (or might be seen on an average day) and the watercolour image.

16 selecting the right technology Two options:  hand held devices or  free standing or fixed talking posts Hand held devices  allow visitors to roam free listening to the audio either at a time of their choosing or when prompted  the Antenna Audio product that best fits New Zealands situation both technologically and for cost considerations is Easy Player.  other technical solutions are available but their suitability needs considering on a site by site basis.

17 selecting the right technology Free standing or fixed talking posts Low maintenance devices suitable for unmanned sites. Simple in design, for durability and vandalism so instead of individual headpieces a speaker is built into the casing. It may be possible to provide a solar power source to run the talking posts. When evaluating solar power consider the geography of the area i.e. will it get enough sun?

18 devising a strategy to promote the tour  Strategic marketing provided by New Zealand On The Inside Our association with Antenna Audio brings significant benefits in terms quality strategic marketing advice. Drawing on Antenna Audio’s long experience producing and promoting audio tours at iconic museums, galleries and similar sites around the world New Zealand On The Inside can provide strategic marketing advice tailored to your site’s needs. This represents significant added value to our offer.

19 marketing collateral Consider the size of your budget, and how much promotion the audio tour needs. For the Cook Strait Journey we designed and produced a leaflet, a leaflet dispenser, posters and a CD. The CD was both a product for retail sale and something that could be used in the company’s marketing. Marketing collateral also covers on site signage, or a bookmark that is given out with tickets, and material for a website including audio clips.

20 marketing collateral cont… Other issues to consider include: who is the audience, i.e. are there intermediaries such as tourist wholesalers who you want to know about it? where is the tour going to be promoted? Off site and on site what identity does the tour need? The Cook Strait Journey used a dolphin wearing headphones against a back drop of sites visible on the tour.

21 marketing collateral cont…  What design style do you want to aim for, and in this regard what DOC brand values and presentational guidelines need taking into account?  In the case of the Cook Strait Journey as you will see watercolour was used throughout, in the context of this discussion to suggest added value.  Lastly, either you can use our designers for the collateral, or we can work with yours, providing such a brief as is needed.

22 pricing an audio tour  Cost scenarios vary from one site to the next, depending on such factors as: the amount of researching we need to do prior to writing the script, the extent of interviewing that is required as against being able to use archival material, the scope or necessity for using sound effects and or music, and the technology needed to deliver the audio to your visitors. If you would like a costed proposal for a particular site we would be delighted to provide one. (Contact details at the end of this presentation.)

23 concluding thoughts the time seems to be increasingly auspicious for audio tours New Zealanders are becoming more and more interested in their history and culture winners at this year’s Montana Book Awards all with NZ themes: The Trial of the Cannibal Dog: Captain Cook in the South SeasThe Trial of the Cannibal Dog: Captain Cook in the South Seas Anne Salmond Winner of the History Category. Winner of the Montana Medal for Non-fiction. The Penguin History of New Zealand Michael King. Readers' Choice Award Slow Water Annamarie Jagose. Winner of the Deutz Medal for Fiction. New Zealanders are turning away from terrestrial television, and Sky’s history channel is very popular. That drift away suggests that many people want something more stimulating and profound than what is being offered. such people would enjoy an audio tour

24 concluding thoughts cont… Let’s finish with the ex-whaler talking about whaling in Cook Strait. This clip features when the ferry passes Jackie Guard’s Whaling Station in the Sounds. Jackie Guard’s Whaling Station as seen by ferry passengers on an average day. Depicted in watercolour.

25 for further information Sebastian Wilberforce An acknowledgement: Copyright of an audio tour belongs to the entity that pays for it. I am grateful, therefore, to the Interisland Line for permission to use excerpts from the Cook Strait Journey in this presentation. The design of the supporting literature and CD packaging was by: Ramp Level 8, The Terrace, PO Box 2240 Wellington Tel , Mobile ,


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