Filming for Wardown Park Museum

We’ve recently been producing films for interactive exhibits at Wardown Park Museum, part of Luton Culture, using professional green screen studio facilities. The client provided scripts, actors and costumes; Imagemakers were scriptwriters and executive directors; we planned and directed the shoot.

Talking Heads tell stories of the house

Talking portraits of historical characters, including members of the Scargill family who owned the house when it was first built along with members of their staff, a nurse who worked there when it acted as a military hospital during the First World War, and the museum’s very first curator, talk about the house, it’s place in Luton’s history and their own involvement.

Lady Keen, Luton’s first Lady Mayor in 1944 talks about the role that Wardown Park’s Mrs Elizabeth Scargill played in fund raising for the town’s first public library, a building that held the museum’s first displays before the Council bought Wardown Park and moved the museum there.

Lady Keen videoWide Sky Design filming on green screen

Lady Keen video 2

Modern day museum makers give their perspectives on the house and the people who lived there.

Wardown Park museum maker

Wardown Park museum makers

Evocative video creates a ghostly atmosphere

It has been interesting to work on the filmic aspects of Wardown Park Museum – including the Lace Lady, a ghostly figure that walks a corridor, fading in and out to create a suggestion of her presence and a sense of theatre. Like all good ghosts, she can walk through walls or give those who see her a start; at other times she sits quietly working at her lace pillow.

We have been involved in planning the filming and specifying the hardware that will be used to project the video in a restricted space to create the most atmospheric effect. This allows us to shoot the film to fully create the desired impact.

Wardown Park ghost video dimensions

Wardown Park ghost image lit

The interactive exhibits are part of a larger project to refurbish Wardown Park Museum which has been made possible through the support of £1.8million funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Once the project is complete Wardown Park Museum will be re-opened as Wardown House, Museum & Gallery.

Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Luton Culture logo




Using film as part of an immersive experience

Audiovisual is an important part of an immersive interactive exhibition and we are producing more and more filmic works as part of our turnkey service. There are a number of advantages to commissioning film as part of an integrated approach.

Specification of film alongside hardware and software

By using one provider to design, film and edit content material and to specify the hardware and software used to display it, it is easier to ensure that the most appropriate solution will be used and the most effective end result achieved.

For example, at Luton Culture’s Wardown Park Museum, we are creating a “ghost” that appears and disappears whilst traversing a corridor, a restricted space that means careful planning of both the filmic material and the hardware installation that will be used to project it works most effectively when the two go hand in hand.

Wardown Park ghost image lit

At York Castle Museum’s Shaping the Body exhibition, film brings characters to life through talking portraits triggered by a motion sensor as the visitor enters the room. An integrated approach to the format of the medium, the hardware it is used on, and the software that sparks the experience into action creates an exhibit that surprises, entertains and gives personalised insights into real lives across time.

An immersive experience

Film can be a powerful component of an immersive experience that also combines interactivity, lighting, soundscapes and other audio elements such as oral histories.

At Marwell Zoo’s Wild Explorers exhibit, lighting, audio soundscape, CCTV and video create an immersive experience of the savannah. Large format projection displays film footage of featured species, edited to create sequences synchronised across two large screens, each 3.5 metres wide, to enhance the experience of being amongst the roaming animals. Scripting video sequences for rhinos was an interesting challenge.

Rhino video at Marwell Zoo

We used film to create a more intimate experience for the Daniel Adamson, the only surviving steam powered tug tender in the UK, with a bar tender reminiscing about the history of the vessel and sharing a little gossip about people who have travelled on it. Images of his memories are projected on a transparent rear projection screen to enhance the atmosphere in this most unusual space.

An accessible experience

Effective sub-titling should enhance the exhibit for every visitor, enabling the hard of hearing to enjoy the video content as well as supporting the experience for others. Good scripting, maybe combined with a soundscape, will ensure that a story can be fully understood even by those who are unable to enjoy the visual elements of an exhibit.

Shaping the Body sub-titled interactive exhibit

Economies of scale

Practically, the advantages of combining film production with software and hardware specification are that of efficiency and economy in client meetings, scripting sessions, and design and review meetings; and in the design and provision of an appropriate and integrated delivery solution. With a single point of contact, ongoing support and maintenance becomes more cost effective too.

Our experience in video

Wide Sky Design filming on green screen

Wide Sky Design have experience in:

  • Scripting
  • Planning shoots
  • Filming in green screen environments
  • Sourcing and working with actors
  • Sourcing and working with historic costumes and props
  • Working with a wide variety of subject matter – adults, children and even those rhinos!
  • Ensuring accessibility and subtitling
  • Integrating video into a broader delivery system alongside interactivity, lighting and sound