Zed Creative is an independent agency that specialises in digital interpretation. This means we help organisations, particularly museums and visitor attractions, to tell their stories in exciting and compelling ways using digital technology.
Anthony Roberts founded Zed Creative in 2005, but having already worked extensively in the creative sector, he has now clocked up over 25 years in the industry. During that time, digital technology has become ever more powerful, to the point that most organisations now recognise that digital content and digital interpretation offer many possibilities for bringing stories to life.
While Anthony began his career as a designer and illustrator, the last ten years have seen Zed Creative developing its expertise in the digital and experiential arenas, from motion graphics and video through to the planning, production and installation of large-scale visitor experiences.
At one time our work usually came through other creative agencies, but more recently we have been working directly with clients, managing entire projects from conception to completion.
One example of this end-to-end approach is our work for Llechwedd Slate Caverns in North Wales, where we installed a completely new immersive underground tour featuring animation, projection, audio and some impressive explosive effects.
The result is a brand new, 21st century experience for an attraction that has been open for almost 40 years. With so much potential for delivering informative and memorable experiences, it’s no surprise that many other organisations want to discover what we could do for them too.
Museums and other similar visitor experiences traditionally told their stories using boards with text and graphics. This is a tried and tested approach which still works, but the increased capabilities and lower costs of digital technology now open up all kinds of other exciting options too.
Today’s audiences, particularly younger ones, want and expect a technology-driven experience to keep them interested and entertained.
At Zed Creative, we understand that while there are many ways to achieve this level of engagement, the right solution will differ according to the story being told, the physical environment and the kinds of audiences that will experience it. We will always take time to consider each client’s requirements carefully before recommending a solution, but a few of the more common technologies are summarised below.
Projection and projection mapping
Projecting images, graphics or film onto a suitable surface can be used to tell a story or explain a process very effectively. At their simplest, these can be single projection shows, but a real sense of impact can be created using multiple projectors to cover a larger surface without losing quality.
Projection mapping takes things further, allowing the content to be projected onto a three-dimensional surface such as a building, rock face or specially designed feature. It gives the illusion that the projected image has depth, and can be used to really bring an object or feature to life.
Further creative possibilities include projecting onto a curtain of mist, interactive projections, moving projectors, and so on. With new techniques and technologies constantly being developed, we are always looking for new ways to create vivid, memorable experiences.
While projection is one method of displaying moving or still images, a standard monitor can be more suitable in some situations. It is certainly the case that where budgets are tight, monitors can also be more cost-effective.
Monitors also offer creative possibilities of their own. Examples include the use of touch-screen technology for greater interactivity and engagement, or monitor screens that are virtually invisible. These can allow information or graphics to be ‘overlaid’ in front of a display or other feature.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
These technologies are developing very rapidly, and in many ways they currently represent the ‘cutting edge’ of digital interpretation. Augmented reality involves using devices such as tablets or smartphones to ‘overlay’ images, information or video content onto a real-world environment. Virtual reality is more immersive, as it involves using a headset to place someone into an interactive 3D world.
At Zed Creative, we recognise the immense creative possibilities of both these technologies. They can be incorporated into tours or exhibitions to help all kinds of audiences enjoy a very compelling experience, and younger audiences can find them particularly engaging. We are also keeping an eye on developing areas in this field, where hybrid systems are coming on the market.
Design and Project Management
It is always important to consider the entire experience as a whole rather than simply focusing on individual elements or specific technologies. At Zed Creative, we have the experience and expertise to design, plan, create and install all kinds of digital interpretation projects, managing the entire process from beginning to end.
Many of the skills required to deliver each project are retained in-house, but over the years we have built up a network of talented professionals who are all able to contribute as required, including writing, filming, specifying and installing hardware, and numerous other production roles. Each project is unique, but by drawing on this network, we are able to fulfil projects of any scale, from small, niche museums to very large visitor attractions, giving each the care and attention that it deserves.