The Temple Studios virtual tour created for Punchdrunk’s production of ‘The Drowned Man’ was a secret project we worked with them on for almost 3 years! An abridged version of The Drowned Man virtual tour was made available to their keyholders/supporters, as a Christmas present in 2016 and then released to the general public on the 19th February 2017 to tie in with the 180th anniversary of the death of Georg Büchner the author behind Woyzk on which the show was based.
The Temple Studios virtual tour itself is above so feel free to explore and if you were lucky enough to have visited Temple Studios I hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane.
What was the Drowned Man?
Punchdrunk’s The Drowned Man was set in the world of Temple Studios, a Hollywood Studio in the 1960’s, which was built in the old Royal Mail sorting office next to Paddington Station at 31 London Street. The production was set over 4 floors with a town, a desert, a forest, a cinema, a film studio, a caravan park and a multitude of other spaces for visitors to explore with some other secret spaces that were available by invite only.
Audience members were asked not to speak and to wear the infamous Punchdrunk white masks at all times, they were then transported from the lobby of the building via elevator to one of the floors of the show, free to explore the set and follow whichever characters were of interest to learn part of their story.
During a show the characters loop three times through their individual performances each with a varying degree of overlap between each other and throughout the space.
The Drowned Man virtual tour / Temple Studios virtual tour was originally created for Punchdrunk as part of their documentation process and to potentially use internally as a development tool. The capture process was an amazing experience in itself, the ultimate one to one for me as in each of my many visits as a member of the audience I had become fascinated with the sheer detail of the sets, secret rooms, tunnels and spaces which became the most important ‘character’ of the show for me.
I spent just over a week almost permanently at Temple Studios up to 10 hours a day roaming around armed with my camera and tripod whilst trying to mind map every twist and turn, every stairwell and secret room. The entire Drowned Man virtual tour eventually ended up being over 1000 panoramas taken from every nook and cranny I could find.
The last performance I went to was on my 4th day of photography, after having already endured 10 hours of walking around I met my sister for a further 3 hours of adventures. Even after having spent so much time there I still found myself lost from time to time, disorientated by the sea of white masks swarming around us. My sister maintains she was gripping my hand in sheer terror the entirety of the performance, her first, but considering I found myself on my own for the best part of an hour and lucky enough to have encountered the Dust Witch for her one to one I’m not exactly sure who’s hand she was holding.
Once back to the office the creation of the Temple Studios virtual tour meant I again immersed myself in the show, processing the thousands of photos which were then stitched together to create each panorama. Each panorama was then edited to fill the Nadir hole in the floor where the camera tripod was. My memory map was the put to the test in creating one of the largest virtual tours I’d ever attempted. Eventually it was necessary to create a separate virtual tour for each of the Floors due to software stability.
The public version of the Drowned Man virtual tour of Temple Studios you can see above may only contain parts of the entire tour I created, but even after all the time I’ve spent walking the corridors of Temple Studios both physically and virtually I still enjoy wondering around it from time to time.