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, The show was based on Woyzk by Georg Büchner and the 180th anniversary of his death, 19th February 2017, seemed a fitting date to release the tour to the general public.
The Temple Studios virtual tour itself is above so feel free to explore. 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, built in the old Royal Mail sorting office next to Paddington Station at 31 London Street. Set over 4 floors it included a town and a desert alongside a multitude of other spaces for exploration. There were also numerous secret spaces or sets that were available by invite only.
Audience members were not to speak and at all times required to wear the infamous Punchdrunk white mask. An elevator transported visitors from the lobby with some ejected randomly on different floors. The audience then explored freely, able to follow whichever characters were of interest to learn part of their story.
During the show characters loop their performances three times, throughout the space, before ushering the entire audience to the finale.
The Drowned Man Virtual Tour of Temple Studios
The Drowned Man virtual tour / Temple Studios virtual tour was originally created for Punchdrunk as part of their documentation process. Subsequently to also potentially use internally as a development tool.
Virtual tour capture process
The capture process was an amazing experience in itself. In each of my many visits as an audience member I became fascinated with the sheer detail of the sets. This detail, the secret rooms, tunnels and spaces transposed the set into 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. Armed with just my camera and tripod whilst trying to mind map every twist, turn, stairwell and secret room. The entire Drowned Man virtual tour ended up being over 1000 panoramas of every nook and cranny I could find.
My last Drowned Man performance
The last performance I went to was in the evening of my 4th day of photography. After already being on set for 10 hours, I met my sister for a further 3 hours of adventures. Even after 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. I was lucky enough to encounter the Dust Witch that night, selected for her ‘one to one’ performance. Subsequently I found myself on my own for over an hour so I’m not exactly sure who’s hand she was holding.
Building the virtual tour
Back in the office the virtual tour creation process kept me immersed in the show and Temple Studios. There were thousands of photos to process and stitch together to create the panoramas. The tripod meant, there was a hole in the Nadir of each panorama which required careful correction. Piecing together the largest tour I’ve ever created tested my the memory and that of the software. 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 only contains parts of the entire tour. However 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.