Project of St. Pölten UAS Develops Concepts for Souvenir Photography
Something you are probably familiar with from past vacations: The team at a photo booth takes a picture of you in front of a tourist attraction and you can purchase the photo print as a souvenir. This is also what happens as a digital montage in the photo store of the Giant Ferris Wheel in Vienna.
Within the framework of a project, the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences, together with photographer and UAS lecturer Rita Newman and the “Fotoshop Riesenrad Wien”, developed a concept to turn souvenir photography into a digital experience: By means of augmented reality, short videos, and animations, a special kind of memory is created – this is Souvenir Photography 4.0.
From Animation to Virtual Reality
A team of researchers from the St. Pölten UAS has designed a new concept for the already established visitor photo booth for one of the most important sights in the country – the Giant Ferris Wheel in Vienna. The envisioned photo booth should fundamentally break away from traditional ideas about souvenir photography, go beyond the state of the art, and position itself with new ideas.
The project team examined the possible use of interactive animations and games, augmented and virtual reality as well as artificial intelligence, and developed optimisation proposals for the on-site guidance system, the user-friendliness of the sales touchscreens, the online presence, and the digital after-sale.
New Experiences Thanks to Digital Storytelling
“The aim of the project was to use innovative technologies to not only visually capture the experience of the ‘Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel’, but to link the images with memories and historical facts and to weave them into a consistent narrative thread using digital storytelling. The entire process of image capturing, processing, and use is rethought and expanded to include immersive and dynamic moving image elements that transport visitors to an imaginative and newly discoverable environment”, explains Franziska Bruckner, head of the research group Media Creation at the Institute of Creative\Media/Technologies at the St. Pölten UAS.
Through image animations (accessible via smartphone and the Internet), tourists can receive information about the tourism hotspot which is the Giant Ferris Wheel and Vienna in a new way. Visitors are immersed in animated, digital worlds against a historical background, which adds depth to the experience and leads to a lasting learning effect with great memory value.
The project team developed different technology and storytelling concepts. These were evaluated and adapted with the help of a focus group and with the support of experts and technicians.
A World of Memories to Take Home with You
“What is bought is much more than just a photo: it is a creative service and an aesthetically adapted ‘world of memories’, which changes again and again and builds up a strong emotional bond with the buyers”, says Rita Newman, head of the master class “Photography” in the study programme Digital Design and the continuous education programme Digital Photography & New Visual Media at the St. Pölten UAS, who runs the photo booth in Vienna's Giant Ferris Wheel with currently 19 marginally employed photographers.
“It is impossible to imagine the tourism sector without souvenir photography. But precisely because it has been established for such a long time, it is time to develop new concepts for it. There is a need for technology and storytelling models that are not only sustainable, but also address digital use, promote knowledge transfer, enable an overall interactive experience and actively accompany visitors on their adventure journey”, says Julia Püringer, who initiated the project at the UAS.
The research results of the project should not only to be put into practice, but can also serve as a basis for additional future-oriented adaptations of the photo souvenir concept.
The recommendations for action as well as the elaborated workflows in the present concept should serve as a basis for continuously implementing and intensifying innovative measures in the future.
Project “Souvenirfotografie 4.0”
The project was funded by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Economic Affairs and the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology as part of an FFG Innoscheck. The project partner was Newman & CO KG.