A peek behind closed doors Virtual tour of Drachenburg Castle in 3D

KÖNIGSWINTER · A 3D tour of Drachenburg Castle offers a glimpse into places not normally accessible. It’s the world’s largest object in 3D using a method from a Bonn company. And future plans include a “cinema for the ear” in six languages.

Normally at this point in the tour, there is a barrier prohibiting visitors from entering the bedroom on the second floor. The same applies to the private level with two apartments. Look but do not enter. But now curious people cans also look into every bit of the castle - at least on a computer or mobile phone. A 3D model of the castle allows a virtual tour.

It means the suite can also be viewed, and the otherwise locked balconies which offer a look into the garden and across the Rhine valley. Also visible for the first time is the attic vault - virtually. Managing director Joachim Odenthal is enthusiastic, “It’s sensational that you can look inside these places where you otherwise would not be able to go.”

Dancker Media Services, a Bonn company making 3D models, made the virtual tour possible. A restorer at the castle was in touch with the company, which was looking for a reference model. Odenthal found the idea exciting and a cooperation ensued.

Here you can start your own virtual tour through Drachenburg Castle:

World’s largest object in 3D

On a total of nine mornings, before opening hours, the rooms and the garden were filmed with 360-degree cameras, explains Robert Dancker. The size and many levels of the castle made it a challenge, as well as translating that into a fluid presentation for the virtual world. More than 1,000 scans were ultimately needed for the model. This makes it the world’s largest object that has been designed as a 3D model using this method, says Dancker.

With a computer mouse or swipes on a tablet, visitors can move through the castle. Visitors can also move through the rooms with virtual reality glasses.

“It’s amazing what is technically possible these days,” says Joachim Odenthal. He does not believe that the virtual tour will prevent potential guests from coming to Königswinter. “I have no concerns that fewer visitors will come.” On the contrary, “This makes people even more curious,” he believes.

Wi-Fi comes to the castle

The 3D model, which can be accessed on the homepage of Drachenburg Castle, is just one of several novelties planned for the near future. Currently, the castle is being equipped with Wi-Fi, and after Easter, an App will come out. He reveals that there will be a "cinema for the ear" in six different languages.

In the intermediate term, the 3D is expected to play a bigger role. Already now, two videos are part of the tour and this may be reinforced. “They are shooting films on the restoration and also on the history,” says Odenthal. Then more of the rooms could be filled with video content.

The 3D model should also be made available for use during the tour. Through the planned multi-lingual tour, visitors can learn more about the history, construction or use of the rooms in videos, images and sounds while visiting the castle which dates back to 1884. The new offer is expected for 2019. Until then, the previously “secret” rooms can be explored virtually.

Orig. text: Alexander Hertel. Translation: ck

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