Using a combination of audio technologies and Hans Zimmer’s amazing score, this free app lets users feel like they are living inside the world of The Dark Knight Rises
Here’s how the app — dubbed The Dark Knight Rises Z+ [iTunes link] — works. Put on your headphones (it works without them, but to get the full experience you really need headphones) and start up the app.
Immediately, you are engulfed in sounds of Gotham City. Punctuated by Hans Zimmer’s score, what you hear and how you hear it is augmented by what is happening around you, what you are doing and the time of day.
In addition to the customized Gotham soundtrack, the app also contains audio clips of Hans Zimmer and Christopher Nolan (director of The Dark Knight Rises) discussing the process of scoring the film. Theses conversations are a real treat for fans of the franchise because they offer a sort of commentary that just wouldn’t make sense on a CD.
Going Inside Gotham
The app has two modes: AutoPilot and Manual. In AutoPilot, the app chooses what you hear based on a number of conditions. What you hear when in a quiet place is different from what you hear in an area with more background noise.
Users are also treated to different soundscapes based on whether they are still or in action and the time of day. The app also uses sounds and voices near you to augment the experience.
“We wanted to make the sound and experience feel like you are really inside the film.”
Michael Breidenbruecker, the founder of RjDJ.me — the company behind the app — explained how this works, telling me that the app “uses vowel formant shaping on the microphone input in realtime which makes the world around you chant like the music in the movie.”
“The chant has a very important place in the movie and when you now listen to the track the whole world around you chants,” Breidenbruecker says. “We wanted to make the sound and experience feel like you are really inside the film.”
For Hans Zimmer, the composer of The Dark Knight Rises and a collaborator on the app, the app allows the fictional world of Nolan’s Batman saga to feel more real.
“Over the eight year period that we’ve been working on these movies, the reality of the world and the fictional world have merged,” Zimmer told me. This app is an extension of that because it brings the feel of the films to the user’s life.
The benefit of the app, Zimmer told us, is that it can extend the universe from the series beyond the films.
“You put your movie out and it starts feeling different,” Zimmer said. “You start thinking, ‘I wish I could tweak this or refine that. With an app, I can still go and let Gotham develop a little bit and do other things.”
Keeping It Going
Zimmer plans to do just that. He told me that he had some great conversations about the score and the process with some of the cast members from The Dark Knight Rises and that those clips might make their way to the app.
Moreover, he hopes to release more types of mood and time modes for the app in the future. Zimmer also expressed interest in releasing other aspects of the score online so that others can remix it themselves.
His ultimate goal, he says, is to “create an audio social network so that we can customize things to our audience and get feedback and try different things.” For Zimmer, this allows for a conversation without voices — which as he says, “is a true global conversation.”
If you’re an iPhone user and a fan of The Dark Knight — download The Dark Knight Rises Z+ app today. It will blow your mind.