Case Study | Creating an Immersive Experience for Columbus Metropolitan Library




It’s a rare opportunity to be given free-reign to create something artistic for a client, so our teams were stoked when the Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation asked us to create the visuals and audio for a 5 minute, immersive experience for their Celebration of Learning event.

Celebration of Learning is an annual fundraising event hosted by the Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation, benefiting the library and its affiliate programs. The event features multiple speakers and presentations, as well as a special guest author each year. For the past 14 years, we’ve created visual content for this one-night event.


Returning from a virtual event in 2020, the Columbus Metropolitan Library team was looking for a production partner in 2021 to expand possibilities and partner with their live production partner. Specifically, they needed a live event video showcasing their mission through an immersive experience.


Setting up for Success

Upon meeting with the Columbus Metropolitan Library team, we quickly aligned that this year’s event needed to be something unique, as the featured author, Jacqueline Woodson, work aligned with the mission of the library. The library team came to us with the vision for an immersive sound experience representing the many sounds of the library. We worked together in developing an immersive audio experience with a visual story showcasing the programs and features of the library through a stylized, animated video.

Agreeing the graphics needed to be geometric, bold, and urban, our design and animation team found inspiration for the style of visuals and animation in Saul Bass, a graphic designer turned film title animator. With a style which blended the bold and geometric style of the event logo (THRIVE), our design team conceived several style frames and storyboards. To reflect the bright and vibrant city of Columbus, we incorporated the bright colors from the event logo into the background scene elements, creating a cohesive visual system.


Our animation team then dedicated weeks to turning still-frame storyboards into animated magic. The project required a blend of character rigging and motion graphics, with the rigging allowing the characters to move freely around the scene.


360º Sound

As our animation team worked on making the pieces move, the audio team designed and recorded sounds that represented the library. They took a day trip to the local downtown library branch and recorded specific sound effects such as beeps from books being checked out, shoes going down staircases, and front doorbells ringing to provide a truly authentic feel to the audio. They took these effects and mixed them with the recorded voice over and music track to produce a 5.1 surround audio mix, mimicking a 360º immersive atmosphere.


A Memorable Experience

Working together, the animation and sound design teams produced the final 5-minute, surround sound experience which was played in person and streamed live on November 5, 2021, at the Celebration of Learning fundraising event. Extremely well received, the audience members and donors shared praises for the professional quality of the mission moment, making comments of how memorable the audio in an immersive environment was.

"Working with the Vital team was a fantastic experience. We came to them with a broad idea and they brought back a creative concept that pulled our live experience together in a way we could have never imagined."

Lisa Kristensen, Donor Relations & Operations Manager, Columbus Metropolitan Library

The event raised almost $700,000 to support the library and its many programs. During the event, featured author, Jacqueline Woodson, provided a moving speech that closely tied itself to the video we created.


The Celebration of Learning event was truly a night and a project worth celebrating!


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About Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation

The Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation is a non-profit group providing financial support for the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s greatest needs and priorities through donations from the community. The Columbus Metropolitan Library is a public library system in Franklin County Ohio, in the Columbus metropolitan area. With a purpose of inspiring reading, sharing resources, and connecting people, they provide lending, learning, and outreach services to over 872,000 residents across 23 locations.


For more information about the Columbus Metropolitan Library, visit columbuslibrary.org.


About Vital Companies

Vital Companies is an award-winning video production studio in Columbus, Ohio. As a creative content studio with experience in video & sound production, we partner with people to turn ideas into inspiring narratives, develop memorable branding and create and produce diverse, engaging experiences.


Visit our website, vitalcompanies.com, for more information.