Battle of Bannockburn recreated, Hollywood-style

HOLLYWOOD-style technology is being used to recreate ferocious scenes from the Battle of Bannockburn for future visitors to the iconic site.

Historians, battle enthusiasts and digital technology experts are all being deployed to create spectacular images for a new £9 million visitor centre.

A brand new interpretation of the battle will take centre stage in the new facilities, which are due to be unveiled in time for the 700th anniversary of the battle in 2014.

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A new cinema-style teaser trailer and images of two fight experts acting out scenes for the “motion-capture” footage have been revealed to give a taste of the way new technology will be transforming the visitor experience at Bannockburn.

Two members of the Stirlingshire-based Clanranald Trust - Charlie Allan and Mark Monaghan - are shown as sparring medieval warriors. Mr Allan is renowned for appearing in a host of big-name movies, including Gladiator, Robin Hood and the new Snow White and the Huntsman epic.

The National Trust for Scotland, which is responsible for the Bannockburn site, says the technology featured in the centre is similar to that which was used to create the character Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films.

A spokeswoman said: “Motion capture can only feature three or fewer people at a time, so for the more complex battle sequences featuring a cast of thousands, motion-capture data will be combined and post-production effects employed, to create the intense spectacle of a full-scale battlefield.”

Project director David McAllister said the ultimate aim of the new facilities was to “educate audiences on the facts behind the story as accurately and compellingly as possible.”

He added: “You know the myths, but we want the new visitor centre to be the place where you can get the facts.”

The Scottish Government has already pledged £5 million for the project, with the remainer being made up by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project, being designed by award-winning Edinburgh architects Reiach and Hall, is being jointly pursued by NTS and Historic Scotland.

Colin McLean, head of the HLF in Scotland, said: “Seeing the Battle of Bannockburn come to life before your eyes is an amazing feat of cutting-edge technology. It is bound to captivate a new generation of visitors as they debate the history that unfolded there. While our heritage has its roots firmly in the past, we need to embrace modern techniques, such as these, to inspire and engage people, if we want to ensure its future survival.”