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Theater Acoustics Aboard Oasis of the Seas, Part 2

Jun 14, 2010 12:01 PM

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Now, is all this stuff on a network that runs all over the ship? I've read somewhere where they—all of this stuff is accessible from anywhere. Maybe they've got a broadcast outfit too?
They do, actually. They have a broadcast capability. Boyce Nemec does all the video, so when you look at some of the specs for the ship, you see there's a pretty healthy video component. They have the ability to do broadcasts or recording within the ship. All of the venues are interconnected over a fiber network, and they interconnect with other services. In other words, that broadcast network then is talking to the hotel system. From a cruise ship operations point of view, there is basically a hoteling function that is all cabins. There's a food service function, there's a hotel function, there's a cruise ship operations, there's a—yadda, yadda, yadda. So just like you would in any large hotel, you've got flatscreen displays, and they have ship board information. You also have a lot of displays through out the ship that are digital signage for wayfinding, and you've got information. All of that is basically running on a single fiber network so it's all interconnected. The theater shows are connected to that so that they can use the theater for stuff that they need to broadcast through this ship. But generally speaking, it's more of a command and control situation than it is actually using the theater as a source for material for that. [Timestamp: 9:39]

Is the sound for the broadcast a separate mix, or do they just take the house mix on a ship-wide network?
I know that they can deliver it over the network; I know they can deliver the show over the network, but I am not sure that I can answer that accurately. Because once we get outside the theater, Boyce Nemec takes over the AV for the smaller spaces and also handles the broadcast stuff so I am not sure exactly how Andy set that up. [Timestamp: 10:01]

Where do they have the broadcast room? Somewhere far removed from the theaters?
It's not adjacent to the theaters; it's in the middle of the ship, and I don't remember exactly. I know one thing that is interesting about Oasis is I believe—isn't the health club above the theater in Oasis?

Cooper: Yes.

Turpin: Yeah, because that's another thing—well, what can we put over a theater? Where the thing you're putting over it doesn't generate a lot of noise; it produces problems for the theater. But where also the sound from the theater isn't creating problems in that other space. So actually the health club is ... [Timestamp: 10:32]

Cooper: Right, in the path.

Turpin: Yeah.

Cooper: Certain nightclubs that will not be in major operation until the show is over because in order to carve out that area for the ship—it's a large volume, four decks, two floors. You've created a whole belly of a ship that you've now got to fill in with big spaces, so the health club, a casino, a nightclub, ballroom—those are typical types of rooms that are above the theater. [Timestamp: 10:59]

Yeah, I would think on a cruise ship, they've got to have something going somewhere all the time so there is no lull in the activity but…so it's not just a question of where everything's located but when things are going on at the same time.

Turpin: Yes.

Same reason, I guess, they—as far as the location, why they put factories and stuff out at the end of airport runways and things like that.
Turpin: Yeah.

So what was the time frame on all this thing?
It takes about a year to build a ship, a year and a half.

Cooper: And then we're at about a year in our design, and then prior to that, there's the ship design itself. So I would say it's about a three-year process. [Timestamp: 11:36]

So I guess they have—after everything's in there and ready to go—they have a certain amount of shakedown time where they rehearse the acts and get all the presets done and all that?
Yeah, they actually do that on the—a lot of that actually happens on the initial voyage coming back to the States. Oasis was built at ...

Cooper: Finland.

Turpin: ... Aker Yards—no, it's not Aker anymore, it's [STX]—but it was built in Finland. So a lot of the finish work, the very final finish work, and the initial shakedown happens as she comes back to Lauderdale. [Timestamp: 12:09]

Were there anything unexpected or any changes that had to be made along the way, or anything that was out of the ordinary? It sounds like you guys are pretty good at this already.
There was a lot of discussion about the main arrays for the Aqua Theater because we were dealing with a new environment, a different kind of problem. If it would have been strictly a playback issue, we probably would have made some different orientation choices. Aqua is a little interesting in that in any theater, you're going to have certain constraints about where you can put loudspeakers, but that's nothing compared to what you're dealing with in the Aqua Theater. There is no position for a center array; there is physically no place to put one. You only can put the side arrays in the dive towers. Well, the dive towers are 20ft. upstage of where a performer would be standing to sing a solo if the lifts were all the way up and you were using the entire pool space and barrel roll space as a single deck. That's a recipe for a problem, but there's no other place to put them. And you need something that creates a high-dynamic-playback show for the acrobatic shows, the dive shows, and also has the gain before feedback that you need to do a live show. So a lot of the positioning of those arrays was carefully calculated and modeled to try to maximize the impact without generating a lot of noise into the rest of the ship and without creating feedback problems on the deck. [Timestamp: 13.32]

Well, this would obviously have been a challenge, doing all of this on land. But on a cruise ship, designing this and setting it all up and making work reliably was a huge feat. But Mark Turpin and Russ Cooper of AV design firm Jaffe Holden, thanks for being here to tell us how you pulled it all off successfully on the Oasis of the Seas.
Thank you.

Cooper: You're welcome.

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