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New AV System for New World Center, Part 2

Jun 2, 2011 1:38 PM, with Bennett Liles

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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

Miami's New World Center is the performing home to some of the best young musicians anywhere, and the performance hall was designed to completely immerse visitors in sight and sound. Brad Gallagher, managing engineer for Pro Sound and Video is going to tell us how this massive AV project came together, next up on the SVC podcast.
Brad, thanks for being back with me from Pro Sound and Video for the New World Symphony installation down there in Miami. You did not only some great things inside the venue but the things you did outside the building are truly fantastic. There's a projection wall out there that you could probably see from a cruising plane. Tell me something about that six-story projection wall and how you came up with that.

Yeah, this was a really interesting project on the outside of the facility. So we had already had some experience with the 30k's inside and about halfway through the project, when we got to the outside of the building, they had upgraded those and come out with 35k's. So on the inside of the building we've actually got 16 30k's but in the tower we've got four of the 35k's and the image out there is…it's a six-story building, I want to say the final image is maybe 100ft. wide by about 70ft. tall. We've got a couple of different aspect ratios that we've got setup as special screens. It's a custom aspect that we're doing for the wall coverage—give them a lower crawl and that sort of thing—and then we've got a 69 Aspect that covers the top and they use that for doing reproduction of the symphony through their switching system whenever we're using the D-Mitri system to reproduce the symphony outside as well as when they're playing Blu-ray discs through the park which is something that they've just recently started. The city's doing this in collaboration with the symphony and I think it's once a week they're coming out there and playing a movie and the response that I've seen from people is just fantastic—the entire garden area out there, they have been filling it with seating pretty much front to back you can barely step through the thing when they have events out there. [Timestamp: 2:34]

Now how far away from the wall is the projection tower?
The projection tower is, I would say, it's somewhere between 220 to 240ft. back. [Timestamp: 2:42]

OK—mighty big throw, of course you've got to protect the projectors up there. Are there any operators up there or is it all remoted? How do they do that?
No it is remoted. We'll get up there for maintenance, but predominantly everything's run from the ground. We've got touch panels and then everything's available through Ethernet interface but the real trick for that was getting everything to fit in the tower. Everything's always an aesthetic compromise for fit and function and in this case those projectors being about 30,000 BTU per hour. We ended up having about 120 BTU per hour in this little sardine can along with your all of your other panels that we had up in there, there were dimmer racks, and it's just really, really jammed together and then when you think of it, you've also got to have enough space to get these things in and out of the tower. We have a chain motor to get the stuff up and down to the ground. It was extremely tight just like the inside of the building. We ended up modeling everything in 3D and it was pretty much down to the inch in the tower as well as inside the building. [Timestamp: 3:49]

You can certainly see that from a long way off. The building would grab your attention when you have that projection going on out there, but not only is it impressive as far as sight and lighting and so forth but you've got something like 158-speaker audio system out there too?
Yeah that was a whole lot of fun to put together. As far as I'm aware, I don't think anything's ever been done on this scale and we've just gotten an amazing input from people on this. So what we've got outside is we've got a Meyer Constellation system that's run through a D-Mitri processor and we've got somewhere in the order of, I want to say, it's about 150-160 discrete speakers out there. So we've got two 3 and then 2 MSL-4's across the front that are doing a LCR system and then they're reinforced for the throw that we've got with two towers of Melody Hangs, we've got 6-700 HP's in that front planter and then another four 600's in the towers along with the Melody Hangs. Then coming back through what we've been calling as ballet bars, it's a tubular structure that goes back for a little over, maybe 150ft. and the bar is about 20ft. high and we've got speakers, Melody UPGA, going pretty much every inch that you could fit a speaker into this pipe, we've got a speaker. And we're taking a microphone mix from about 16 mics that are just picking up ambient sounds from the hall and then also mixing that with around 24 discrete microphones that are placed on stage and the concept is to recreate the sound of the hall outside in this prime listening area of park outside which is the Miami Soundscape. [Timestamp: 5:38]

Well that's a really tall task to make it sound outside, in a totally different environment, like it does inside, and that's why they went with using the Constellation.
Yeah and like I said the feedback that we've just gotten on this thing is incredible. We've had people tell us that the biggest complication that they're having now is determining where the prime place to be for events is—on the inside or on the outside—and for what's going on in there, we consider that paying a huge compliment to the system. [Timestamp: 6:08]

And that's a big area. That's what, a two-and-a-half-acre park out there?
Yeah, we've got a prime listening area that's…if you just look down on it from above, it's probably about a little over a third of the land that they've got on that but yeah, it's just a huge area to be covering and the system just does a great job of recreating that. Now they've also started, I mentioned to you a little bit before, doing the Blu-ray events so in addition we've also got essentially a giant movie theatre out there that the guys from Meyer came and spent several days programming both for the Constellation setup that's recreating the inside of the hall as well as the cinema system out there, and so now they're playing movies once a week and doing some really cool stuff with that. The very first night that they went out there they played Avatar and the response has just been fantastic. People just love really going out there in a field and having this giant area with an enormous screen like that and it's been a fantastic response. [Timestamp: 7:08]

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