Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Precise Location for Puccini

Audio Imaging and Real-time Location System Enhances Opera Experience at the Royal Albert Hall

The Ubisense Precise Real-time Location System already deployed in manufacturing and logistics has found application in live audio animation. Collaborating with Out Board Electronics, the companies delivered a breakthrough enhancement in public audio performance showcased for the first time this month at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Cambridge UK – 4thMarch 2008 - In March 2008, Raymond Gubbay’s production of Tosca will be performed in-the-round at London’s Royal Albert Hall featuring a ground-breaking sound automation technique which combines Out Board’s TiMax Audio Imaging delay matrix with the Ubisense Ultra-Wideband (UWB) RTLS solution. The combined product will also be made available by Out Board as the TiMax Talent Tracker system. By tracking the position of individual actors and processing the audio feed from their radio microphones in real time the sound image is steered to give each audience member the impression of localised audio.

Each actor wears a small Ubisense location tag which communicates with an array of six sensors mounted on a lighting bar running around the Circle balcony-front. The actors are all individually miked and the sound sent back to the TiMax DSP matrix audio processor. The TiMax system uses the Ubisense system to define on-stage spatial localisation zones which correspond to pre-defined “Image Definitions” (pre-programmed level/delay instructions to the TiMax DSP matrix). By applying proprietary audio algorithms to the sound, the system can place the actor’s audio image in the appropriate zone on stage.

The system can easily follow up to 60 actors on a single stage depending on refresh rate and the TiMax delay matrix can independently localise up to 16 actors simultaneously in the same scene across 32 different Image Definitions. Larger arena productions and more complex spaces can utilize a series of interlinked cells of TTT sensors networked together to cover the whole area.

Out Board Director, Robin Whittaker, said “We had wanted to develop such a solution for several years but could not find the right partner. This application demands absolute precision and reliability, something which only Ubisense is able to provide. So we were finally able to bring the concept to market.”

A key requirement was to provide a simple user interface for set up, control and monitoring of the system since the solution must integrate within the existing sound engineers’ console.

“Because the Ubisense solution integrates so well with industry standard technology such as the Microsoft .NET environment, with well defined interfaces and APIs this enabled a rapid development and allowed us to meet the timescales for opening of the new Opera.“ Whittaker added.

Charles Sturman, VP Marketing at Ubisense commented “Although Ubisense has seen a great deal of traction in the manufacturing and logistics industries since the launch of our new product last year, we are keen to see how the technology can meet the needs of customers in other markets too. We are really excited about the potential for TiMax Talent Tracker and our on-going partnership with Out Board in this space.”


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