A recent touring production of “Sleeping Beauty Dreams” — a fusion of contemporary dance, real-time digital avatar technology and hypnotic electronic music — saw St. Petersburg-based Euroshow as sound provider for the Russian leg of the tour and Clair Global in the U.S. both deploying L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology.
Andrey Akhromeev, a freelance engineer, was in charge of designing and tuning the sound system according to L-ISA design rules and adapting it to the different venues. He also programmed the playback system, which was running L-ISA control plugins.
The avant-garde rendition of the classic tale of “Sleeping Beauty” was conceived by Miami-based Magic Reality Group (MRG), Sound and movement cohesion was the goal as NOISIA’s Thijs de Vlieger’s futuristic score was presented with L-ISA technology, with every movement of The Princess, performed by celebrated dancer Diana Vishneva, tracked in real time with L-ISA partner BlackTrax motion tracking.
BlackTrax was used throughout the production to synchronize lighting and audio elements, and it was also integrated with L-ISA, which received positional data from BlackTrax to connect visual and audio imaging to deliver an immerse experience to the audience. The live content was generated by using Perception Neuron system to track dancer’s graceful movements via 17 inertial sensors attached to Vishneva’s costume, mapping her movements to giant digital avatars gliding across a large screen just as Prima Ballerina did on the stage floor. The integration of both technologies was done by the Fuse team.
Akhromeev joined the tour during the early period of the Russian leg, about a month before rehearsals in St. Petersburg. “The desire to use L-ISA technology was there from the very beginning, with the previous production manager introducing the system to the creative team and assistance being provided by Dave Brooks and Carlos Mosquera of L-Acoustics,” he says.
To complement De Vlieger’s atmospheric, industrial soundscape, Akhromeev chose to deploy a fully immersive sound configuration, with a frontal system that was enhanced by surround sources positioned along the side walls. With the show predominantly playing in theatres, finding rigging points in the proscenium and designing a system that could be flown behind the proscenium line was a challenge for the team. Akhromeev leaned heavily on L-Acoustics Soundvision to model the venues, design and test the configuration. For this, he worked closely with Euroshow’s system tech, Arthur Vitkalov, who helped to render the venue sites. They received additional support from Sherif El Barbari, Director of L-ISA Labs, for the initial system design stage during the rehearsals and the first shows.
The final system comprised five hangs of Kara spread across the front of the stage, with between eight and 14 elements per hang, depending on the venue configuration. Six to eight KS28 subs were flown beside the center Kara hang.
“Placing subs beside the center hang has become standard in theatre-type venues due to limited options for rigging points,” explains Akhromeev. “Normally, there are no rigging points capable of bearing heavy weights in front of the proscenium. Because of that, the team had to fly the main truss, which was holding the whole frontal system just behind the red line (fire curtain). At the same time, we had to keep in mind lighting and video fixtures that also required space, so they could reach the right points on stage. For that reason, flying subs beside the center hang was the most viable option for us.”
Between 10 and 18 X8 cabinets were used for the surround system, located along the walls on speaker stands, with the additional option of hanging them using special brackets. The system was driven by 24 LA12X amplified controllers and four P1 system processors, with the M1 measurement suite helping to speed up the system tuning process by communicating directly with the LA12X during calibration procedures, eliminating the need for external software and hardware.
While the setup process of L-ISA was similar to that of a standard PA, the mixing process was a revelation for the team. “Tuning was not significantly different,” continues Akhromeev. “Most importantly, we could achieve the right design in L-Acoustics 3D Soundvision software with the L-ISA module, which offered the opportunity to evaluate the L-ISA zones and all the dead spots. Mixing was completely different though. It wasn’t really mixing anymore, as we were playing with objects in space. It required more precision during the mix because of the greater resolution of the system. This gave us additional space for each object, which led to a better, more distinct and natural sounding show.”