A fusion of contemporary dance, real-time digital avatar technology and electronic music, Sleeping Beauty Dreams is an avant-garde theatrical reworking of the Grimm Brothers’ Sleeping Beauty conceived by the Miami-based Magic Reality Group (MRG),

Sleeping Beauty DreamsThe spectacular production explores the princess’ often haunting dreams, passions and temptations during her 300-year slumber. Sound and movement come together in Noisia’s Thijs de Vlieger’s futuristic score delivered in L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology, with every movement of the princess, performed by Diana Vishneva, tracked in real time using BlackTrax motion tracking.

BlackTrax synchronises the lighting and audio elements, giving precise responses from each and offering complete coverage to the stage and freedom of movement for Vishneva. Additional to its role in tracking for lighting, BlackTrax was integrated with L-Acoustics L-ISA, which received positional data from BlackTrax to connect visual and audio imaging to deliver a fully immerse experience to the audience.

The live content was generated by using Perception Neuron system, to track movement via 17 inertial sensors attached to Vishneva’s costume, mapping them to digital avatars gliding across a large screen. The integration of both technologies was done by the Fuse team.

MRG chose Euroshow as sound provider for the Russian leg of the tour, and Clair Global for the US leg. One of Russia’s largest and most established rental companies, St Petersburg-based Euroshow deployed L-ISA technology across nine shows in eight Russian cities. 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 plug-ins.

Sleeping Beauty DreamsAkhromeev joined the tour early on 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 fully immersive sound, with a front system 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.

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 stage front, with between eight and 14 elements per hang, depending on the venue configuration. Six to eight KS28 subs were flown beside the centre Kara hang.

‘Placing subs beside the centre 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 loads 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 centre hang was the most viable option for us.’

Sleeping Beauty DreamsThe surround system used ten and 18 X8 cabinets located along the walls on speaker stands, with the additional option of hanging them on 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 L-ISA set-up process of was similar to that of a standard PA, the mixing process was a departure for the team: ‘Tuning was not significantly different,’ Akhromeev says. ‘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 natural sounding show.’

‘This is the first time that the technology has been used in the Russian tour market,’ says Euroshow Head of Sound, Anton Rastorguev. ‘The L-ISA technology was a true revelation. We heard sound in these familiar venues in an entirely new way.’

He also believes that the system made a lasting impression on the show’s audiences: ‘The main impression that I got from them was ‘the sense of involvement’ and ‘being enveloped by the music and The Princess’s dreams’,’ he says. ‘Andrey’s mix was incredible and encapsulated the essence of L-ISA. Deploying the system for the first time in the Russian touring market was a big step forward for us. I hope that we can use L-ISA on many future projects and introduce even more people to the multidimensional sound experiences that L-ISA technology brings.’

More: www.l-acoustics.com

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