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News in pictures 9 June 2010

Westminster’s Emmanuel Evangelical Church benefits from Orbital’s sound installation expertise; Jung brings modern controls to Victorian villa; PRG whips up a storm for the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago; Dataton Watchout on world stage at Expo 2010, Shanghai

The Emmanuel Centre, part of Westminster’s Emmanuel Evangelical Church in London, commissioned Orbital to install a new d&b audiotechnik Q-Series loudspeaker system for one of its mainstream conference rooms, used regularly by political parties and large corporates. 

Located within a Grade II listed building, the conference centre at the Emmanuel Evangelical Church comprises a main auditorium that seats 1000, plus two smaller rooms with a capacity of 250 each. Head of sound, Richard Edwards has been involved with the venue for more than 10 years, and was looking for a new system for the 250-capacity Upper Hall. A major objective was to improve the overall sound quality, after persistent complaints about audibility and clarity. The traditional church-shaped room presents a host of acoustic challenges, with stone pillars, alcoves, and hard, reflective surfaces.

Richard explains: “My experience with d&b audiotechnik has always been positive, and when we got the go ahead to upgrade the room, I had a clear picture of what we wanted. Orbital set up a comparative test with a number of different d&b systems, and the Q-Series suited the room perfectly. The building’s listed status puts us under rigid constraints – we cannot simply implement other damping or treatment to overcome the room’s challenges, and a front-fill system would have required planning permission. We therefore rely 100% on the main pair of speakers to provide full room coverage.

“The Q7’s tight dispersion keeps the sound exactly where we want it, as well as drastically cutting echo. I am also impressed by the off-axis sound quality, which sounds completely normal if quieter. Orbital re-used the existing cabling and infrastructure to minimise the impact of the new installation, colour-matching the cabinets to the stone pillars so they blend perfectly into the background. We have had nothing but compliments, with our visiting pro engineers for client events blown away by the quality. A great result all round.”


Intelligent buildings specialist, Jung, has helped to deliver the ‘wow factor’ to a multi-million-pound residential development in the desirable Cheshire village of Bowdon.

A four-storey Victorian villa, 51 Stamford Road has been completely refurbished by developer, Blueprint, to offer an executive home with the very highest standards of accommodation. From the outset, Blueprint aimed to incorporate style, comfort and efficiency features that would help set the development apart from its competition in the Manchester commuter belt and opted for an integrated home control system from Jung to help it achieve those goals.

Integrator, Forumtechnik, has installed a Jung lighting control system at the house which links both the interior and exterior lighting and operates with a combination of sensors, astronomical clock and manual switching/dimming. This is integrated with the central heating and the underfloor heating, the automated blinds, the CCTV system, the security alarm, smoke detectors and fire alarm and the audiovisual system, all of which can be controlled using the simple-to-use Jung touch screen control panel.

The user can set their home to ‘occupancy simulation’ mode and the system will use data stored from the previous two weeks to simulate ‘normal’ usage of lighting and av equipment while they are away. What’s more, when they’re on their way home, the house will go in to ‘welcome’ mode as soon as the gates open, switching on the heating and the lights, or they can even dial in to adjust the controls remotely.

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI), lets guests understand the amazing science behind some of nature’s most compelling phenomena in the new 26,000-square-foot Science Storms exhibit, which opened in March 2010.

Production Resource Group (PRG) has been involved in the production of two of the massive interactive elements in the exhibit, a 40-foot tornado and 20-foot avalanche disk, working closely with Christopher Wilson, senior project manager at MSI.

At 60 ft tall, 27 ft diameter and 75,000 lbs, the tornado display is the largest effect in the hall. The 40 ft vortex of swirling air and vapor rises continuously from the floor and is able to be controlled by guests through a series of dampers that shape the air column. From the balcony level, guests can activate lasers to cut through and reveal the airflow patterns of the illuminated vortex.

PRG constructed the fully interactive tornado to meet stringent building codes and artistic qualifications. One of the biggest challenges for PRG was the sheer size of the structure. “One of the major challenges with the tornado exhibit was that we couldn’t fully test it anywhere except at MSI because it was so big and so complicated,” noted Wilson. “PRG had to get it fabricated and installed as early as possible so if there were any problems we would have time to correct them. They had to think carefully about how they were going to get the pieces into the building.”

PRG also engineered and fabricated the avalanche disk, in which guests trigger a 20 ft avalanche to reveal how granular materials behave and better understand how avalanches form. The avalanche takes place in a 20 ft diameter disk set at a 23° angle to horizontal. When rotated by guests, they see how granular materials can act like a liquid as well as a solid, which is a key concept to understanding an avalanche.

The Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China, which opened on 1 May, boasts the largest-ever implementation of the Dataton Watchout multidisplay presentation and production system in a single location.

In total, more than two dozen of the Expo’s pavilions aimed at gathering and presenting the world’s cultures are making use of Watchout. Watchout combines multiple projectors or other display devices with standard computer and network technology to create breathtaking presentations of almost any size. The production computer uses a familiar timeline-based user interface to build each audiovisual ‘show,’ then distributes the relevant media files to the display computers to run the show.

A large number of audiovisual consultants, systems integrators and rental companies have descended on Shanghai from all over the world to implement their designs. Dataton’s longtime partner in China, Audiovisual Technique has provided local technical support.

“Visitors to the Expo will be surprised, delighted, astounded and amazed by the designs they will see. Dataton’s partners have really stepped up to the plate in terms of their designs, and as a result, this has been an incredibly demanding and exciting project to work on,” comments Kenneth Cheung at Audiovisual Technique.

Jianmin Xiao, president of Shanghai Foremost Multimedia, is involved in the dome projection area at the Urban Planet Pavilion and explains: “Here, we have a 20 meter-wide inner dome spherical screen that uses 11 Panasonic D1000 projectors. With German-made dome projection auto calibration technology, we are able to obtain accurate and wonderful geometry correction data. It’s easily imported into Watchout software (using its open protocols) to produce a highly accurate display inside the sphere.”

In total there are over 200 organisations participating at the Expo, which covers a land area larger than the state of Monaco. The event is expected to attract over 70 million visitors before it closes on 31 October.
(Picture (c) Kuno Giesel)