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News in pictures 21 September 2011

HMS Belfast is all guns blazing thanks to Sarner; Onelan digital signage pays off at Shanghai bund sightseeing tunnel; Victory for Renkus-Heinz at New York Basilica; Healthy solution from Symetrix

Visitors to HMS Belfast, docked on London’s River Thames near the Tower of London, have been able to experience what it would have been like to fight at sea during World War II with the thrilling new Gun Turret Experience: A Sailor’s Story, 1943.

This dynamic addition to the historic ship has been created, produced and installed by Sarner, a specialist in design and build services for the museum, theme park and leisure industry. Sarner has created a feast for all the senses using lights, imagery, sound, smoke effects, movement and smells to recreate the atmosphere and conditions of a cramped gun turret with its crew at action stations.

Commenting on the project, Sarner’s Head of Technical Installations, Shane Winterbourne, says, “As a child I used to stage battles with toy ships and fighter jets so I thoroughly enjoyed this project as it made me feel like a kid again!”

In small groups of 15-20, visitors step into the Gun Turret Experience and embark on an unforgettable journey, following the story of a young sailor on HMS Belfast on Boxing Day, 1943. With the sighting of the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst, they’re transported back in time to the Battle of North Cape and become part of the Gun crew under the command of the Captain and Gunnery Officer. As the central gun is raised for firing, a specially designed moving platform shakes the floor as the gun ‘shoots’, recreating the force of a firing gun of this scale. The fully immersive space recreates the sensations of war at sea and offers visitors a new way to understand the extraordinary experiences of the sailors who served on HMS Belfast within a live action atmosphere.

Located along the famous Shanghai bund, the bund sightseeing tunnel connects the Puxi to the Oriental Pearl Radio and Television Tower in Pudong. Modern technologies are applied to the interior walls of the tunnel, providing passengers with pictures, patterns and views to make them feel as if they were right at the scene.

As part of the bund sightseeing tunnel’s tenth anniversary, a photography booth service was started. The bund management was looking for innovative ways to promote its latest offering. They chose digital signage as they decided that it would be an excellent tool to attract the attention of potential customers.

The state-of-the-art display system complements existing technology in the tunnel, playing high-definition MPEG videos and JPEG with crystal clear audio content. A Onelan 510 Net-Top-Box was installed to drive two 47-inch screens, both of which are located at the Puxi entrance of the sightseeing tunnel. There are similar plans to do the same at the Pudong entrance.

The easy drag and drop function using an FTP server allows digital photographs of potential customers to be displayed almost instantaneously on the TV screens. This enables customers to check their photographs thoroughly prior to purchase.

Our Lady of Victory National Shrine and Basilica is one of New York’s popular tourist destinations. Long renowned for its impressive collection of religious artwork and breathtaking 19th century French architecture, the church receives nearly 2,000 visitors monthly who come to attend services or simply to view its magnificent structural design and awe-inspiring collection of religious sculptures and artwork.

The historical basilica is visually stunning but its vaulted ceilings and abundance of hard surfaces create acoustical challenges for audio engineers during religious services. Desiring to eliminate as much reverb as possible and increase speech intelligibility, Our Lady of Victory recently installed a Renkus-Heinz Iconyx digitally steerable line array system for enhanced sound quality.

The basilica’s new high-performance audio system utilizes several Iconyx IC16 loudspeakers mounted on four marble columns flanking the main altar. Featuring audiophile-quality digital electronics and multi-channel amplifiers, the Iconyx digitally steerable array technology provides highly directional sound that can be focused on the listener, thereby eliminating reverb caused by sound bouncing off hard surfaces.

Iconyx also allows for the array’s acoustic center to be raised or lowered electronically which greatly improves high frequency performance with consistent broad horizontal dispersion.

Installation of the IC16 system had minimal impact on the basilica’s aesthetics. Iconyx enclosures are tall, slender and designed to flush mount so they blend invisibly into almost any architectural environment.

Schoolcraft College is a public community college that enrolls 36,000 students per year offering both certificate and associate degree programs in Livonia, Garden City, USA and online. Schoolcraft recently completed construction on a state-of-the-art Health Professions Simulation Lab (HPSL) in its Biomedical Technology Center.

The HPSL features a birthing room, a procedure room, and two patient rooms. Using sophisticated medical mannequins and hospital-grade equipment, all four rooms are flexible enough to present common and rare situations to which healthcare professionals must be trained to respond appropriately. A comprehensive monitoring system using Symetrix’ SymNet digital audio processing and B-Line Medical SimCapture recording technologies allows students, with the help of their instructors, to review and improve their performances.

Each of the four rooms contains compact Panasonic video cameras located in strategic locations (eg at the head, foot, and sides of the bed, where equipment is located, above the scrub sink, etc), which, together with two-way audio from Revolabs wireless microphones, routes through an AMX control device before entering the SimCapture hardware and software.

With one for every simulation room, four SymNet 8×8 DSP units handle input and output routing, as well as signal conditioning, for all audio paths. Inputs include microphones in the simulation rooms, as well as talkback microphones from the control room. Outputs include the SimCapture system, JBL loudspeakers within the simulation rooms and control room (powered by Crown amplifiers), and ear sets that can be worn by the instructor or individuals participating in a simulation.