Due to open in April 2008, the National Opera House is the biggest cultural project in Norway. Completely replacing the city’s current theatre, the main hall of the new building will accommodate nearly 1400 audience members, with seats for 400 in an adjacent smaller theatre. The large auditorium is designed in classical form with a horseshoe-type plan and a high ceiling height, and extraordinary care and attention are being lavished on its acoustics.
TTA’s newly-appointed Scandinavian distributor Benum will deliver the order, which is for a complete Stagetracker 16XR system with audio matrix and dual RadioEye detectors. TTA will also supply its FX Audio Editor which provides control and arrangement functions for sound effect playback.
The TTA Stagetracker system is expected to be used in both auditoria, with the large stage area of the main hall utilising two RadioEye tracking devices, which will be mounted in the truss above the stage or around the perimeter of the performance space.
Benum is a significant contractor to the National Opera House project, delivering all pro-audio and video equipment including stage manager systems, and one of the biggest control systems ever built for an opera house. “The sound engineers at the Opera House are most excited about the Stagetracker system,” reports Benum’s Ronald Hernes. “They see it as a piece of technology that will really help them to do their job better, allowing them to concentrate on their sound mix rather than audio positioning.”
TTA’s playback software development is already popular in Norway: Trondheim’s famous Trøndelag Teater has Stagetracker and TTA FX Audio Editor systems already in use. Representing the TTA product line throughout Scandinavia, Benum is already receiving intense interest in the Stagetracker system from other prominent theatres.
The TTA Stagetracker is an innovative performer tracking and audio positioning system that brings a completely new dimension to theatre sound.
TTA Stagetracker Audio Matrix®
The Stagetracker Audio Matrix® routes each input to 16 speaker channels.
TTA FX Audio Editor®
The Audio Editor is an easy-to-use cue-based playback and arrangement software for sound effect playback.
How Does It Work?
Ever since theatre productions began using amplification, audiences have regularly complained that the sound in the auditorium has left them feeling less connected to the performance. The voices of the performers often sound unnatural and do not seem to originate from the actors themselves.
TTA’s Stagetracker system finally overcomes these problems by utilising sophisticated hardware and software to track the positions of performers on stage. Stagetracker applies this positional information to the signal from the actor’s microphone, allowing the actor’s voice to follow him naturally as he moves around the stage! All of this happens automatically and in real time, leaving the sound engineer to concentrate on the mix.
Each of the principle performers carries a matchbox-sized radio-transmitting TTA Tag. As the performer moves around the stage, the position of the Tag is continuously tracked by the intelligent Stagetracker RadioEye mounted above the stage. The RadioEye then sends this positional information to the PC control software.
Stagetracker currently supports up to 16 tracking inputs. Several RadioEyes may be linked together in order to cover a performance area the size of a football field. The Stagetracker system is connected using standard CAT 5 network cables. No system calibration is necessary, Stagetracker is truly Plug n’ Play.
The Stagetracker Matrix receives the performer’s position information from the Stagetracker control software and the audio signal from the theatre mixing console. The stage floor is divided into small squares (Virtual Audio Zones), and each audio zone has a distinct matrix setup to allow the sound seemingly to originate from this point on stage. The audio signal is then continuously moved to the relevant Virtual Audio Zone within the matrix. By using psychoacoustic theorems, the sound is given direction, and the Stagetracker Audio Matrix uses TTA’s intelligent SmoothMove algorithm to allow smooth movement of the sound. The audience experiences the voice of a performer originating from the exact location on stage where the performer is standing.
The Stagetracker control software also features a 3D user interface where the movements of the performers are reproduced in real time on the PC screen. For even more realism, 3D stage set details may be entered directly or imported into the software.