"What If" Theater
The "What If" theater is located in the Cosmos exhibition area and uses a highly immersive 360-degree circular screen with 7.1.4 3D immersive sound to create an enveloping universe for the audience. Shanghai Motion Magic Digital Creative Technology Co., Ltd. ("Motion Magic") undertook the important task of audio and video design and production for the immersive experience of the "What If" theater.
The 7.1.4 speaker layout of the theater is tailor-made for the architectural structure and sound field of the theater and does not meet any existing audio production standards (such as Dolby Atmos® or Auro 3D). It is a typical "user-defined" environment. This layout posed a problem for Motion Magic. At the beginning of demo production, whenever sound effects producers took audio files mixed in a standard surround sound recording studio and played them in situ, they were always "very different" from what they heard during production due to the different placement of the speakers. In ordinary surround sound recording studios the lack of sky channels severely compromises the live effect of immersive sound. The project site only had a replay environment with no production equipment. The sound effects production staff of Motion Magic went back and forth between the urban recording studio and the planetarium, but they were still unable to produce satisfactory immersive sound effects. After studying on-site sound reinforcement and immersive sound production systems, the sound designer Mr. Chen Baizhou decided to move the Merging audio production system to the site and turn the theater into a mixing studio to achieve "what you hear is what you get".
Immersive sound production
The sound reinforcement system of the "What If" theater is an audio network based on the Dante protocol. Motion Magic uses the Pyramix MassCore audio workstation system based on the RAVENNA protocol as the core of audio production with a MERGING+HAPI handling the outputs. Through the AES67 protocol, the two are successfully connected on-site in Dante Controller. In this way, the theater speakers become monitor speakers for the sound effects production. The sound effect producer uses the "user-defined" bus function in Pyramix to input the position coordinates of the live speakers into the software one by one, so that in the Pyramix audio workstation, they have a 3D immersion that is exactly the same as the live speaker layout and position. Now the "What If" theater has become a production environment for the mixers. Through the processing of more than 100 audio tracks and dozens of effect plug-ins, the sound effect production masters of Motion Magic, a 12-channel 7.1.4 3D immersive sound file of the "What If" theater version of the Shanghai Astronomy Museum was finally completed. The finished immersive sound file perfectly fits the live acoustic conditions and speaker layout to achieve a satisfactory 3D experience.
Mr. Zhu Jie, technical director of Beijing Dreamula Digital Technology Co., Ltd., the support center of Merging Asia Pacific, was honored to lead his team in participating in the project implementation. Merging Technologies’ equipment will accompany the public on their journey to find the truth of the universe!
Shanghai Planetarium exterior from above
Shanghai Planetarium exterior
Shanghai Planetarium interior
Auditorium - Mix Position