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Guildford School of Acting prepares for immersive technology experience with TiMax

Guildford School of Acting was offered the chance to experience TiMax’s immersive technology by OutBoard, through activities like a seminar, an interactive workshop, and the utilisation of this technology for producing 9 to 5

Guildford School of Acting was a recent recipient of a TiMax spatial-type delay-matrix, offered by Outboard. The system comes with a TiMax Tracker to help students experience the formation of immersive audio designing.

Students of technical theatre at the school gained significantly from the hands-on encounter facilitated by OutBoard. The experience was vivid as the students were able to generate powerful soundscapes and sound-based vocal outputs, which are intended to be used for their on-stage musical production, titled 9 to 5.

 

Following the student production, course teacher Sam Digny and Justin Teasdale, a sound design guest mentor, conducted a series of seminar sessions to exhibit the experience they gained and how the TiMax immersive technology was successfully harnessed. The event was attended by notable industry professionals including numerous production managers, local hire organisations, and both current and past students.

Robin Whittaker from OutBoard hosted a session during the morning for the event. He introduced TiMax and discussed the broader perspectives of sound related principles with those present. He asked a question regarding how far it is possible to go beyond the type of fidelity already readily available with contemporary loudspeaker systems. Apart from fidelity, Whittaker stressed on the importance of localisation as a key aspect of the entire immersive sphere. He pointed to the GuildFord stage environs as an example, stating that numerous localisations can make experiences more impactful for all audience members.

Teasdale, during his afternoon session, showcased the dynamic nature of the 9 to 5 soundscape. It includes several elements such as the band’s panoramic-type spatialisation, vocal localisation of the main cast members. The musical band was at an off-stage position.

The Bellaris theatre of the school, which consists of a classic hung-type LCR Optima 5 array system, was enhanced with the addition of a centre right and a centre left hang unit for production purposes. The two units, leased from Inspired Audio, gave more body and character for the object-based spatial image rendering of the TiMax system. Two full range Inspired Audio MQ12 enclosures were added to the setup facilitate better front fill.

According to Teasdale, sound cannot be explained as it is not physically visible. However, the change to the TiMax soundscape was quite dynamic and the differences were prominent. Audience members present in the seminar space could experience the audio opening up. This increased the realism factor, as it felt like the musicians were within the room as the audio dynamics could be followed effortlessly.

He further elaborated regarding the experience, stating that since contemporary theatre audiences are quite familiar with entertain forms like film, television and mobile audio, the audio accompanying the on-stage visuals also need to be exciting. The sound presentation created by TiMax gained the appreciation of audience members.

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