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Attracting over two million visitors in its first two months of operation, the USA Pavilion at Expo 2010 Shanghai China delivers its Rise to the Challenge theme in a series of Hollywood-style, multi-dimensional presentations that tell the story of the American spirit of perseverance, innovation and community building.
Electrosonic rose to the challenge of a very compressed schedule to provide BRC Imagination Arts with system technical design, engineering, fabrication, installation, encoding and show technical programming for the AV and control systems in the pavilion lobby, preshow and main show theater. BRC was the show designer and producer and created all content for the USA Pavilion. The company also coordinated the installation of the exterior, custom-framed Panasonic LED video display that showcases clips.
Upon entering the pavilion visitors are ushered into the Overture section, which functions as a welcome lobby. There, in an informal and fun environment, they view a four-minute montage of the American landscape intercut with everyday people and celebrities – including Kobe Bryant and Tony Hawk – attempting to welcome visitors with Chinese words and phrases with sometimes hilarious results.
Electrosonic supplied the Overture with four elevated projection screens, four Panasonic PT-DW6300 HD projectors, Extron JMP9500GL video playback and a 70 volt distributed overhead audio system featuring JBL speakers.
The Preshow, or Act I, follows. Visitors are seated on benches in a theater outfitted with a trio of side-by-side large projection screens measuring approximately a total of 78×15 feet. The eight-minute presentation, which displays huge images spanning the three screens or three discrete images, addresses the important US-China relationship with comments from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. HD projection was accomplished with three Panasonic PT-DW10000 projectors; Extron JMP9600s provided synchronous HD video playback. A multi-track surround sound system was also installed.
The Mainshow, or Act II, showcases the story of “The Garden” told with live-action imagery, CGI, and 4D effects such as vibrating seats, mist and lighting. The creative film illustrates how a 10-year old girl dreams of turning a vacant lot into an urban oasis and inspires her neighbors to make her dream come true.
The show is displayed on five, 30-foot tall screens, each with a unique trapezoidal or hourglass shape oriented in portrait mode. They are rimmed with LED light frames choreographed to change color and mimic the beat and mood of the content—833 lighting cues in less than eight minutes. With no dialogue, the film’s visuals, lighting and music combine to deliver the message of community to the visitors.
“It was quite a challenge to rig and install the screens with their height, different shapes and proximity to each other, ” notes senior project manager Thursby Pierce. “Although the content had been masked for display on the screens, we also had to handle masking in the five Panasonic PT-DW10000 projectors, too.” Electrosonic also furnished the dynamic multitrack surround system and tactile transducers under the seats for sub-frequency vibrations.
All show control is accomplished via Medialon. Operator control consoles throughout the pavilion utilize 12-inch touch screen computers instead of traditional button panels.
Visitors exit the Mainshow into Act III where 22 corporate pavilion sponsors spotlight the best in American business and technology. Electrosonic provided the distributed audio system for background music in this area as well as three ceiling-mounted Panasonic PT-DW6300 projectors for three of the sponsors. Electrosonic performs the equipment maintenance and service for not only the pavilion but for each of the sponsors’ exhibits as well.
Electrosonic also supports the USA Pavilion’s outdoor stage system, where live shows and podium-style presentations are held, with front of house audio mix control, wireless mics and JBL speakers. Cameras may be hooked to the video system and feed the exterior LED display if desired.
In the pavilion show equipment is divided between two linked equipment rooms: The primary room contains four racks, three dedicated to all AV and control head-end equipment necessary for the attraction and one dedicated to the Preshow amplifiers. A secondary room on the second floor houses all the amps for the Mainshow. As a temporary attraction, the pavilion’s design complexity was kept to a minimum and the focus was on using quality, stable and readily-available components and equipment.
“Since power can be unstable in China, each show room and the equipment rooms have temperature, humidity and voltage monitoring equipment to alert us to any potential problems, ” explains Pierce. “A server system emails status reports to us – associate project manager Matt Sweeney and audio engineer and lead tech Phil Shaw remain onsite – and remotely to BRC.”
Electrosonic Design Consulting provided guidance to the exhibit designers on AV equipment selections, projection geometry, facility impact, and budgeting. The team starts by responding to the creative drawings provided by the designers and identifying equipment that meets the creative intent. A number of projection studies were produced for the venue that demonstrated proof of concept and allowed them to verify the equipment selections. Electrosonic Design Consulting also create facility impact drawings, which provide cable, electrical power and heating/cooling requirements to the project’s engineers so they can design the infrastructure that allows all of the AV equipment to operate properly. The decisions from these initial consultations set the groundwork for how the overall systems would operate. Each project was turned over to Electrosonic’s Engineering Department for further refinement, fabrication and installation.
From the celebrated Expo67 in Montreal to the last major Expo in 2005 in Aichi, Japan, Electrosonic has an extensive credit roster of international expos stretching from Brisbane and Osaka to New Orleans and Lisbon. Electrosonic’s participation in Expo 2010 Shanghai now pushes the number of projects the company has completed for these fairs to over 50.
At Electrosonic Steve Calver was project manager for the pavilion with Clay Fullen as site supervisor and Gary Belshaw handling show control programming.
Electrosonic and BRC have worked together on numerous Expos in the past and the USA Pavilion and the Shanghai Expo is just another example of their combined success.
Electrosonic is an international audio-visual company with a strong reputation for working on complex projects, both large and small, and has through its 46 year history developed lasting partnerships with customers and suppliers. Electrosonic brings a unique breadth of experience to each project; backed by solid engineering skills, project management and quality production facilities. Beyond complete integrated systems, Electrosonic can provide a wide range of services including consultancy, technical design, maintenance and operational support.
Learn more about Electrosonic. Visit https://www.electrosonic.com
About USA Pavilion
At over 60, 000 square feet (6, 000 square meters), the USA Pavilion is one of the largest national pavilions at the Expo. With the theme of “Rising to the Challenge”, the United States presence will showcase American culture, values, innovation and business in one of China’s most dynamic cities, while celebrating the friendship and cooperation between the United States, China and the rest of the world.
USA Pavilion official website: www.usapavilion2010.com