Unique Virgin Movies Launch Event Sees Yamaha Rise With The Dark Knight
The helipad of an 18 storey building on a cold winter’s night is not a typical place for a cinema screening, but the launch of Virgin Media’s movies-on-demand service Virgin Movies was no typical event. The challenge of delivering high quality (and high-rise) surround sound for an outdoor showing of The Dark Knight Rises fell to Urban Audio Productions, for whom Yamaha’s StageMix iPad app was - almost literally - a lifesaver!
Located hundreds of feet above east London’s Shoe Lane, the unique venue provided the audience of competition winners with a suitably Gotham City-esque setting, although the unpredictability of the British winter weather meant that the screening’s date had to be postponed a couple of times.
Access to the helipad was very tight - through the front door of the building, up 16 floors in a conventional lift and then two further floors via an exterior stairway - so Urban Audio’s Technical Director Dan Lewis designed a compact system which could be transported up and down fairly easily, but which delivered high quality sound.
“The system needed to be as light and compact as possible, but obviously the prestige of the event meant that the system had to sound great, even outdoors in a busy city in winter,” says Dan. “We chose Nexo PS8, PS10 and LS400 loudspeakers for their quality and punch, with a Yamaha LS9 mixing the audio, controlled from an iPad using StageMix.”
The audio control had to be out of sight and safety restrictions meant no cover tent was permitted. So, once the LS9 was installed immediately below the helipad, it was wrapped up tightly for weather-proofing and all control done using StageMix. This also turned out to bring a number of benefits to Dan and the Urban Audio team.
“It was brilliant being able to sit with the projectionist and set the entire system up on an iPad, without having to continually run up and down to the console,” says Dan. “For the performance, it was very cold, but the audience was well wrapped up and been given Virgin Movies ‘onesies’. We didn’t have that luxury, but StageMix allowed us to control the audio system from the lobby below the helipad, so we could maintain at least some warmth!
"Both the LS9 and StageMix were rock steady throughout and provided all the functionality we needed to deliver high quality audio in this unique environment. They helped to make the event a complete success and generate a lot of publicity for the Virgin Movies launch.”