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Open Air Cinema in XXL Format with EV XLE & XLD

September 14th, 2006



However idyllic the Landgrave’s Residence in Butzbach may seem as a venue, it poses awkward problems for production companies, as the palace, built 700-years ago by Landgrave Philipp of Hessen-Butzbach, is situated plumb in the middle of the town. This means the level of noise emissions from events staged there is very strictly controlled.

Indeed, two years ago the future of the Open Air Film Festival, for which the palace provides the setting, seemed in doubt after local residents expressed their concern about the level of noise emissions. A number of reports were then commissioned and decibel levels measured. The upshot was a stay of execution for the event - conditional on a solution being found that would both focus high quality audio upon the cinemagoers and avoid disturbing the 25,000 residents of the town. If a workable solution existed, clearly it would involve the use of a line array.

Festival Sound Consultant Gregor Sauer commented: “Reflections from the surrounding buildings pose an enormous acoustic challenge at this venue, but the team led by Ingo Haasch and Matthias Zörb managed to eliminate them with ease. In fact, the film theatre, host, local residents and people of Butzbach were unanimous in their praise for the way the sound reinforcement problems were handled in 2006.“

To focus sound pressure up to 2,400 cinemagoers, Haasch & Co opted for a combination of Electro-Voice line arrays - XLE (left and right) and XLD (center) - a set-up that, according to Gregor Sauer, provided not only very even distribution of the sound but also “outstanding intelligibility.“ The choice and positioning of the enclosures - alongside and above the screen - ensured optimum coverage of the audience and minimal sound spillage into the surrounding residential area.

The paramount consideration when determining the dimensions of the system was not sound pressure but directivity. Early in the deliberations, it was decided not to position the speakers systems behind the screen, as is the usual practice, but all around it: in other words, above, below, and to the left and right of, it. “This was the only way of ensuring that the coherence of the waveform - a vital characteristic of line arrays - was not disturbed by the screen,“ explained Ingo Haasch. The second thing to be considered was array length: “The longer the array, the greater the control you have over the sound dispersion - even at lower frequencies. Since a film soundtrack consists primarily of dialogue, the directivity of the system needs to be pronounced all the way down to 500 Hz,“ Sauer added, “paying critical attention to the region between 1 kHz and 4 kHz with regard to noise levels.“

The final challenge was to ensure the uniformity of the frequency response and sound pressure levels throughout the entire 60 x 50 meter audience area. For this purpose, numerous simulations were conducted using EASE and EV’s own Line Array Prediction System (LAPS). “The configuration we opted for proved highly efficient, since both the vertical and the horizontal dispersion angles were very precisely delimited,“ reports Matthias Zörb, whose company, Zörb Acoustic GmbH, was responsible for the installation and operation of the sound equipment. “In the cinema, the sound from the left and right systems must be a 100% match for that of the center - otherwise the sonic image quickly disintegrates. Since all the loudspeakers were being driven in biamp or triamp modes, and switched in several separate groups, it was possible to fine-tune the drivers perfectly.“

Ralf Bartel, organizer of the Butzbach event, described the problems posed by open-air cinema productions: “With feature films, the dynamic range is very great: quiet passages of dialogue are often followed by very loud action sequences-and all this in an already noise-filled environment. If you want each of the 2,000 or more cinemagoers to be able to hear every word of the dialogue, there is a certain level beneath which you cannot go.“ “Nonetheless,“ remembers Gregor Sauer, “in this case the sound during the action scenes was not excessive. In fact, the balance was absolutely perfect.“

Ute Wieland, the director of the film “FC Venus“ which was screened in Butzbach on the 3rd August, was of the same opinion. “She was really enthusiastic about the sound quality,“ says Sauer: “In fact, she told me that she had attended screenings of her film at a number of other open air cinemas, but none could touch Butzbach in terms of intelligibility and evenness of sound distribution.“

The following equipment was used at the Butzbach Open Air Film Festival 2006:

18 x EV XLE181

11 x EV XLD281

4 x EV X-Sub

8 x Dynacord Cobra PWH sub

4 x EV CP3000S amplifiers

4 x Dynacord LX2200 amplifiers

2 x EV P2000 amplifiers

1 x EV P3000 amplifiers

5 x EV Dx38 processors

A Dolby® CP500 cinema processor provided the signals

###

Guy Low

Public Relations Producer

Telex Communications, Inc.

12000 Portland Ave. South

Burnsville, MN 55337

Phone: 952-736-3935

Fax: 952-736-4582

guy.low@us.telex.com

James Edlund

Public Relations Manager

Telex Communications, Inc.

12000 Portland Ave. South

Burnsville, MN 55337

Phone: 952-736-3901

Fax: 952-736-4582

james.edlund@us.telex.com

press contact:
Guy Low
Manager, PR/Media

(952) 736-3935
guy.low@us.bosch.com
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