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Electrosonic, USA Rise to the Challenge at Expo

2010. 8 August

The main show at the USA Pavilion

by Wang Feizhou

( At over 60,000 square feet (6,000 square meters), the USA Pavilion is one of the largest national pavilions at Expo 2010 Shanghai and has attracted more than 2 million visitors in its first two months of operation.

The pavilion, under the theme "Rise to the Challenge" is a series of Hollywood-style, multi-dimensional presentations that tell the story of the American spirit of perseverance, innovation and community building.

Rising to the challenge of the project was Electrosonic, working on an accelerated schedule to provide show designer and producer integrator 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, pre-show and main show theater. BRC created all content for the USA Pavilion and coordinated the installation of the exterior, custom-framed Panasonic LED video display that showcases clips.

(Electrosonic also tackled the AV at the China Shipbuilding Pavilion at Expo 2010 Shanghai; see here.)

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 comic results).

Electrosonic supplied the Overture with four elevated projection screens, four Panasonic PT-DW6300 HD projectors, Extron JMP9500GL video playback and a 70 V 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 feet by 15 feet. The eight-minute presentation, which displays huge images spanning the three screens or three discrete images, addresses the important U.S.-China relationship with comments from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. HD projection comes from three Panasonic PT-DW10000 projectors; Extron JMP9600s provided synchronous HD video playback.

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 with 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,” said 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 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.

At Electrosonic Steve Calver was project manager for the pavilion with Clay Fullen as site supervisor and Gary Belshaw handling show control programming.

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