The launch of Virgin Media’s movies-on-demand service - Virgin Movies, has been held on a helipad, 18 floors above central London. The challenge of delivering high quality surround sound for an outdoor showing of The Dark Knight Rises fell to Urban Audio Productions, who used Yamaha’s StageMix iPad app for the occasion.
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 designed a compact system which could be transported up and down 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,” said Urban Audio’s technical director Dan Lewis. “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.
“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,” added Lewis. “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.”