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Young Vic saves time on 360° sound with tracking system

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The Young Vic theatre in London has invested in an Out Board TiMax TrackerD4 stagetracking system as it gears up for the arrival of off-Broadway hit Oklahoma in February and the world premiere of Mandela this autumn.

Requests for a TiMax TrackerD4 system to control the new Soundscape upgrade for the theatre’s d&b sound system were made by the Oklahoma design team and the sound designer for Mandela. Following an investigation into stagetracking systems by the theatre’s head of sound Kyle MacPherson and his team, the Young Vic purchased a TiMax TrackerD4 system with eight sensors and 16 tags for the actors.

“We looked at all the systems on the market, but TiMax was operationally the better choice, with fewer sensors needed for pinpoint accuracy across the auditorium area and just one tag per actor, where some systems required two,” said MacPherson. “Also, because TiMax Tracker was purpose-built for audio, it immediately worked as you’d expect it to.”

The theatre had originally planned to hire the TiMax TrackerD4 system for the duration of the two new musicals, but decided to purchase one when the potential cost savings were calculated.

The TiMax TrackerD4 negates the need for the lengthy process of pre-programming the actor positions into Soundscape. On a recent production, MacPherson said the pre-programming took three to four days. “That’s 30 person-hours we have saved by getting tracking,” he said. “Already we’re in a position where we’re saving money.”

MacPherson said on shows that have used the TiMax TrackerD4 system, “everyone was impressed with how natural the show sounded and how easy it was in tech to simply change elements of the production that affected scenery or blocking, without having to reprogram anything”. He added: “We would never have been able to achieve that natural sound without TiMax tracking and we’ve saved ourselves so much time.”

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