VIOSO Helps Transform Octave 9’s Orchestra Musical Experience in Seattle

Düsseldorf (Germany), 05th May 2021 – When the Seattle Symphony orchestra wanted to explore the realms of music through audio and visual representation, they envisioned creation of a space that would immerse the audience into a music experience unlike any other.

The Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Centre is named after Seattle philanthropists James and Sherry Raisbeck, who donated $2 million on top of the various public and private donations to transform the former Soundbridge Seattle Symphony Music Discovery Centre into a musical experience to remember. Fusing music and technology, Octave 9 was designed to stretch the boundaries of creative possibility and immerse the viewer in new worlds created with the orchestra’s music. 

With this in mind, the technology implemented in this immersive space needed to be fully adaptable to match the variety of genres and eras recreated by the orchestra, and able to change at the touch of a button. US based acoustic and AV design firm Jaffe Holden contacted German projection specialist VIOSO in order to provide installation support and calibration for the visual aspects. 

“When we were contacted for the visual content of this project, it was immediately a very exciting prospect,” said Kevin Zevchik, director of VIOSO America. “The complexity and purpose of the project, along with the need for it to be entirely flexible to any future needs, made it a very interesting project to be part of.”

The visual complexity with the project laid within the cylindrical moving screens, which surround Octave 9’s intimate demonstration space and move on an overhead track, in some instances, more than 270 degrees around the room. 

“With the screens being quickly moveable, and the demand for change to happen between performances to support the experience of the music visually, we needed to offer a projection solution that allowed for a simple, touch of a button recalibration for any changes in the screen positions,” said Garth Hemphill of Jaffe Holden.

The VIOSO America team created a viable solution utilising two of VIOSO’s Anystation Pro media server to provide media and playback operation for the cylindrical panels and the eight panel LCD video wall at the front of the room. The Anystation Pro pair use Wings VIOSO RX, VIOSO’s software created in partnership with AV Stumpfl, for the cylinder mapping. This solution employs a camera-based calibration technology to keep the 10 ultra-short throw projectors in perfect warp and blend.

“With a single mounted fisheye camera in the centre of the room, re-calibrations for the system are as easy as a single push button command, which will then visualise the projection on the panels, convert the compound to cylinder, and export to Wings VIOSO RX,” Zevchik explained. “This recalibration system was pivotal to the design, as it mitigates the need for any projectionist to come out and re-map the projection each time the screens are altered.”

Along with initial set up and calibration, VIOSO America provided installation support to Diversified US, the integrator, and trained the staff on the Avio show control functions. The Avio show control functions take commands from the Creston system to facilitate the needs of the performance, and sends triggers to Wings VIOSO RX to not only change the type of content but to also switch the live inputs in the system.

The visual space additionally supports the audio upgrades made to Octave 9 to boost the experience of the music. 62 small full-range loudspeakers coupled with 10 compact subwoofers from Meyer Sound to extend the reverberation of the instruments, and 28 miniature microphones are spread across the ceiling to pick up sounds.

“VIOSO was chosen because of the need for auto-calibration but we also were able to provide the adaptability needed for the project to be flexible for many, many years to come. The eventual outcome of this project was an incredible transformation of musical experience with 21st century technology,” said Zevchik. “To think all of this is confined into a small physical space in a building on the corner of a busy intersection. So much thought was put into every detail of the room, and all aspects were focused on a simple, but beautiful, design.” 

Pictures courtesy of Meyer Sound/Benjamin Benschneide

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