Mammoth digital array blasts out Star Trek Australian premiere

Epic movies may join musicals at the Opera House

The latest $218.5 million Star Trek film beamed down to one of the most advanced cinemas of its kind last night to blast Sydney-based Trekkies from their seats.

Some of the world’s most advanced audio and visual equipment was delivered to the Sydney Opera House for the premiere of the 11th instalment of the sci-fi series, which chronicles the early days of the USS Enterprise.

About 1500 Sydney viewers watched the premiere over the industry’s brightest and clearest Barco projectors, splashed over a German-designed 2048x1080 CinemaScope screen. They were also treated to more than 3 tonnes of forward-facing audio equipment from D&B Audiotechnik, which swept audio across the complex where 16 double 18" sub woofers alone were used for the FX. All of this tied together with Dolby processing and a massive audio network setup featuring an Australian designed protocol "Dante".

The 125kg projectors, a Barco DP 3000 and 2000 sourced from Germany, were housed in a custom-built, sound-proof and air-conditioned booth and connected to an array of over 80 sound speakers over Ethernet using the Dolby Dante protocol, as well as Dolby Lake processors and 30 amplifiers.

Controls were digital, which improved fault resolutions and monitoring, right down to the wireless tablet PC which replaced the mixing desk.

The installation and design crew, which hailed from the US and Sydney, had the cinema set-up and fault tested within three days, and a comfortable couple of hours before the opening. Designers were given a week’s lead time to design the setup.

Jeremy Christian who was the Sydney Opera House system technician for the build, said the set-up was a first for the Opera House and one of the latest global instances of digital technology superseding analogue. Many of the Opera Houses traditional theatre based technologies are now moving to network solutions and the kind of collaboration between IT and Production design that was necessary to deliver this project are a key component in their ever expanding universe.

With Star Trek obsessed bloggers and Twitterers scrawling fervid outpouring all over the Internet, the premiere could usher in a new era for our iconic cultural hub which has always desired cinema as part of it's programming offer.

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