Before Cleveland Cavaliers basketball fans enter the over 19,000-seat Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse (opens in new tab) in downtown, Cleveland, Ohio, many will have the opportunity of experiencing a very special portal leading into the multi-purpose venue thanks to Metinteractive (opens in new tab) (Oxford, CT) design and install of a d&b audiotechnik (opens in new tab) Soundscape (opens in new tab)system and some very clever digital video content.
Michael Conley, SVP & Chief Information Officer for the Cavaliers, had something very specific in mind for the Fieldhouse, which is also home to the Cleveland Monsters AHL hockey team and over 200 ticketed events annually. Working with Cavalier designers, he wanted something spectacular entering the building portal...one tunnel that people would walk through before getting to the seating area. Then, making their way through the atrium, fans would be exposed to what has been dubbed a "power" portal, a seamless dvLED tunnel experience designed and implemented by ANC LiveSync (opens in new tab) and coupled with a state-of-the-art immersive sound system, d&b audiotechnik's Soundscape, all designed and installed by Met Interactive.
"Met Interactive came up with a layout for the portal very quickly," said project leader Richard Gold. "d&b Soundscape using the DS100 processo (opens in new tab)r with En-Scene (opens in new tab) software was one of our earliest decisions and gave us the ability to move the sound around the space to be aligned with the video content. The system and speakers are hidden under LED sidewalls primarily. When the project team realized more speakers were required, we added speakers at ceiling height at either end of the portal." All in all, Met Interactive, ANC, and Cavaliers' designers spent close to a year working on details pertaining to the architecture of the portal.
Soundscape is the ideal solution for an immersive fan experience. Powered by the DS100 Signal Engine, an advanced audio system processor based on a powerful Dante enabled signal matrix, the d&b Soundscape provides unparalleled creativity through its two software modules En-Scene and En-Space.
"We set out to create a tunnel that looked spectacular and very clean with the objective to create buzz so that fans would seek out that tunnel every time they entered the building for a game or event," says Conley.
The focus then turned to content with theatrical sound design performed by Broken Chord (opens in new tab), conversations with the creative teams building the video, and field trips to d&b Asheville, NC, for system demonstrations. The Cavs built their own content design studio on premises so they can continually update material for each home game. What the content and video could look like was helpful for the sound designers. Gold said they didn't have to make any adjustments to the sound for consistency between the content studio and the power portal, and that Soundscape exceeded their expectations. "What surprised me in a good way was that we originally planned on the visual to help guide the position of the audio in order to obtain a vertical access, but we found we could also make the sound appear to be coming from the ceiling." The goal of the design of the portal space to include audio and video as an interactive experience for attendees is based on what is scheduled for a particular day, i.e., if it's a Cavaliers game, it's Cavalier-related video. For an Elton John concert, the content was all related to Sir Elton John.
"The power portal has become a popular fan destination and will be for many years to come," added Conley. The organization is also experimenting with piping real-time data into the visual experience, further personalizing a fan's experience while navigating from the atrium to the concourse and back.