The Aquarium of the Pacific, located near the waterfront in Long Beach, California, recently opened its “aquarium of the future,” called Pacific Visions, which features an immersive theatre, multiple interactive art installations, and hands-on multimedia displays. Brian Edwards, owner of Edwards Technologies, the integration firm that designed and installed the theatre AV and FX system at aquarium, says the project is an example of the future of both the AV industry and of storytelling as a whole.
“To create something that truly impresses people today you can’t install just one thing,” Edwards said. “You need to understand the enabling technologies at play. You have to look at it from an IoT (Internet of Things) and network level, and you need to understand how the visual and audio components work together to create the memories people take with them when they leave the space.”
Edwards said he approaches all of his installations with the idea that stories—and the way they are told—are crucial to the human experience. A well-told story, he says, spreads an idea, entertains, and inspires. For the Aquarium of the Pacific, the goal is to engage with visitors in a way that immerses them within the vision of a future where humanity has used innovation to address pressing environmental concerns.
One critical component to achieving that experience, Edwards says, is the sound. To provide an immersive audio experience, the theatre installation features multiple Renkus-Heinz products—including 29 speakers from the company's cutting-edge ICLive X Series.
The ICLive X is Renkus-Heinz’ flexible and scalable solution for precision positioning of sound. The high-output, digitally steerable arrays can be arranged into combinations up to 12 cabinets tall and feature RHAON II beam steering and control. The result is sound placed where it belongs: on the audience.
The installation also features nine Renkus-Heinz speakers from the company’s C-Series, a Strong/MDI Screen & Frame, Panasonic PT-RQ22KU 4K Laser Projectors, a Seventh Sense Infinity-4-3600 Media Server, Medialon Showmaster LE show control processor, Blackmagic Design ATEM video presentation processors and ATEM console, an Extron SMP 111 Streaming Media processor, a QSC Q-SYS Core 510 audio processor, and a Yamaha QL-1 audio mixer.
Other unique features of the theatre installation include Aurasound Bass Shakers, CITC Hurricane II and Reel EFX RE5 fans, and SensoryCo scent machines.
Thanks to the combination of leading technologies that consider all senses, those who attend a showing in the theatre leave with more than just textbook knowledge of what the future for our planet could be. Rather, they exit with an experience of what our future might look, sound and feel like.
“Telling stories today requires the use of tomorrow’s tools and Renkus-Heinz is right at the forefront of that,” Edwards said. “What you see at the aquarium is the application of tomorrow’s tools. Everyone is really happy with the result, and more than that, I believe this is the trend for AV and storytelling. This is where we’re going with technology, and everyone needs to be looking at it to see, and hear, how it can be done the right way.”