Entertainment

Renovation of All Media Technology at the Vanemuine Theater in Tartu, Estonia

The Buildings
The Vanemuine Theater in the Estonian city of Tartu is the oldest theater in the country and its three associated buildings form the only three-genre theater in Estonia: the largest Vanemuine building, which was rebuilt in 1967 after several damages and has almost 700 seats (407 on the parterre, 283 on the balcony), the small historical Vanemuine and the black-box harbor theater on the Estonian Emajõgi river. In 1970, a concert hall with 842 seats was opened after reconstruction works. “Vanemuine” stands for a figure from Estonian mythology that represents music and song. The theater serves a large range of performing arts – theater, opera, operetta, ballet, and musicals – and is operated year-round. The stage features a stage tower, while the main stage provides a left stage and a backstage area. An orchestra pit in the proscenium opens up in front of a large stage portal (proscenium arch).

The Task
Modernizing the Vanemuine Theater is a large renovation project; the theater was restored from the ground up, and in parts, structural changes were even necessary during the modernization phase. Berlin engineering firm Wibbeke & Penders was tasked with planning and implementing the renovation works. International specialist planner Dr. Reiner Chemnitius from Berlin, who also has relevant theater experience, was consulted regarding plans for the media equipment. In 2015, a Europe-wide call for tender followed on the basis of the implementation planning from 2014. Amptown System Company scored well thanks to its experience in large projects, system solutions in theaters, and stage management technology. Another selection criterion was international expertise as the integrator for entertainment technologies on cruise ships. In the final phase of the tender, the Hamburg-based systems house remained the only partner tackling this project. The theater rigging, the stage elevators, the floor plus the complete renovation of the upper and lower machinery were all completed by the Dutch company Trekwerk. The Vanemuine Theater was the contracting authority, represented by theater director Toomas Peterson. The renovation works were split into two phases, with stage management ceasing in each case. In 2016, the lighting and upper machinery was installed, and in 2017, the rotating stage was replaced and the lower machinery installed, as was the media equipment and stage management technology. It was officially opened on September 29, 2017, after preliminary acceptance.

The Solution
During the first phase of construction, ASC was predominantly trusted with the preliminary works in the theater building thanks to its experience in integrating scenic lighting. Therefore, the ASC team (which was project managed by Jan Vandrei and the engineer responsible for planning and commissioning of media equipment, Rüdiger Aue) was also able to optimally support specialist planner Dr. Reiner Chemnitius with the coordination of all works during the second phase of construction, with a particular focus on the sound system and stage management technology. In consultation with the customer and the planner, modern state-of-the-art technology that does full justice to the range of artistic productions was purchased and is ready for the future for a long time to come.

Fiber-Optic Networking
In the Vanemuine Theater, ASC and Dr. Reiner Chemnitius have developed an extensive redundant fiber-optic audio/visual system with special specifications based on Optocore and BroaMan components. The fiber-optic network for audio transmission is configured as a virtual ring network topology (redundancy) with auto-routing. The video and fiber-optic network is set out as a redundant, star-shaped network topology. This is an ultra-modern system equipped with high-definition signals for AV throughout at all junction boxes in the theater. It also enables access to 3G SDI video signals and is transmitted via a fiber-optic interface beneath the rotating stage. This means that there are connection points for connecting video sources and sequences throughout the entire stage area, in the galleries, and on the drawing floor. The video network by BroaMan includes a video matrix with 36 inputs on 40 outputs for the distribution of high-definition video signals on the premises. At the same time, a stage management video system by BroaMan with 12 inputs on 22 outputs organizes video signals from the eight Panasonic full HD cameras AS-HE-130 and presentation monitors in the stage house so that images can be received in this area as well.

Stage Management Console
In close cooperation with the specialist planner and the technical manager, ASC has fitted two consoles with the powerful adunas media control system with real-time capability in the Vanemuine Theater. The large main console is located to the right of the stage and provides maximum ease of use for stage managers in terms of programmability and configuration. All control functions, for example the audio, light, video, curtain, clock functions (stopwatch, timer, time), playback, and gong are realized through two 22" integrated adunas touch panels. In addition, it also controls the most important lighting circuits, such as the provision for the director spotlights, the working lights in front of and underneath the stage and in the galleries. The lighting consoles and stage management system are networked together and “recognize the status” of the other system respectively. A second, smaller mobile stage management console features a touch display and includes the same functionality as the main console, with the exception of the curtain management. This second console is used for rehearsals.

Intercom System
Increasingly complex productions and the resulting increasingly complex requirements placed on communications mean that the intercom system is of extremely high significance in theaters. A modern IP-based system from RTS Intercom Systems has therefore been selected so that the theater can do justice to such exacting requirements. The RTS OMNEO platform developed by Bosch enables simple and flexible networking of all system components using a standard TCP/IP network. For audio transmission, OMNEO uses the popular Dante network and AES70 to transmit control signals. This considerably simplifies the transparent connection of external components and audio signals with the intercom system.

The redundantly designed Adam M Intercom Matrix forms the central element of this intercom system. RTS KP-series intercom control panels distributed throughout the theater are connected via the TCP/IP infrastructure on the premises. The access points of the recently introduced RTS ROAMEO DECT wireless intercom system are also integrated into the whole system transparently using the same infrastructure. The connection of a total of 35 ROAMEO beltpacks is seen to by 13 access points, which ensures building-wide, wireless, full-duplex communication for both rehearsals and showtime. With AZEDIT and IPEDIT, two convenient Windows operating systems are available to the customer for the configuration, management, and monitoring of the whole system.

The Sound System
The sound system in the Vanemuine Theater comprises components from Meyer Sound. The main sound system uses two Leopard line arrays, each made up of seven elements and three 900-LFC subwoofers in a central line array. A two-part center cluster comprising two Leopard elements respectively supplies the parquet and position. 24 UPJ-1XP loudspeakers are responsible for surround application in the hall. The monitoring system on the stage consists of two CAL 64 beam-stearing loudspeakers. Eight UPM-1P loudspeakers are used for front-fill sound in the parquet. The delay line beneath the balcony is made up of eight MM4-XP loudspeakers. Backstage, two full-range UPQ-2P loudspeakers on both sides take care of special effects and provide the acoustic framework, even at rehearsals. Four mobile, active Meyer Sound MJF 210 form the stage monitoring. The sound system is controlled using four Galileo Calisto 616 processors and a Meyer Sound remote monitoring server keeps track of the line arrays.

To shape the sound aesthetically and in an artistic way, an investment has been made in two DiGiCo digital mixing consoles and a redundant Waves server system with ProShow plug-in collection has been put on. A DiGiCo SD7 console is used with the tried-and-tested theater software for scene management as the main console in the hall. Meanwhile, there is an SD10 that enables convenient work in the control room. Both consoles are connected redundantly via a fiber-optic-based digital Optocore audio network and are also connected in FOH and production. They can be used in combination or individually. The Waves plug-ins collection considerably expands the range of audio effects already stored in the mixing consoles so as to satisfy the growing requirements on tonal representation.
There are numerous connection points for microphone inputs installed in the theater and mobile DiGiCo stage boxes – DiGiCo SD racks and DiGiCo mini racks – are used. The Optocore audio network can process 504 audio channels at 96 kHz – the Vanemuine Theater has over 700 inputs. The use of DiGiCo T software enables any number of interfaces to be connected and disconnected. The ensemble regularly goes on tour, and as such, the mobile equipment is also used for guest performances at other locations.

Microphonics
In the Vanemuine Theater, current stage management relies on, among other things, a Shure Axient system with 30 channels. In line with this, the system makes use of 30 AXT-100 bodypack transmitters and practically “invisible” Countryman clip-on microphones. The advantage of the Axient system lies in its integrated frequency management, which scans the available frequency spectrum for possible faults continuously. In the event of a problem, another frequency is selected within 50 milliseconds, guaranteeing high operational reliability.

Questions? We’ll gladly assist.

  • Theater-Vanemuine-Slider-I_01.jpg

    Vanemuine Theater

    The view of the stage from the auditorium. The Vanemuine Theater serves a large range of performing arts – theater, opera, operetta, ballet, and musicals – and is operated year-round.

  • Theater-Vanemuine-Slider-II_01.jpg

    Vanemuine Theater

    The large main console is located to the right of the stage. All control functions, for example the light audio, light, video, curtain, clock functions (stopwatch, timer, time), playback, and gong are taken care of through two integrated adunas touch panels.

  • Theater-Vanemuine-Slider-III_01.jpg

    Vanemuine Theater

    The smaller mobile stage management console in the auditorium is equipped with a touch display and includes the same functions as the main console, with the exception of curtain operation. This second console is used for theater rehearsals.

  • Theater-Vanemuine-Slider-IV_01.jpg

    Vanemuine Theater

    The redundantly designed Adam M Intercom Matrix forms the central element of the intercom system in the theater. The RTS KP series intercom control panels distributed throughout the theater, for example, are connected via the TCP/IP infrastructure on the premises.

  • Theater-Vanemuine-Slider-V_01.jpg

    Vanemuine Theater

    The sound system in the Vanemuine Theater comprises components from Meyer Sound. The main sound system uses two Meyer Sound Leopard line arrays, each consisting of seven modules and two 900-LFC subwoofers.

  • Theater-Vanemuine-Slider-VI_01.jpg

    Vanemuine Theater

    The FOH workplace with surround sound and delay loudspeakers from Meyer Sound.

  • Theater-Vanemuine-Slider-VII_01.jpg

    Vanemuine Theater

    A DiGiCo SD7 T console is used as the main console in the stage hall with the tried-and-tested T theater software for scene management.

  • Theater-Vanemuine-Slider-VIII_01.jpg

    Vanemuine Theater

    The Optocore audio network can process 504 audio channels at 96 kHz – the Vanemuine Theater has over 700 inputs. The use of DiGiCo T software enables any number of interfaces to be connected and disconnected.

  • Theater-Vanemuine-Slider-IX_01.jpg

    Vanemuine Theater

    Current stage management relies on, among other things, a Shure Axient system with 30 channels. The advantage of the Axient system lies in its integrated frequency management, which scans the available frequency spectrum for possible faults continuously.

  • Theater-Vanemuine-Slider-X_01.jpg

    Vanemuine Theater

    Central equipment room in the Vanemuine Theater. Here you can see the sub-distribution for audio, video, and lighting.

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