L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound Imitates the Great Outdoors at Dreamforce
Salesforce.com inc. is an American cloud-based software company that provides customer relationship management services and enterprise applications that focus on customer service, marketing automation, analytics, and application development. Dreamforce, held in San Francisco, California, is a significant annual conference event organized by Salesforce. The corporate event shows off the latest technology for over 150,000 tech-savvy attendees expecting to be impressed by the newest and best in event technology. The decor at the Dreamforce gatherings is always exquisite and high-tech. This particular conference featured hundreds of live plants, trees, and natural scenery covering convention center walls from floor to ceiling to create a believable, three-dimensional world of nature, complete with digital birds flying overhead as attendees walk around the expo space.
Since the event was saturated with technical elements imitating nature and presenting a 3D landscape of trees, wildlife, and scenic woodland elements, the decor experience needed to not only be immersive but authentic. The goal was to replicate the sounds of nature to accompany the National Park-like scenery. They needed audio that would realistically match the sounds of the birds flying overhead, a furry creature scuttling underbrush in the distance, rustling leaves in the air, rushing water from a nearby creek, and the twitter-patter of birds communicating with one another.
Josh Conway from BigBoyNoise, who is always on the leading edge of technology, wanted to create that immersive audio experience to provide an authentic atmosphere. After working on 3D audio content and getting familiar with the L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology interface, the design team was convinced that it was the fitting solution to creating a uniquely immersive experience. Whether for live events or installations, L-ISA enables accurate placement of sound objects in a space, resulting in increased clarity and accurate localization of sound. What you hear is what you see. With the imaginary nature setting of Dreamforce, L-ISA, combined with creative lighting and staging, helped produce the illusion that attendees are fully immersed in the great outdoors.
To fully utilize the creative possibilities of L-ISA, audio can be specifically recorded to take advantage of the technology’s multichannel and multidimensional placement capabilities. Conway and audio legend Dan Dugan specially created recordings captured from the natural outdoors. In addition to the L-ISA Controller and the L-ISA Processor for object placement and spatialization, Dreamforce comprised a frontal system of 12 arrays of six Kara each placed in front of the projection screen with low-end frequency reinforcement provided by four SB18 subs flown in the center of the exhibit space in a block configuration. A total of 25 X15 HiQ coaxial loudspeakers distributed throughout the venue provided the overhead coverage enabling the seamless delivery of nature’s sound effects, while 25 LA8 and two LA12X amplified controllers powered the entire system.
Mountain View Staging Audio Systems Manager Chris Kaletta was working with Conway on the system for Dreamforce as the overall lead for the audio production and had some insight regarding the impact the system created. When they temporarily turned off L-ISA during testing, the difference, according to Kaletta, was night and day. “It was immediately noticeable that it was normal audio again and went from nature all around to there’s a speaker, and there’s a speaker. It sounded terrible in comparison, but this is how it had been done in the past,” Kaletta commented on the drastic comparison. With L-ISA, the sounds all had a sense of location in the air space overhead the expo area, seemingly coming from between the actual speakers. The sounds were designed with the venue layout in mind, matching the locations of various sounds coming from within a forest on the LED walls. Attendee traffic areas were also complete with sound effects. Visual lighting “takeovers” included moving lights synchronized with the audio movement to simulate dawn several times a day, and appealed to attendees’ senses to create the immersive experience of nature as they explored the expo space.
In previous designs, the sound doesn’t move. Now, with this [L-ISA], we can custom tailor our sounds to follow those graphics and we can move it into a 360 realm of encompassing the entire audience. This allows us to be a lot more impactful with our message. It also allows sound to become more of the design from the forefront as opposed to an afterthought.
- L-ISA Processor and L-ISA Controller software
- 12 arrays of 6 KARA each – frontal system in front of the projection screen
- Four SB18 flown in the center in a block configuration
- 25 X15 HiQ coaxial loudspeakers distributed throughout the venue
- 25 LA8 amplified controllers
- Two LA12X amplified controllers