The Reel Store
The Reel Store
The Reel Store is the UK’s first permanent digital art gallery which explores the relationship between digital technology, visual arts, and people. Located in the former home of the Coventry Evening Telegraph newspaper, a distinctive post-war building in the heart of the city, The Reel Store takes its name from the old reel store which was once home to the rolls of paper onto which the city’s news stories would be printed.
Opened in Spring 2022, The Reel Store’s first major exhibition was Machine Memoirs: Space by internationally acclaimed Turkish artist Refik Anadol, a mesmerising 360-degree audio-visual experience using artificial intelligence (AI) to reimagine millions of NASA images capturing the deepest regions of outer space, reinforced by multi-channel 3D audio created by 2B Immersed that envelops visitors in colour, sound, and movement.
Industry: Visitor Attraction
Audio Visual Integrator: Sysco Productions
Sysco Productions, specialists in designing and realising world class immersive experiences, were approached to provide the show technology systems for Refik Anadol’s exhibition and, together with audio design consultancy 2B Immersed, to create the technological canvas for Machine Memoirs: Space.
As part of the Sysco Productions team, 2B Immersed director Dave Wooster helped to upmix the audio in order to realise the full potential of both the visuals and the sound system that had been designed. “We already had a great relationship with Dave as a long-standing hardware distributor and we’ve worked together on some more creative projects recently,” said Sysco’s R&D Director Ben Rochlin. “We knew about their 3D spatialisation studio so we went to their HQ for a demo.”
Refik Anadol’s exhibition needed a three-dimensional mix to fill the Reel Store space, and had to be created from scratch from the original stereo soundtrack initially provided by Refik Anadol Studio’s worldwide team. The soundtrack is very abstract and electronic and not conventionally related to a particular shape, or a voice-over tied to a specific piece of content, so the concept behind the spatialisation was to position the sounds in a 3D world to best match the abstract nature of the visuals rather than one that’s tied to channels and speakers.”
Dave Wooster worked with sound engineer Nick Pugh from Session Corner to augment and develop the original stereo soundtrack stems using ProTools and Astro Spatial Audio, creating a much bigger sense of width and depth. “We added movement, and placed the multi-channel audio content around the physical space of the exhibition,” said Pugh. “It was important to consider the perceived size, spread and reflection of each of the elements. We then created a final mix and master to make sure the musical elements delivered a creative mix that the score deserved within the Reel Store system and space.”
The Astro Spatial output channels were rendered down to a 24-channel static mix based on the precise layout of the speakers in the Reel Store exhibition space. The mix was then loaded onto Sysco’s playback systems to supply the newly installed multi-channel Martin Audio system, positioning speakers behind the projection screens and in the ceiling around the L-shaped room to give maximum coverage and opportunity for immersive audio.
“In many ways the audio was the easiest part of the Reel Store puzzle despite being particularly complex,” concluded Rochlin. “We’re massively pleased with the work that 2B Immersed did, and the level of support that they were able to provide on this project. Working with Dave and the team was very straightforward – they made a huge effort to get on board with the creative ambition, and he has the background and the experience to understand why you are doing it as well as what’s the driver behind it.
“We always enjoy working with the team at 2B Immersed. We know that whatever we’re working on, however complex or challenging, they can deliver great results.”
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