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TiMax TrackerD4 essential for Paul Gatehouse Mandela sound design at The Young Vic

Infused with the rhythms of South Africa, the sound design for Mandela at London’s Young Vic is defined by the distinct signature of Paul Gatehouse. His style is conferred through his workflow and his essential favoured technologies, one of which is TiMax TrackerD4.  That the Young Vic has recently invested in TiMax TrackerD4, which Gatehouse deems, “a great asset.” He adds “It meant that we were able to be ambitious in our thinking with what is essentially a smaller budget approach.”

The production features 22 cast members and Gatehouse notes, “Without the automated performer tracking that TiMax provides we’d have to manually locate the position of all the vocal objects in Soundscape, which would be a lot of cues and button pushing for the sound mixer! This way that burden is removed for us.”

The Young Vic’s TiMax Tracker setup includes eight TTd4 Sensors covering the stage and including above- and below-balcony scenes on either side of the stage. TiMax TrackerD4 utilises dual-mode UWB RF tracking technology, whose carrier-free aspect reduces errors caused by reflections, body blocking and scenery obstruction, with just two Sensors required to see a TTd4 Tag for precise and reliable 3D tracking.  The multiple sensor viewpoints add robust redundancy and heighten coverage accuracy.

Due to the comprehensive coverage of TiMax TrackerD4 system, the Young Vic’s stage-side balcony areas were easily brought into the action. In one scene, the South African prime minister is depicted speaking from one side whilst Mandela’s comrades speak from another. Gatehouse explains, “…it was important that our tracking coverage extended to those areas, and in doing so we had a really wide and dynamic sound picture which elevated the storytelling.”

Gatehouse’s preference for TiMax TrackerD4 over other tracking systems is based on the product’s trusted heritage. “TTd4 has been developed by a company rooted in sound engineering and spatial audio and therefore it’s really simple for us to integrate and take on the essential job of locating all our actors’ locations on stage.”

Gatehouse also praises Tracker Translate, an ancillary product in the TiMax Tracker ecosystem which, as he explains it, “provides a simple and feature-rich way of configuring and controlling the individual tracking tags on the system”. He appreciates, “…the well thought out features for theatre, including the way we manage when roles are covered, or when performers are splitting roles between them whilst covering multiple parts.

”Paul’s highest praise, however, is reserved for, “…the support and attentiveness you get from Robin and Dave at Out Board.” He explains, “All the systems [Out Board] provide are personally configured for your project and the installation of the antennas and the coverage strategy are also guided by them. We’ve done a few shows with this system now and they still provide the same level of support, as if it was our first one.”

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