Boston’s 180,000-square foot Emerson Paramount Theatre has
recently been restored to its former glory. The $92 million dollar renovation
project encompassed a live performance theatre, a smaller black-box
theatre, a state-of-the-art film and digital cinema screening room, plus
Working closely with the acoustic consulting firm Auerbach Pollock
Friedlander, Boston Light & Sound (BL&S) sourced and installed
To keep the project on track, BL&S prewired and tested eight racks of equipment at its staging center to ensure they would work properly once delivered on-site. BL&S then worked onsite to support and advise electricians and other trades, ensuring that all equipment was installed to exact standards.
To integrate with the restored vaudeville-era historic design of the main live performance theatre, BL&S installed a main loudspeaker cluster that is retractable when not in use and side column speakers that reside behind acoustically transparent decorative covers. For the black box performance theatre, BL&S installed overhead grid audio equipment and portable speakers, freeing the theatre director to rearrange equipment to adapt to various performance types and seating configurations.
BL&S was also charged with designing the theatre’s screening room. The team sourced and installed specialized dual-mode motion picture film projectors that enable the projectionist to exhibit both archival 35mm and 16mm film. The DCI-compliant digital cinema video projector and alternate content components support a wide array of video formats, including computer sources, Blu-ray, DVD and multiple HD sources. A state-of-the-art cinema surround sound system delivers incredible audio performance for both motion picture film and digital presentations.
BL&S integrated equipment together via multiple touch-screen panels that give the screening room maximum versatility and ease of use. For example, BL&S installed and programmed an interactive control at the podium location so the room can be used as screening room or presentation space. Using an intuitive wireless touch-panel, presenters and other staff can easily control the main system. They can display a PowerPoint presentation or video clip, activate microphones, and adjust the sound volume as needed.
The acoustical consultants and theatre owners have been extremely pleased with the craftsmanship and dedication of the BL&S team.
Auerbach Pollock Friedlander provided theatre consulting and sound, video, and production communication systems design for the redevelopment of the Paramount Center. The firm designed various systems within the three venues, including sound reinforcement and playback, assistive listening for the hearing impaired, production intercom, production video and projection, and show program monitor/paging/audience recall systems.
“Working within the existing constraints of the building was difficult, and BL&S coordinated with other trades to provide creative solutions that fit within the historical framework of the theatre. The project management that the team provided was excellent, and they handled all the day-to-day on-site issues with complete professionalism.
We also want to express our thanks to BL&S for their installation expertise with the cinema projection systems. They provided another successful job well done and we look forward to working with them again in the near future.”
Boston College students can look forward to kicking back in the school’s new Cabaret Room, a multi-use student activity space. This flexible space was redesigned to make it easy to enjoy high quality audio and video. Boston Light & Sound (BL&S) was brought in to make this vision a reality.
Ease of use was critical to the project, which required integration of a wide
range of audio and video equipment, including a Crestron DM (digital media) system for video transmission and control system, BSS London digital audio
processor, wired and wireless mics, and an 8,000 lumen high resolution video projector. The BL&S team made it easy for students to plug into the audiovisual system at multiple input panels throughout the room and control the functions via a simplified touch screen control panel. For personal use, students can plug in their PC to one of the flat screen TVs located throughout the room.
Upon completion of the installation it was clear that the students required additional features that were not part of the initial design. Students envisioned being able to plug in their iPods and play prerecorded music, watch big games, and support guest DJs in the Cabaret Room. BL&S came up with a creative solution to add these capabilities in a cost-effective manner. By rerouting wiring and adding TV tuners, they were able to fulfill all the students’ requirements.
As with many college projects, there was a tight time frame to complete work while students were on break. To meet the compressed project schedule, BL&S built and tested all the equipment at their facilities beforehand to minimize time needed on-site. This helped ensure that the project remained on schedule.
The work paid off. Students now have access to live music reinforcement, prerecorded music playback for guest DJ inputs or iPod use, computer presentations, Blu-ray video presentations, TV broadcasts, and gaming on the big screen.
Coordinated seamlessly with GC
“Boston Light & Sound coordinated seamlessly with the general contractor. Their follow up was always timely. We couldn’t have asked for more!”
Home to the Boston College Eagles hockey and basketball teams, the Conte Forum is a brightly lit, open arena with plenty of good seats for both basketball and hockey. The forum hosts sporting events, commencement activities, outside music bookings, and daily public skating. The university hired BL&S and the renown acoustical firm WJHW to meet their diverse audio needs in preparation for their 2001 fall season.
WJHW and BL&S sound engineers collaborated on the design of the high-
quality paging and music playback system, which encompassed a series
of 25 full-range EAW loudspeakers distributed throughout the arena. BL&S added a Crown USM810 digital processor and router, giving the forum’s sound operator the flexibility to play CDs for public skating, select from multiple speaker zone settings for sporting events, and reconfigure speaker presets for commencement addresses and outside performances. He can easily control preset delays and muting for all the speakers with a laptop computer.
With the new stadium sound system, the forum can reproduce clear, dynamic audio customized for various activities.
“Thank you for a fantastic sound system”
“It’s flexible, intuitive and perfectly suited for our needs. We already have students running most of the functions (under my supervision). Everyone with whom I dealt was courteous and really knowledgeable. BL&S spent a ton of time training me on the board and made it all clear to me – a novice to sound stuff. Your work was great. You really know your stuff. I can’t say enough.”
Parents’ Weekend has become a popular autumn tradition at Boston College for parents to experience campus life and socialize with other families. The Parents’ Mass is a highlight of the weekend.
BL&S provides sound equipment and support for the annual mass, which draws more than 3500 students, parents, and faculty. They are charged with providing full sound for the student choir and band performing outside the university’s library.
The area outside the library where the mass is held has seating and a series of steps on all sides. The odd-shaped space is made almost entirely of concrete, making sound particularly reverberant. To alleviate this problem, BL&S provides large speaker stacks on scaffolding, positioned appropriately to deliver sound effectively throughout the large area.
The BL&S team’s innovative approach provided clear sound in a challenging environment.
Very responsive to student needs
“Boston Light & Sound is very, very sensitive to clients needs. And very responsive to student needs. They’ve done a number of fairly significant saves above and beyond the call in response to kids that got into trouble.
One example of BL&S going ‘above and beyond’ is a case where students had attempted to rent a backstage communication system from another vendor and found that they couldn’t get the support they needed. BL&S came in and gave them the support they needed and rented them what they needed and were very fair about the whole thing.”
The Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College is a historic
landmark in the heart of Boston’s theatre district. Built as an opera house
in 1903, this intimate venue serves student, community, and professional
Seeking a sound system that could grow with their needs, the theatre
of the stage to fill in the first few rows below the coverage pattern of the main cluster. This provides even sound coverage throughout the theatre.
BL&S sound engineers tuned the theatre sound system, eliminating feedback and equalizing the sound inputs for the room’s unique characteristics. The team established multiple input and preset capabilities, enabling the theatre to easily integrate temporary road equipment. The system includes permanent wiring flexible enough to accommodate events ranging from a few microphones to productions using up to 24 mic lines.
In 2003, the theatre trustees set out to restore the Majestic to its original splendor in celebration of its 100th anniversary. They hired acoustical consulting firm Auerbach Pollock Friedlander to design a complete sound amplification and playback system that would direct sound to the newly reopened second balcony, fill in under-balcony sound, and enhance the production intercom and paging systems.
BL&S sound engineers worked alongside Auerbach, installing upper balcony and lip speakers as well as a mixing console that tied in to the existing cluster and fill speakers. They also enhanced the intercom system with new house control and followspot positions and added stage audio monitoring for the new dressing rooms, offices, and public spaces. Theatergoers now enjoy a richer sound experience throughout the entire venue.
In December 2004, the National Trust for Historic Preservation honored Emerson College for its restoration of the landmark theatre. The theatre’s architectural importance earned it a place in both the Massachusetts and National Registers of Historic Places.
Our partner in making Emerson’s facilities world-class
“Boston Light & Sound has professionally recommended, provided, installed, and maintained the audio and projection equipment in our five theatres and screening room, meeting the demands of public presentation required by ArtsEmerson, and providing Emerson students working laboratories in which to hone their art.
BL&S goes the extra mile: measuring acoustic requirements while planning, and then, carefully tuning and troubleshooting these systems during installation to insure top performance. For the magnificently restored Cutler-Majestic, the reinvented Paramount Theatre, the exciting Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre, the state-of-the-art Bright Family Screening Room, the versatile Semel Theatre, and the intimate Greene Theatre, BL&S had been our partner in making Emerson’s facilities world-class.”