July 24, 2020

KLANG Enhances Cinema Experience At Glastonbury Festival

Dan Morgan's mixing setup at Glastonbury

KLANG’s ground-breaking in-ear monitor technology was employed on Glastonbury’s new and exciting Cineramageddon outdoor film stage this summer to create an immersive audio cinematic experience via a network of 2,000 headphone sets.

Back for a second year, Cineramageddon is a unique five-day film festival within Glastonbury Festival, boasting the largest screen in Europe and featuring an eclectic programme of films curated by founder and legendary music film director, Julien Temple. Staged in what the organisers call a ‘post-apocalyptic’ drive-in auditorium courtesy of artist Joe Rush, the cinema’s premium seating comprises seventy mutated vintage British and American cars, repurposed funfair rides and a Lear jet, plus 2,000 headphone sets to enhance the audience’s listening experience.

This year’s festival was opened with the world premiere of ‘Ibiza – The Silent Movie’, a film by Temple and DJ/producer, Fatboy Slim, who performed a live silent disco DJ set after the screening.

Cineramageddon again approached leading UK pro audio supplier, HD Pro Audio, to specify and manage the audio system for the stage, which presented the added complexity of headphone connectivity at this year’s event.

“The decision to go ‘silent’ was twofold,” says Jimmy Potter at HD Pro. “Firstly, on a practical level, noise limitations on the cinema site meant it was necessary for all audio to be relayed via headphones rather than a conventional cinema sound system, and secondly, the organisers were keen to provide a studio audio quality cinematic experience for the audience that wouldn’t be lost in the sonic ether of the festival. As a result, the technical brief for the silent cinema was far more demanding than the first year.”

Consequently, HD Pro collaborated with the main Festival’s silent disco specialist and wireless headphone provider, Silent Disco King, to test and supply the wireless headphone solution, and specified a KLANG:vier Immersive Mixing System to provide an immersive binaural headphone mix, connected via Dante to the audio system.

“It was Julien Temple and Fat Boy Slim who first suggested KLANG because their film was recorded in 71 Surround and KLANG is the only system that could faithfully convert the audio quality to the stereo headphones we were using,” explains Dan Morgan, Cineramageddon sound engineer. “Cineramageddon was determined we conserve the dynamic of the mix and that attendees experience the movie in this format, just the way the producers intended in the studio.”

Dan Morgan and KLANG:vier, the immersive mixing engine

Using a generic template from KLANG as a starting point, Morgan took channels from the film projector to quickly set up a mix, and then make changes on-the-fly.

“The KLANG unit is engineered with very powerful, technology, which enables me to alter the mix in real time with no latency, which is obviously very important in mixing for cinema,” continues Morgan. “When you use a lot of plug-ins for sequencing and music production you get used to systems utilising some of your computer’s power, but KLANG does all of its own processing internally, and as it connects to the rest of the audio system via Dante, it was very simple to set up on one cable – no nonsense! Furthermore, the software interface is very intuitive with a simple layout, so you can just drag ‘n drop the different channels wherever you like.”

Cineramageddon was a huge success and there are already plans to repeat a similar format next year.

“KLANG is truly immersive, and enables me to create spatial envelopment in the mix – it’s very special and there has never been anything like it,” concludes Morgan. “I do a lot of studio work mixing cinema sound and various mixes for streaming, and what strikes me is that KLANG can take these output formats and give them genuine spatial dimensions, which historically you can only do offline using plug-ins. KLANG can do all that live!”

Dan Morgan's KLANG:app setup