The Finnish Sports Museum housed at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki has recently reopened to the public with a completely revitalised permanent exhibition after extensive renovations closed the venue for five years. The new exhibitions celebrate Finnish sport using the best of what modern technology has to offer, including a state-of-the-art Genelec Smart IP audio solution. All audio, video and control technology was supplied by AV integration specialists Studiotec Oy, with AV and sound design by building services engineering experts, Granlund Oy.
Granlund’s Aki Päivärinne and Timo Muurinen were responsible for the AV design. “Our aim was to put the visitor in the middle of the action, to make them feel as if they are really there,” says Aki. “It’s hard to think of any sport where sound is not a crucial part of the experience. Sounds from various sports are accompanied with occasional musical layers specially composed for the exhibition, and UX (User Experience) sounds. The sound design was realised using object-based sound design tools – immersive audio is the key to making the experience as complete as possible.”
Aki specified Genelec’s Smart IP range of loudspeakers for most of the sound design, as they met all of his criteria for quality and particularly for ease of deployment. “The ability to use the museum’s existing CAT cabling infrastructure for both power and audio signal transport simplified the system design and installation enormously, as we didn’t have to worry about any analogue cables – everything just sits on the existing network.”
Project manager Pauli Lamsijärvi from Studiotec agrees. “The Smart IP speakers are definitely the most important element of the audio solution and certainly made life easier for us in terms of installation,” he notes. “They operate on the Dante network which carries both audio and control signals. It even delivers power to the speakers via PoE, which is something of a revolution in the audio world. The audio quality is what we’re used to hearing from Genelec – in other words, world class – so we’re very pleased with the results.”
One of the largest exhibitions is Finnish sporting heroes across the ages. Visitors are treated to a massive video projection by Finnish visual artist, Janne Ahola, combined with a 10-channel immersive sound design using Genelec 4430s that places sound objects in space relative to what is happening on the screen. The result is a fully immersive experience that truly brings the action to life for the visitor.
Another exhibition is dedicated to winter sports. “Winter sports are important for us Finns, so this was another area where we wanted to make the experience as real as possible,” says Aki. “Once again, we have a multichannel sound system using eight 4430 Smart IP loudspeakers in a stretched diamond layout that works with a short movie projected onto a 98” LED screen. Visitors will find themselves amongst children playing in the snow, skating on a frozen lake or even swimming in the lake – since Finns are a bit mad like that! Another part of the winter sports section takes us up onto the slopes with skiers and snowboarders. There is even an authentic double chair lift from 1965 with
a huge screen behind it to reinforce the impression of being out on the slopes. Here I used four 4430s.”
The final area to use a Smart IP solution is the water sports exhibition which is brought to life using a 4-channel immersive sound system with four 4430s. Visitors experience the thrills of scuba diving below the waves to sailing above them, before being hurled into a canoe to negotiate the rapids. Where the requirement was for stereo rather than immersive sound, Aki opted for Genelec 8010 and 8030 loudspeakers, as the media players are located close to the loudspeakers. The larger installations with immersive multichannel sound designs all use Genelec Smart IP loudspeakers run from dedicated media servers capable of outputting Dante signals. All of the museum’s AV equipment is controlled from a single touch screen linked to the control system. All the projectors and dozens of monitors can be turned on and off at the touch of a button. It also enables control of all the loudspeakers and the content fed to them, and the control system also manages signal delay to keep the pictures and sound in sync.
The museum’s development director Kaisa Laitinen is delighted with the results. “Through spectacular visuals and a strong world of sound, the museum visitor’s experience is better than ever,” she declared. “Studiotec and Granlund have done a great job in bringing our vision to life. The use of the latest technology enables visitors to share in the adrenalin, the triumphs and the disappointments along with all the emotions and feelings that sport brings. I’m very proud of what we have achieved and I’m excited to share it with the public.”