USA Pavilion

Expo 2010 Shanghai
Shanghai, China

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Attracting over seven million visitors during its six months of operation, the USA Pavilion at Expo 2010 Shanghai China delivered its Rise to the Challenge theme in a series of Hollywood-style, multi-dimensional presentations that told the story of the American spirit of perseverance, innovation and community building.

Electrosonic rose to the challenge of a very compressed schedule to provide BRC Imagination Arts with system technical design, engineering, fabrication, installation, encoding and show technical programming for the AV and control systems in the pavilion lobby, pre-show and main show theater.  BRC was the show designer and producer and created all content for the USA Pavilion.

Upon entering the pavilion visitors were ushered into the Overture section, which functioned as a welcome lobby.  There, in an informal and fun environment, they viewed a four-minute montage of the American landscape intercut with everyday people and celebrities – including Kobe Bryant and Tony Hawk – attempting to welcome visitors with Chinese words and phrases with sometimes hilarious results.

Electrosonic supplied the Overture with four elevated projection screens, four Panasonic PT-DW6300 HD projectors, Extron JMP9500GL video playback and a 70 volt distributed overhead audio system featuring JBL speakers.

The Preshow, or Act I, followed.  Visitors were seated on benches in a theater outfitted with a trio of side-by-side large projection screens measuring approximately a total of 78x15 feet.  The eight-minute presentation, which displayed huge images spanning the three screens or three discrete images, addressed the important US-China relationship with comments from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  HD projection was accomplished with three Panasonic PT-DW10000 projectors; Extron JMP9600s provided synchronous HD video playback.  A multi-track surround sound system was also installed.


Act one of 3 was an eight minute presentation about the importance of US - China relations

The Main Show, or Act II, showcased the story of “The Garden” told with live-action imagery, CGI, and 4D effects such as vibrating seats, mist and lighting.  The creative film illustrated how a 10-year old girl dreamed of turning a vacant lot into an urban oasis and inspired her neighbors to make her dream come true.

Act two, “The Garden,” told with 4D effects

The show is displayed on five, 30-foot tall screens, each with a unique trapezoidal or hourglass shape oriented in portrait mode.  They were rimmed with LED light frames choreographed to change color and mimic the beat and mood of the content—833 lighting cues in less than eight minutes.  With no dialogue, the film’s visuals, lighting and music combined to deliver the message of community to the visitors.

“It was quite a challenge to rig and install the screens with their height, different shapes and proximity to each other,” noted senior project manager Thursby Pierce.  “Although the content had been masked for display on the screens, we also had to handle masking in the five Panasonic PT-DW10000 projectors, too.”  Electrosonic also furnished the dynamic multi-track surround system and tactile transducers under the seats for sub-frequency vibrations. 

All show control was accomplished via Medialon.  Operator control consoles throughout the pavilion utilized 12-inch touch screen computers instead of traditional button panels.

Visitors exited the Mainshow into Act III where 22 corporate pavilion sponsors spotlighted the best in American business and technology.  Electrosonic provided the distributed audio system for background music in this area as well as ceiling-mounted projectors for three of the sponsors.  Electrosonic performed the equipment maintenance and service for not only the pavilion but for each of the sponsors’ exhibits as well.

Electrosonic also supported the USA Pavilion’s outdoor stage system, where live shows and podium-style presentations were held, with front of house audio mix control, wireless mics and JBL speakers.  Cameras could be hooked to the video system to feed the exterior LED display if desired.

Exterior of the USA Pavilion

In the pavilion, show equipment was divided between two linked equipment rooms: one for the attraction and the the Preshow amplifiers and a second room to house all the amps for the Mainshow.  As a temporary attraction, the pavilion’s design complexity was kept to a minimum and the focus was on using quality, stable and readily-available components and equipment.

“Since power can be unstable in China, each show room and the equipment rooms have temperature, humidity and voltage monitoring equipment to alert us to any potential problems,” explained Pierce.  “A server system emailed status reports to our onsite tech and remotely to BRC.”

Electrosonic Design Consulting provided guidance to the exhibit designers on AV equipment selections, projection geometry, facility impact, and budgeting. The team started by responding to the creative drawings provided by the designers and identifying equipment that met the creative intent. A number of projection studies were produced for the venue that demonstrated proof of concept and allowed them to verify the equipment selections. Electrosonic Design Consulting also created facility impact drawings, which provided cable, electrical power and heating/cooling requirements to the project's engineers so they could design the infrastructure that allowed all of the AV equipment to operate properly. The decisions from these initial consultations set the groundwork for how the overall systems would operate. Each project was turned over to Electrosonic’s Engineering Department for further refinement, fabrication and installation.

From the celebrated Expo67 in Montreal to the last major Expo in 2005 in Aichi, Japan, Electrosonic has an extensive credit roster of international expos stretching from Brisbane and Osaka to New Orleans and Lisbon.  Electrosonic’s participation in Expo 2010 Shanghai now pushes the number of projects the company has completed for these fairs to over 50.

Electrosonic and BRC have worked together on numerous Expos in the past and the USA Pavilion and the Shanghai Expo was just another example of their combined success.