How teams recreated ‘live’ fan noise for the NBA playoffs


To virtually recreate an authentic sonic experience of the sounds and enthusiasm of a crowd inside the Wide World of Sports (WWoS) at Disney World, for the NBA 2020 playoffs, Firehouse Productions worked with the league to install and operate the audio systems.

The team, led by Kevin Dobstaff, production supervisor, live broadcast venues, Emerald City/NBA Restart, aimed to create a 360-degree soundscape that simulated the effects of home and visitor fans as if they were there at the game, in their seats.

“The goal was to replicate what the players would hear if there were 18,000 people around them in an arena,” said Carlton Myers, associate VP, live production and entertainment, NBA Entertainment.

60 L-Acoustics K2 loudspeakers were configured as ten hangs of six boxes each, bolstered by a dozen L-Acoustics KS28 subs to achieve this realistic virtual sonic experience. The speakers focused the sound on the court instead of the seats (which were “occupied” by 300+ actual fans populated by 17-feet LED video boards lining the sides of the court through Microsoft Teams’ Together mode). The sound was all mixed through a DiGiCo SD7 console by the FOH A1.

According to Myers, “We collected actual audio chants and cheers from all 22 teams. We asked them to send us sound that was specific to them, to make them feel at home here.”

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