McLaren Engineering Group Completes Work on ‘Fully Immersive’ Theater in Macau, China

April 24, 2019
Asia’s first immersive theater experience has been engineered by McLaren Engineering Group, a full-service engineering firm that works from 11 offices worldwide. Based on the design of Scéno Plus of Montreal, Quebec, the theater features a massive video wall with large moving parts that can reconfigure the showroom.

This screen, encompassing nearly 10,000 square feet, has helped make the MGM COTAI, in Macau, China, one of the world’s most captivating theater destinations, suitable for dramas, musical theater, fashion shows, talk shows and more. The multi-axis video wall is the world’s most flexible Ultra-HD screen at 28 million pixels.

McLaren Engineering Group engineered the wall system using its in-depth knowledge of theatrical stage machinery, infrastructure and rigging systems. The 2,000-seat venue, with up to 10 configurations, can completely transform to an arena-style theater with its LED wall, giving audiences an unprecedented, multisensory experience.

“This is a magnificent venue, with adaptive theater space capable of transforming for a performance or program, offering first-rate HD viewing,” says William B. Gorlin, P.E., S.E., vice president and entertainment division chief at McLaren Engineering Group. “The space, and its innovative design, is now a top attraction in Macau, one of the world’s most captivating entertainment destinations.”

At 9,700 square feet – the size of three tennis courts – the 4K LED screen contains 12 independent, major axes of large, moving components with on-board video screens. Outside of the video technology, the theater’s stage, forestage seating area and lighting are also mobile, appealing to various theater productions and programs that warrant a complete sensory transformation.

As the video wall design engineer, McLaren Engineering Group provided conceptual sketches, technical specifications, LED layouts and engineering design drawings. The firm also participated in acceptance testing for all the fabricated equipment.

“The complex design includes seams between the moving and static LED screens that are just 2 mm (a penny is 1.52 mm thick), which allows for virtually seamless imagery,” continues Gorlin. “The scale of this design has yet to be rivaled. The entire video screen in its widest configuration produces immersive surround imagery, from which pieces and parts can be moved to alter the space.”

McLaren’s intricate engineering design also includes a “midair” engagement system allowing large pivoting wall sections to meet with a third flown section to create an entirely different video image surface, compared with the immersive video surround surface.

The MGM Theater at COTAI, nestled within Macau’s bustling casino scene, has the capability to host multiple resident shows simultaneously and will help pioneer the usage of “mass virtual reality,” by reflecting audience reactions onto the LED wall. Each unique performance will showcase the theater’s various engineering and architectural feats.

“The MGM Theater at COTAI brings the future of events to Macau, today,” says Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International and chairperson and executive director of MGM China Holdings Limited. “MGM is synonymous with entertainment and we have taken our deep knowledge and incorporated it with cutting-edge technology to create a setting that will redefine and elevate the way our guests experience entertainment.”

Other global firms involved in this project include the Hong Kong-based Siu Yin Wai & Associates, Ltd. (building structural engineer), Durham, N.C.-based Simulation Technologies, Inc. (technical coordinator), Scéno Plus, of Montreal, Canada (theater consultant), Show Canada Industries, of Laval, Canada (specialty contractor), Gala Paco, of Montreal, Canada (stage lift vendor), Sandman Associates, of High Point, N.C. (lift installation consultant) and the Los Angeles firms Electrosonic (audio/visual engineering) and VER (LED vendor).


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