Opera Voice is a titling service for theatrical events. In other words, it’s a system that allows to send the title of an event to mobile devices, such as tablets and smarthphones. This system was born in the lyrical world, after some time it was extended to concerts and musicals and today it’s widely used in the entertainment industry. The OperaVoice service consists of two parts: the platform and the network infrastructure.
The platform is connected to mobile devices via a wireless network, and it sends the description of the event underway. Everything happening on stage is showed in real time with perfect synchronicity. The application offers the possibility to choose among 4 different languages, allowing the foreign audience to fully grasp and enjoy every nuance of the performance and to connect with the characters on stage. Not only titling: beyond the script, users also have access to special content like curiosities in the entertainment world, the programme, booklets, backstage videos and musical scores. To use the titling service, just download to your device the OperaVoice application, available for iOS and Android.
To send the titles, the platform uses a dedicated intranet network, a connection that can be used only from the theatre’s auditorium. The infrastructure is specifically realized for the environment that holds the event, and its features are defined on the basis of the number of guests and the location’s width. After an inspection, Opera’s Voice technical team will be able to set up, configure and install the network in a couple of days. Depending on the space’s specific needs, the infrastructure can be movable or fixed.
OperaVoice was designed with the objective of making performances accessible to everyone, overcoming linguistic barriers. Smartitles allow also to hard of hearing people to enjoy the shows. The innovative aspect though, is not in the advantages that this tool brings to the hard of hearing and to foreigners, but in the technology adopted to transmit titles. If it’s true that some major theatres preferred to install screens on the seatbacks, it’s also true that their cabling system and plant are very expensive, and local administrations often cannot afford them. For this reason this solution is adopted only when a total theatre restyling is foreseen. Furthermore, screens are not much appreciated by some performers, who say that the screen’s light and the movement of the captions distract the audience from the show.
OperaVoice proposes an alternative titling method that allows administrations to defeat costs and choose whether to permanently keep the structure or to use it only for specific shows. The OperaVoice service can also be easily integrated with the existing titling service and dialogue with it. To manage projector and data sent by mobile devices you just need a multifunction server.
Creator of this technology is Stefano Bozolo, musician who has worked in theatre since 1996. The project boasts partnerships with different Florentine realities, each specialized in a particular sector. The project sees the collaboration of musicians, but also video and sound technicians and professionals that translate the scripts and design the multilingual titling service.
Nephila has acted as an important technological partner since the project’s foundation. In fact, we developed the application and the intranet network on which the platform is based, and we keep on managing and integrating these aspects in collaboration with Stefano Bozolo.
THE STORY-EMBRYO, DEBUT AND DEVELOPMENTS
OperaVoice went through different development steps and it required 10 years of study to be ready. The initial idea dates back to the early 2000s, although from a technologic point of view the ground wasn’t sufficiently ready for the launch of the product. At the time mobile devices were different from today’s and wouldn’t have been able to support the software. For this reason, OperaVoice debuted officially many years later, in 2011, with the show Il cappello di paglia, held at the Maggio Fiorentino Theatre. After the debut a second phase started, during which the project was hosted at the Incubatore Tecnologico Fiorentino. Eventually OperaVoice was developed further, especially in the contest of the Parco Tecnologico di Innovazione Le Murate, where it is still used.
In 2015 OperaVoice met Lombardy. In fact, on the occasion of EXPOMilano, many theatres asked for a titling service that would enable foreign spectators to enjoy shows originally in Italian. One of the first interlocutors in this sense was the theatrical company della Rancia, that started a partnership with OperaVoice and chose to use the product for the musical Pinocchio, held at the Della Luna Theatre in Milan.
WHAT WE HAVE REALIZED
We have realized the app, compatible with mostAndroid and iOS mobile devices. We maintain and constantly update the platform in order to answer the needs of the most evolved devices. It’s a featherweight software that only occupies about a hundred kb, able to offer a complete service to its users. Once launched the application, a landing page appears with the OperaVoice logo and a minimal menu, consisting in three icons: home, script and info. To access the titles just select T from the menu. Once clicked the script icon, a page will appear allowing you to choose among four different languages. Now you just have to select your language and enjoy the show!
Clicking the OperaVoice logo you access to a second area that includes special contents, the app user manual and useful information. The secondary area is characterized by the presence of a second menu, located on the upper part of the screen. Again, the menu’s voices are simple icons: home, the OV logo and settings. By clicking the second voice in the menu, you access to an informative page. A few lines summarize the apps’ essence: browsing the page users can learn more about it, how it works and the advantages that it brings. Selecting settings, instead, users are guided through the use of the application.
In order to make OperaVoice an ever more integrated system, some time ago we started to work on an application for Glass launched by Google. When this Mountain View firm announced the abandonment of the project, we were forced to leave the realization of the software in standby for a very long time. Now, the perfect time has come. In fact, developers at giant Google have publicly declared that a new project for the realization of three different version of Glass has started. We’ll keep you posted!
In 2016 the re-launch of the service continues. After the debut with Della Rancia Theatre, OperaVoice’s team decided to promote di initiative in Lombardy and, in general, to propose its service to the Italian market, especially to medium/wide locations that don’t dispose of a traditional titling method. Nephila’s communication office is taking care of the product’s promotion through a fresh and dynamic newsletter service. Nephila also takes care of managing PR with theatres in the Italian territory and of filtering contacts creating specific databases.
OperaVoice is an innovative product that has caught the attention not only of Italian realities, but also of key international figures in the IT world, demonstrating its added value. This is an ever developing technology of which we’ll soon say more.