Tuesday, July 27, 2021
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Pro Sound CA and L-Acoustics help King Kong roar at Universal Studios Hollywood


LOS ANGELES — Following the loss of its popular King Kong ride to a fire in 2008, Universal Studios Hollywood spent the past two years turning up the heat on its newest and most exciting attraction, “King Kong 360 3-D” created by Peter Jackson. A collaborative effort between the celebrated film director and Universal Creative, the attraction transports Studio Tour guests to Skull Island for an immersive guest experience amid the battle between King Kong and a number of huge dinosaurs.

Working with professionals from Weta Digital and Park Road Post on the complex video and 22-channel sound design, Jackson and Universal turned to Pro Sound CA for the sound reinforcement system design and implementation. “We’ve worked with Paul Cuoco, Universal Studios’ technical manager, on a number of attractions in the past and he requested that we bid on this project,” says Arron Szabo, vice president of Pro Sound CA. “The creative and technical service teams dictated that the loudspeakers must be visually unobtrusive, capable of producing good levels and fidelity at a distance, and not be self-powered for ease of serviceability. With that in mind, we ran a number of SOUNDVISION models and ultimately recommended an L-ACOUSTICS system comprised of compact KIVA and KILO enclosures augmented by SB28 subs.”

When entering “King Kong 360 3-D” aboard the Studio tour, guests don 3-D glasses while surrounded on both sides by a custom pair of 187-foot-long compound curved screens that stand 40 feet tall. Evenly spaced out just above the top edge of each screen are three loudspeaker clusters comprised of a single KILO low-frequency extension cabinet with two ultra-compact KIVA line source systems mounted just below it. On the bottom edges of the screens, five identical clusters are spread out on each side. For ample LF reproduction, a single SB28 enclosure is positioned at the two lower corners of each screen. All systems are powered by L-ACOUSTICS’ LA4 and LA8 amplified controllers.

“We had used KIVA in another project a few years ago and they performed really well,” Szabo recalls. “They’re extremely small, capable of high SPLs, and the fidelity is phenomenal, especially considering that the upper arrays on this attraction are flown nearly 60 feet high. Despite the distance, two KIVA and one KILO per location was more than sufficient to meet the required decibel level and coverage requirements.”

Universal Studios Hollywood is a unit of Universal Parks & Resorts, a division of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience.

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Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, publicist, strategist, blogger, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She excels at writing about all aspects of design and technical design, production and project management. Areas of special interest include AV integration and show control, lighting design and acoustics, specialty cinema, digital video and world’s fairs. Judith has ties to numerous industry organizations. From 2005-2020 she ran communications, publications and social media for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA, and co-chair of the 2014 IMERSA Summit. She was publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association in the 1990s, now part of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and has also contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Already making her mark as a magazine and book editor, Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. Launching as a freelancer in the mid 1990s she has contributed to dozens of publications and media outlets including Funworld, Lighting&Sound America, Sound & Communications, Urban Land, The Raconteur and The Planetarian. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now makes her home in Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts and theater community.

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