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.
Related stories from InPark Magazine:
Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights mark 20 years of fright
Universal Japan’s new high-tech Space Fantasy coaster
The Nights in White Satin ride remembered
AV trends in themed entertainment
On-ride audio and other transformative ride technologies
Behind the scenes at animatronics company Garner Holt Productions
Subscribe to InPark Magazine digital edition (free)