World Premiere of X-Men: Days of Future Past
Bringing Impeccable Sound to the World Premiere of X-Men: Days of Future Past
For the launch of the summer blockbuster film X-Men: Days of Future Past, 20th Century Fox staged its worldwide premiere at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on midtown Manhattan’s west side.
The debut of the $200-million-plus film, attended by Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, and other stars, was a big event filling a hall inside the cavernous Javits Center and illuminating a 75-foot-wide screen hung on the hall’s north wall.
The premiere show needed to reproduce the film’s bombastic 5.1 surround soundtrack, but the Javits is no cinema. While the beautiful Convention Center features a substantial floor-to-ceiling glass wall that offers spectacular views of the Hudson River and New Jersey, it can also create uncontrollable aural reflections that would turn the hall into an acoustic nightmare. When doing movie surround sound events in unconventional venues with very high expectations from the client due to the knowledge that producers, directors, and sound editors will be in attendance, it can be quite challenging. That was certainly the case at the highly reverberant Javits facility because of its large reflective surfaces.
Long time collaborator on east coast events and movie premieres, See Factor Industry, was called upon to present a sound system solution for the high-profile event. They chose L-Acoustics K2, a lightweight, high-powered, full-range line source array system for the X-Men premiere. The AV specialist deployed 24 K2, 12 SB28 subs, and 16 coaxial 115XT HiQ wedges, all powered and processed by L-Acoustics LA8 amplified controllers. See Factor also provided all lighting, rigging, and management services for the event.
See Factor’s principals, Mark Friedman noted, “The film premiere called for a smart, flexible sound system, and the K2 is exactly that.” K2 was configured in three hangs of eight modules each for the left-center-right cinema-sound frontal array, with eight 115XT HiQ wedges arrayed on either side of the room as surround speakers. On the hang closest to the glass wall, K2’s unique Panflex asymmetrical variable horizontal coverage technology came into play with that speaker hang having the directional fins on the speakers set for 35 degrees of horizontal dispersion while the right hand was set for 55 degrees, thus keeping the sonic energy off the reflective glass surface and focused on the audience seating area.
The angles were determined in the Soundvision acoustical simulation software, which offers real-time mapping in coverage and delay modes, including time-delay optimization and subwoofer acoustical and mechanical data. All speakers, zones, and LA8 amplifiers were coordinated through the L-Acoustics Network Manager, which provides a graphical interface optimized for tablet PC use and lets systems designers place units and groups in the workspace in a way that reflects their location in the field.
According to Dolby Sound Engineer David Berti, who was responsible for calibrating the audio for both the X-Men and James Brown premieres, he stated that both film companies were pleased with the results, and the sound “far exceeded their expectations.”
K2’s Panflex gave us the physical level of control while Network Manager gave us the electronic plane of control, and those tools were invaluable.
Dolby Sound Engineer