The global premiere of X-Men: Days of Future Past, screened at NYC's Javits Centre
USA - 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 Centre on midtown Manhattan's west side, NY.

The debut of the $200m-plus film, attended by Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry and other stars, was a huge event filling a hall inside the cavernous Javits Centre and illuminating a 75ft-wide screen hung on the hall's north wall. The showing also had to be able to reproduce the film's bombastic 5.1 surround soundtrack, but the Javits is no cinema; the same huge floor-to-ceiling glass wall that offers spectacular views of the Hudson River and New Jersey can also create uncontrollable aural reflections that would turn the hall into an acoustical nightmare.

Event producer Samantha Sackler Productions tapped NYC-based See Factor Industry, its longtime collaborator on east coast events and movie premieres, who called upon L-Acoustics K2, a lightweight, high-powered, full-range line source array system that made its official debut earlier this year. 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.

"When doing movie surround sound events in unconventional venues with very high expectations from the client, and knowing that producers, directors and sound editors will be in the audience, it is quite challenging," observes Mark Friedman, one of See Factor's principals. That was certainly the case at the highly reverberant Javits facility, due to its large reflective surfaces.

Friedman notes that reproducing the 5.1 surround soundtrack is important to fully experience a film like X-Men: Days of Future Past. See Factor's technicians work with cinema-sound specialists from Dolby, as well as projection specialists from Digital Media Systems, to set up the sound system, carefully calibrating parameters such as delays and time alignments between speakers and calculating horizontal and vertical dispersion patterns. However, in such a reverberant environment that process is vastly more complicated.

"It's rare that you'd need to use a system as large as a K2 for a film premiere," says Friedman, who adds that See Factor has also deployed L-Acoustics Kara systems for the debut of other films such as the newly released James Brown biopic Get On Up, which premiered at Harlem's Apollo Theatre, the opening night of this year's Tribeca Film Festival at the Beacon Theatre, and the now-classic Johnny Cash biography Walk The Line, which had its debut at the Hammerstein Ballroom. "But the Javits is huge and called for a much larger sound system."

"The See Factor crew was very professional and easy to work with, and they nailed both shows," he says. "The audio playback was extremely accurate to cinema standards, and See Factor's designs, speaker selection and positioning made my job of tuning the rooms very straightforward, yielding the correct playback response expected by the film makers. Both film companies were very happy with the results stating that the sound far exceeded their expectations."

(Jim Evans)

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