Last March at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, one of the highlights of the cinema industry’s largest annual trade event was a screening of Disney’s upcoming blockbuster, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”, the latest in the Pirates franchise. Each year, the aptly-named 4,000 seat Colosseum at Caesars Palace is transformed into the world’s largest movie theatre, a colossal joint effort between QSC, Dolby, Boston Light and Sound and the Colosseum technical crew.
Disney executives were so thrilled with the outcome that they invited QSC and Dolby to Shanghai to do it again – this time for the worldwide premiere of the film in the Grand Theatre at the Shanghai Disney Resort.
Like the Colosseum at Caesar’s, the Grand Theatre was not originally designed to be a movie theatre; it is normally used for theatrical stage productions. At over 1,000 seats, it’s larger than a typical cinema, so the QSC technical crew realized that a slightly scaled down version of the same system used in the Colosseum would produce optimal results. The Left, Center, and Right screen channels were delivered by three “hangs” consisting of eight QSC WL2102w line arrays with two WL218-sw subwoofers suspended behind the screen. Along the stage floor at bottom of the screen, eight SB-7218 subwoofers reproduced the extended low frequency audio. Since the soundtrack featured Dolby Atmos immersive audio, thirteen QSC SR-1590 coaxial surround loudspeakers were installed on the side and rear walls, with another ten SR-1590s attached to two flown truss sections for overhead immersive coverage. All of the QSC loudspeakers were powered by QSC DPA-Q Series 4-channel network amplifiers, and controlled and monitored on a network via a Q-SYS Core 500i processor.
QSC’s Jon Graves, Paul Brink, and Christian “Cookie” Cook led a team of professionals from Disney, Prime Connections Inc. (QSC’s distributor in Beijing), and Dolby to accomplish the monumental feat. Similar to the Colosseum transformation, the effort in Shanghai involved temporarily dismantling the installed “house” system, installing the QSC audio and Dolby Cinema projection systems, and then dismantling it. This time, it all had to happen in a matter of just three days.
“Everyone who attended was impressed with the superior quality of the sound and image they experienced during the screening of the film,” says Kevin Rosenberger, Director of Projection Engineering, Disney Digital Studio Services. “What they won't ever know is how we came together as a team—how each person looked out for their discipline, and then how they looked out for the man standing next to them.”
The $320 million Jerry Bruckheimer production stars Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom and Brenton Thwaites, and opened in the U.S. on May 26, 2017.
For a time-lapse look at how the installation actually happened, click on the video below!