Project Story & Technical Challenges
To bring the incredible world of Harry Potter™ to life with painstaking attention to detail. The goal was not just to create a themed environment, but Hogwarts™ and Hogsmeade™ itself, full of all the characters, magic, and wonder that accompanies it.
As Senior Technical Manager of Show Systems for Universal Creative, Not Afraid! founder Paul Cuoco was responsible for all audio, video, lighting, and projection systems throughout the entire project which included all shops, shows, and rides.
In order to truly immerse the guests, art director Alan Gilmore directed us to treat the guests as if they were the camera. The utmost care and attention had to be paid to even the most minute details, as the “camera” can look anywhere, and get as close as it likes. Lights had to be custom-made and aged. Speakers had to be completely hidden. If that weren’t enough we also had to bring the characters to life with the same attention to detail. This meant employing some themed entertainment magic of our own, from creating ultra-high resolution holograms of Dumbledore and Harry, to making the painting themselves come to life through a Universal patented process, we utilized just about every video projection technique you can imagine.
The largest challenge facing Paul however was to upgrade the main attraction Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey’s media from 2-D to 3-D, while simultaneously increasing the frame-rate to 60 fps. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, we would simply add a second projector, but at Forbidden Journey certain scenes rig projectors in such a way that a second projector was not possible due to weight and engineering constraints. This meant creating 4K, 60 fps, single projector stereo projection which had never been done before. After more than a year of successes and failures with various systems and workarounds, Paul’s collaborators Electrosonic and Christie Digital were finally able to deliver a custom firmware for the DLP chips in the projectors that would allow us to overclock their operating speed to 120hz. This coupled with a custom lens and spinning Infitec color wheel finally enabled us to deliver beautiful 4K 60P media that surpassed the color, contrast, and detail of the original Orlando attraction.
Universal Creative (Hollywood)
Electrosonic Systems, Technomedia Solutions, Point of Light, Sassoon Film Design