Berkeley, CA—May 11, 2009
USC’s School of Cinematic Arts Unveils New Complex
Meyer Sound Acheron Loudspeakers Provide Clarity and Smooth Translation for Cinema Sound
The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), the oldest and largest film school in the US, opened the first two buildings of its entirely new Cinematic Arts Complex in March 2009. The SCA features one of the first deployments of Meyer Sound’s Cinema Experience of low-distortion, high-power loudspeaker products, installed in several screening rooms and mix stages. Based on the new Acheron line of self-powered screen channel loudspeakers, the Cinema Experience product line is designed to provide a smooth translation across sound design, dubbing, and exhibition.
The Meyer Sound Acheron system in the new facility has made an immediate impression among the faculty members, including Midge Costin, the academic head of the school’s sound department and a veteran sound editor whose credits include “Crimson Tide,” “Broken Arrow,” and “The Rock.”
“The Acheron speakers really reveal a level of detail that’s absolutely critical for teaching,” remarks Costin. “I have a clip from “Road to Perdition” that I use with my students every year, and I was hearing a ticking sound I’d never noticed before. I looked up at the picture and noticed water dripping in the corner, which turned out to be the source of the ticking sound. In all this time, I’d never heard that before.”
Meyer Sound Acheron offers two different coverage patterns: 100 degree horizontal by 50 degree vertical and 80 degree horizontal by 50 degree vertical, to provide a complete coverage solution to the widest possible variety of spaces. The small mix stages B128 and B130, and the large mix stage 127 at the new complex are outfitted with Acheron 80 screen channel loudspeakers in left and right locations and Acheron 100 loudspeakers in the center. Low-frequency content is covered by X-800 high-powered subwoofers.
The complex’s screening rooms are also equipped with Meyer Sound systems. The small screening room 110 uses a similar layout to the mix stages, while an Acheron 100 loudspeaker is installed in the large screening room 112 for center channel, along with 18 UPJunior™ VariO™ loudspeakers for surround channels.
Meyer Sound engineers have worked closely with USC through the system design and installation process. “One of the age-old challenges in mixing for cinema is consistency,” observes John Meyer, Meyer Sound CEO and co-founder. “The rooms where the sound is created need to sound the same as the rooms where it’s mixed, and those rooms need to sound the same as where the final product is shown to the public. Particularly with multi-channel surround formats, it’s a complex undertaking to achieve that consistency. The new USC facility is unique in that it follows the entire creative process, from creative content creation to post production editing, and from mixing to public exhibition all under one roof.”
“Our overarching goal in designing the Acheron line has been to achieve an exceptionally linear response,” says Meyer. “That linearity, along with greatly increased headroom, allows for a singular solution that can handle everything from classic film to simulcasts of rock concerts, while delivering constant performance at any output level, from the first seat to the last.”
Meyer Sound’s Galileo™ loudspeaker management system covers each room’s complex signal processing needs and, along with RMS™ remote monitoring system, is shared across the building’s network, allowing for real-time monitoring and remote control from anywhere in the complex. “The main control station is portable,” Meyer explains. “It normally resides in the main engineering suite, but can be moved to anywhere else where access might be needed for a specific project.”
Douglas Wellman, director of facilities and operations, comments: “The Meyer speakers are a tremendous addition to the school, particularly in our sound mixing rooms. Faculty, students, and staff have all commented on the clarity and detail of these speakers in our sound critical rooms. Working with the Meyer speakers is a big help in making the transition from school to the professional world as transparent as possible for our students.”
Sound Department Manager Richard Hyland is pleased with the support he has received from Meyer Sound, including the installation and calibration of the systems, and agrees that the new system will have a direct impact on the program’s graduates. “Meyer Sound's loudspeakers provide a remarkable amount of detail, clarity and power,” says Hyland. “And the company’s commitment to our facilities will have a truly positive and enduring effect on our student's educational and creative experiences.”
The installation of the sound system at SCA was handled by Gary Schneider of Suisun City, Calif.-based Media Vision Integration; system design was handled by Stephen Sutter of Berkeley-based Sand Hill Media with assistance from Meyer Sound Design Services.
A joint venture with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts was founded in 1929, and among the school’s notable alumni are filmmakers Ron Howard and Robert Zemeckis; producers Jon Landau and Laura Ziskin; and writers Andrew Marlowe and Shonda Rhimes. George Lucas’s private foundation, Lucasfilm Foundation, has contributed $175 million for the school and the construction and renovations of its educational buildings, with the four remaining structures of the SCA complex to be completed in 2010.