21 Apr Bringing the wonders of space travel to IMAX theatre-goers with hearing loss
IMAX theatres are a key attraction for visitors to the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex in Florida. With 3D stereoscopic film technology and a superior sound system, they offer an immersive cinema experience.
The two theatres run back to back shows for more than 1.7 million visitors each year with breath-taking presentations about NASA and space exploration.
Following a successful project to install hearing loops at the Centre’s ticket windows, our local dealer, Complete Hearing Solutions, was asked by the Complex’s management to advise on making the theatres accessible for visitors with hearing loss.
Our local dealers have more than 10 years’ experience of designing and installing assistive listening systems.
They conducted a site survey to measure potential electrical interference and metal content on site. The team also looked at the seating layout to determine the best installation method.
Complete coverage with a phased array
Complete Hearing Solution’s engineers designed a phased array layout for the hearing loop cable.
A flat copper tape was installed across the steep seating area ensuring an even signal coverage throughout. The tape was installed under the carpet running across the seating lines, under the bullnose and stairways.
It rose vertically on horizontal surfaces and half walls to achieve an even signal coverage compliant to the IEC 60118-4 standard. Once complete, the copper loop cable was completely invisible.
From the auditorium, the hearing loop feeder cable was routed under the wall plaster and through to the audio room beneath the seating area. Two Contacta HLD9 drivers, with their 36V power capacity, power the entire loop system, delivering high quality and latency-free sound transmission.
Visitors with hearing loss can now watch the presentations with clarity and no sound delay.
Reviewing provision to improve the experience
The IMAX theatre was renovated in early 2020. This gave the Complete Hearing Solutions team an opportunity to improve the system. Grooves were cut into the concrete floor using compound cutting saws, allowing for new loop cables to be secured into the floor slabs. The management of the complex were delighted with the outcome and have asked for a new hearing loop system to be installed at the Universe Theatre on site. This theatre hosts the breathtaking 3D presentation about the Hubble Space Telescope.