Figuring out how the space shuttle Atlantis will alter the acoustics of a room isn’t a task many people would consider part of a typical day of work. But for Show Production graduate Andrew Johnson, “typical” isn’t a word he uses a lot when talking about his career as a design associate at Electronsonic Inc.
Electrosonic is among the nation’s premiere developers of audio/video systems for museums and theme parks, and as a design consultant, Andrew is at the forefront of their consulting, fabrication, and installation. Since joining the company in 2005, he’s had a hand in creating the A/V setups for facilities like Newseum at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C, the World War II Museum in New Orleans, and the China Shipbuilding Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.
“There’s a lot more to it than just putting up some gear, it’s about understanding all these other factors, like the ambient light conditions,” he says. “I’ve had some great opportunities, and being able to travel somewhere like Shanghai is just amazing. There were 7 million people that went through the pavilion I helped make.”
Some of Andrew’s most challenging work has been for the Kennedy Space Center. One of those projects has been the Exploration Space Museum, which features a 10,000 square-foot exhibit hall, and it’s hard to imagine ever complaining about rewiring your home entertainment system after hearing about the massive installation. Andrew’s unique solutions didn’t go unrecognized, though; the installation won a Pro AV Spotlight Award for the Best Government AV Project.
“We have 12 projection systems that are warped onto these geometrical screens,” he says. “Then there’s a large-scale shuttle launch sequence that utilizes a multitrack sound system that’s synchronized with all the projection systems in the building. It really gives you the feeling of watching an actual launch.”
As a tech guy, Andrew explains “It’s tough not to want to buy this stuff for my house,” and he feels fortunate that his role with Electrosonic allows him to play with the latest innovations in entertainment technology. In addition, he also admits a sense of pride in becoming an authority in his field while collaborating with leaders from other industries.
“It’s been humbling to be working with some of the most innovative designers in the world, like NASA, but the neater thing is once they come to you with questions,” he says. “It’s gratifying to be in a position to provide an expertise to companies that I used to look up to.”