Hopper Engineering Associates has been active in the entertainment industry since the early 1980's. Our clientele includes movie studios, special effects companies, amusement parks, themed venues, theatres, exhibit creators, truss manufacturers, rigging companies and a host of others. The company offers a diverse project history and team of experienced engineers.

Entertainment Industry In Depth:

Hopper Engineering Associates provides multidisciplinary civil, structural and mechanical engineering support to the entertainment industry. Our priority is to ensure your project is completed smoothly, safely and on time. Our team of engineers is licensed in over 20 states, which allows us to support production work throughout the country. We are familiar with the unique materials and hardware used throughout the entertainment industry. Further, we have extensive experience in the design of temporary structures and full scale effects.

The following project examples summarize our experience, however, are in no way comprehensive of our expertise. Please direct specific questions regarding project experience to Wes Brown, Principal.

Featured Projects:

Entertainment ProjectsThis set simulated the appearance and motion under sail of the HMS Rose and was used for filming close-up action on the main deck and gun deck. HEA designed the foundation and structure for one of the largest gimbals ever built, which allowed the set to travel along and rotate on any axis, realistically simulating the motions of a ship at sea.

Entertainment ProjectsHEA provided the structural design of a unique acoustic canopy suspended from the new Hollywood Bowl shell. Seismic analysis showed that the design could take advantage of reduced loading afforded by the pendulum effect of the suspended canopy, which reduced the weight of many structural members.

Entertainment ProjectsAs part of the "National Treasure 2" production, large quantities of water pour out from three large rectangular steel ducts to simulate waterfalls at Universal Studios Falls Lake. HEA designed a wooden support structure to support the ducts and withstand the anticipated forces from the water flow.

Entertainment ProjectsThe "Oceans 13" production wanted a helicopter deck set capable of supporting a helicopter and that could be erected and disassembled quickly. HEA designed structural members to form "pie slice" modules. Each module was individually constructed offsite and lifted by crane into place atop the support framing, which allowed for fast assembly and disassembly.

Entertainment ProjectsThe premiere showing of the new Disney production "Pirates of the Caribbean 3" required a 90' wide by 40' high screen to be installed on Tom Sawyer's Island at Disneyland. HEA designed a guyed aluminum truss and scaffold structure to support the screen for sustained winds up to 30 mph.

Entertainment ProjectsThis set was used to stage the capsizing of the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor. Preserving the safety of live actors aboard the ship was a paramount concern. HEA designed a cantilevered rotisserie gimbal capable of both rotating and pitching the ship as well as the foundation for the gimbal.

Entertainment ProjectsA "Jurassic Park" themed amusement park attraction required signage. HEA designed the sign's inner structure for seismic and wind loads. The sign geometry, its geographical location (Japan) and weight requirements made the structural design particularly challenging.

Entertainment ProjectsThere was a need to provide a temporary structure on the sand at San Clemente Beach for judges, media and VIP area at a surfing competition. HEA evaluated the structure to determined it had adequate capacity to support a live load of 200 occupants and a sustained wind speed of 40 mph.

Entertainment ProjectsHEA designed the framing, foundations, and lifting mechanism for a 100'x50' scenery set piece of a sloped hill. Shooting of the motion picture required that the slope of the hillside be variable. The support structure consisted of five (5) 20'x50' steel panels for ease of transportation. The entire structure was lifted and lowered as one piece by two cranes.

Entertainment ProjectsHEA provided foundation design, structural verification, and safe operating parameters for a ground-supported aluminum truss overhead grid that measured 40 feet wide, 200 feet long, and 70 feet high. The grid supported several stunt men who were to "fly" through the alley set below as though powered by jet packs. The grid also supported a flying camera and provided framework for a fabric sunshade.

Entertainment ProjectsThe premiere of the movie "Up" was held at the El CapitanTheater in Hollywood, CA. Outside the theater for the premiere, a set piece was suspended in the air consisting of a net of balloons 20 ft high, 16 ft diameter, which appeared to suspend a small "house" set piece made of foam. Guy cables were required to hold the set piece in place during moderate wind loads. These guy cables were attached at the El Capitan theater roof and front-side banner support attachments, as well as the canopy support pipes located at the outdoor portion of the mall at the Hollywood - Highland Center. Additionally, (4) ballast points were placed at street level with cables going up to the main spine support cable for both vertical and lateral stability. These guy cable elements, their attachments and ballast were engineered and verified by HEA for the anticipated wind loads.

Entertainment ProjectsThe roof structure shown was purchased by Stage Tech from Total Structures, Inc. and required confirmation for taller (46ft high) columns and higher rigging loads of the (3) LED screens (6000lb each). Additionally, the entire structure had to be supported by 6" deep compacted sand. HEA used the data from a previous analysis (Aerosmith played on that stage in Hawaii) and modified the configuration to reflect the current height, loading and wind loads (20 mph max) that were required for this analysis. On site the structure was completely assembled without issue in 31 hours (by others). After the show was complete, the structure was then disassembled in 12 hours.

Additional Spotlight Projects:

Below you will find additional entertainment related projects we have worked on.