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SuperNova Technology in Entertainment + MB: Architecture

Apr 10 - 11, 2020 · Universal City, United States of America

This is a Supernova ACTIVITY Day for Scouts working on meeting Requirement #4 of the Supernova Award - whether the Bronze (Dr Bernard Harris) or the Silver (Thomas Edison) - for this 2019-2020 school year....who enjoy learning about:

The technical secrets of Hollywood, such as Foley effects, Motion Capture photography and digital imagery with the assistance of a professional theatrical team. We will receive an in-depth tour both backstage and on stage, and get a detailed view on how blockbuster movies are made.

  • The cost includes full day park admission into Universal Studios Theme Park.
  • Annual Passes are not valid for admission to any Technical Tour.


Supernova Technology in Entertainment

Many of today’s movies involve extensive use of technology to create illusions of magnificent landscapes, mythical beasts, epic battle scenes, and so on. This activity involves learning about some of these technologies and applying them in a real-life setting.

Part 1: Building Knowledge

Choose a favorite, recent movie that is heavily laden with special effects, available for home viewing, and accompanied by supplemental material that describes and shows how the special effects were created. After you have chosen a movie, do the following:

  1. Watch and study the material on the special effects.
  2. Do some supplemental research on some of these special effects to build your understanding of them.
  3. Choose one scene in the movie, or even one frame, and describe in detail to your mentor how that scene or frame was put together using various special effects.
  4. Discuss with your mentor which of the special effects you would implement (even if just crudely) if you were to take a still photo or make a short video and wanted to give the illusion of something magnificent or unusual happening.

Part 2: Creating a Grand Illusion

Develop a plan for creating a still photo or a short video that would require special effects to convey the image or action that you desire to show. Be sure you share your plan with your mentor before you get started. For a still photo, make a crude sketch of what you want the photo to look like. For a video, make a storyboard of the action sequence. In either case, describe the special effects you would use to create each element of the piece. Discuss the following with your mentor:

  1. What you would do first and how.
  2. The sequence of special events and how everything goes together in the end. Do as many of the parts of the photo or video yourself as possible and describe what would best be done by highly trained and/or educated professionals.



Scouts planning to earn this Architecture Merit Badge with the Architect who designed the theme park should do the following:

(a) read their Architecture Merit Badge booklet from cover to cover by 04/01/2020;

(b) organize their notes in either a notebook of their choice or use the Architecture worksheet available at http://usscouts.org/mb/worksheets/Architecture.pdf by 04/08/2020;

and EITHER (c) sign up for ONE walking tour of the Walt Disney Concert Hall at their convenience by 04/01/2020 at https://www.musiccenter.org/visit/Exploring-the-Center/Guided/ and https://www.musiccenter.org/visit/Exploring-the-Center/Self-Guided-Tours/ - OR (d) sign up for LA Lone Scouts' walking tours to use the following guides: https://www.laconservancy.org/sites/default/files/files/resources/Spring-Street-Kids-Guide.pdf + https://www.laconservancy.org/sites/default/files/files/resources/LA_River_Bridges.pdf + https://www.laconservancy.org/sites/default/files/files/resources/kids-city-hall.pdf + 

*** The LA Lone Scouts' Walking Tours will be available via private links to Scouts on this Supernova Roster only for youth protection and privacy.



All Scouts must be in Grades 6-12 for the 2019-2020 school year to participate.

All Scouts must wear their Class A field uniform to attend.



1) Parking and travel arrangements from wherever you are and Universal City is your responsibility.

2) The cost posted includes full day park admission into Universal Studios Theme Park. There are no discounts for anyone attending the Technical Tour - everyone pays the same price including adults, scouts, students, employees.

3) There are NO REFUNDS unless canceled.

4) There is NO WAITLIST.

5) ALPHA PATROL is for Scouts BSA First Class/Star/Life/Eagle who are completing  their Supernova Award requirements...whether the Bronze Bernard Harris Award, or the Silver Thomas Edison Award.

6) ALPHA PATROL is also for Venturers/SeaScouts who are completing their Supernova Award requirements...whether the Bronze, Silver, or the Gold Albert Einstein Award.

7) CHARLIE PATROL is for Scouts who are NOT in the Supernova Program. Charlie Patrol Scouts may be working on their Architecture merit badge requirements after the Technical Tour ends.

8) This is a SEMI drop-off. 

  • Scouts BSA who are 12-13 years old (or have special needs) MUST be accompanied by 1-adult BSA chaperone from the same troop at the maximum ratio of 4-scouts to 1-adult from the same troop.
  • Scouts BSA/SeaScouts/Venturers who are 14-17 years old MAY be accompanied by 1-Adult BSA Chaperone from the same troop at the maximum ratio of 8-Scouts to 1-adult from the same troop.

9) AGENDA for Friday April 10, 2020 

  • 08:30 AM: Check In with LA Lone Scouts 
  • 09:00 AM: Technical Tour/Behind The Scenes with Universal Studios Theatrical Team for Alpha Patrol + Charlie Patrol + Delta Patrol
  • 11:30 AM - Technical Tour/Behind The Scenes with Universal Studios Theatrical Team ends.
    • Charlie Patrol checks out to reunite with family/friends to have lunch and/or visit attractions on their own until 3:30 PM.
    • Delta Patrol checks out to reunite with family/friends for the rest of the day.
  • 12:00 PM: Supernova Program Continues with Supernova Mentor + Architect.
  • 03:30 PM: Architecture Merit Badge Discussion at Hogsmead Village for Alpha + Charlie 




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