ABOVE: Alcorn McBride booth, InfoComm Show 2016
From June 6-8, AVIXA (the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, formerly known as InfoComm International) will hold its annual InfoComm trade show in Las Vegas. The prime event for the professional AV integration community, InfoComm 2018 will showcase over 10,000 products, many of them applicable to the themed entertainment industry.
AV and tech systems being essential to visitor attractions these days, there are plenty of InfoComm exhibitors and attendees active in the themed entertainment space. To find out what themed entertainment professionals have to look forward to at InfoComm 2018, we spoke with a number of manufacturers and integrators.
One common trend is an increased demand for interactivity and for increased complexity in design. According to Alcorn McBride chief innovation officer Scott Harkless, “These trends absolutely have an impact to core strengths of AV and show control. This is precisely why we’re developing solutions to make easy work of these complicated requirements.”
Eric Lehman, business development officer, 7thSense Design points out the advantages of interactive elements: “For existing attractions, this can be a great technology and experience refresh. For new attractions, it can really make things easier when it comes to media creation. With the use of real-time assets, owners and operators can easily change an attraction to support night-time and seasonal events and revert to daily operation at the push of a button.”
“Visitors expect to be ‘WOWed’ when visiting theme parks, while experiencing all the attractions a theme park has to offer,” says Cynthia Pawlowski, marketing manager, Panasonic Media Entertainment Company. “By using high-brightness projectors, interactive professional displays and massive LED displays, 3D, 4K, and 8K content is being used to create special, immersive and engaging effects.”
Designers and integrators may be looking for a complete end-to-end AV solution. Christie spokesperson Deborah Noon says the company’s “collaborative relationship with end-users has resulted in developing technology to meet our customers’ needs now and down the road, designing projection and display solutions that include processing, playback devices, software and projectors, and backing our solutions with industry-leading service and support.”
Video servers, a key element in media-based attractions, are getting much more powerful, according to Scott Arnold, founder of TechFulcrum, a technical design specialist. “Every year you can do more in processing that you don’t have to do in post-production. You can be more creative in using video as a medium, through new techniques and technologies like blending large numbers of projectors, pixel mapping, etc.”
“During the past years we have seen a constant rise in video resolution and frame rates in the entertainment sector, trying to close the gap between vision and reality,” says Gerd Trautner, manager partner and founder of BrainSalt. “Ten years after our first 60 fps (frames per second) dome, we are now providing uncompressed 120 fps playback solutions for attractions, that would not work with less.” Trautner foresees that “the run for higher resolutions and frame rates will slow down and might stop somewhere around 16K@240 fps. He expects VR solutions to become competitive with projection and that there will be a trend to “very complex projection systems, with real-time content creation, tracking, moving objects and interaction.”
What makes themed entertainment an attractive niche market?
Lehman explains that 7thSense is “thrilled to be involved with everyone from the top down. We like to be involved as early as possible during the ‘blue sky’ phase so that we can help ensure the creative teams are aware of the tools available to support their vision. It is also an opportunity to feed information back to our product engineers about trends in the use of technology in storytelling.”
For Christie the joy is in the number of diverse canvases on which their projectors, equipment, and software can perform. According to Noon, the company “is proud to be involved in pioneering projects from inspiring storytelling in museums and real-time trips to the stars in full dome planetariums to the largest projection mapping spectaculars and never-before-seen theme park attractions. Our focus is on empowering our customers to put pixels anywhere they can imagine.”
Panasonic’s Pawlowski says the company prides itself on the industry’s ability “to give patrons an experience they just can’t duplicate at home . . . we work closely with our customers to provide highly customized solutions based on a wide range of technologies, taking a ‘live’ experience to a whole new level. Immersing visitors in the action more completely and creating storytelling experiences all adds up to a one-of-a-kind experience that enables a closer relationship with our customers, and their audiences.”
“The themed entertainment sector is searching for great attractions,” says BrainSalt’s Trautner. “Creatives and designers develop visions of an attraction and we try to provide the technology to realize this vision in the best possible way, trying to close the gap between vision and reality. This allows us to work on some of the world’s best and biggest attractions, together with the industries most talented experts and we are thankful and proud to be involved that way.”
Alcorn McBride’s Harkless says the great part of being in the industry is the relationship his company has established with the parks and vendors. “Our passion to help attraction designers achieve their creative intent pushes us to develop cutting-edge AV and show control solutions – purpose-built products that are designed to outlast the attraction. We love helping others to succeed in building attractions that guests and their families will enjoy for generations.”
For TechFulcrum’s Arnold: “What’s not to love? It’s not an easy vocation, but what TechFulcrum gets to do is new things all the time. People from all walks of life enjoy these projects and they get to smile.” His threefold summary: “We get to make people happy, we get to play with new toys, and because we’re always pushing the envelope, we never do the same thing twice.”
We asked those companies exhibiting on the InfoComm show floor to give us a preview of which products of interest to the themed entertainment industry will be on display in their booths.
Alcorn McBride will highlight several new products that are designed to streamline system architecture for themed attractions like dark rides, parades, and coasters.
• V16X show controller – described as a “next generation product which supports enhanced synchronization via network; designed to coordinate with other V16X-based sub-systems and RidePlayerbased vehicles to ensure microsecond precision and rock-solid consistency. This product embodies our goal to make challenging tasks like synchronizing on-board audio to off-board systems a simple and seamless experience for attraction designers.”
• RideAmp – New on-board audio amplifier that the company says “will serve as a natural companion product for RidePlayer for applications that demand high-power audio amplification. It offers four channels of amplification at 350W with the option to bridge outputs to achieve 700W; all in a compact package that’s designed to survive the brutal environment of a ride vehicle. Dante/AES67 network audio distribution ensures a nice clean audio signal and remote monitoring.”
7thSense Design: High Frame Rate (HFR), native 8K and high bit-depth, or High Dynamic Range (HDR) displays are all key themes for the company’s Delta Media Server at InfoComm this year – described as “key solutions that the themed entertainment market is looking for.” The company doesn’t have its own stand at the show but its products are found in many locations on the floor supporting several of the company’s technology partners and feeding their displays and demonstrations.
AV Stumpfl global marketing manager Hans Stucken promises a “sneak-preview of a truly groundbreaking new software development, which we believe is the first true next-generation media server software solution. This software has never been openly shown to the public before, so InfoComm visitors are in for a real treat. In terms of projection screens, a number of different projection screen systems will be shown at InfoComm, with our new T-32 Shift screen system leg expected to be of particular interest to anyone interested in mobile projection screens.”
Barco’s Eric Cantrell, NA Sales Manager, Medialon Division reports that Barco will be focusing on its F70/ F80/F90 and UDX projectors at InfoComm as well as its UniSee bezel-less LCD Wall, and its Medialon show control and Overture enterprise-wide AV management software. There is also talk of a 75,000 lumen projector making an appearance.
Christie will present numerous products expected to be of interest for themed entertainment applications:
• New Christie® Crimson Series of 3DLP® laser phosphor projectors, designed to deliver up to 25,000 ISO lumens, 60Hz processing, and Christie BoldColor Technology “in a compact and rugged package with a low cost of ownership for theme parks, attractions, museums, and staging and production companies.”
• New alignment technology, Christie Guardian will be demonstrated. It is designed to work with Christie Mystique to invisibly and automatically align multiple projectors. Mystique and Guardian are exclusive to Christie and are compatible with Christie Boxer and Christie Crimson projectors.
• New Christie 4K10-HS laser phosphor projector, designed to deliver 4K technology in a 1DLP® solution; equipped with Christie’s proprietary BoldColor Technology, which uses Blue + Red Laser Diode combination “for the most accurate, lifelike color reproduction and deeper blacks.” With 360-degree orientation, a small form factor, 10,000 lumens, and Christie Twist technology, the Christie 4K10-HS is described as ideal for public spaces and themed entertainment venues. The 4K10-HS is designed to be fully compatible with Christie Terra and features SDVoE connectivity so customers can send video directly to the projector. It has two expandable option slots and an integrated Camera for Auto Warp, Focus, and Zoom.
Panasonic’s InfoComm booth will include displays of the company’s latest innovative visual solutions and professional video technologies to back up its statement, “We anticipate the future, innovate continuously and integrate technologies into breakthrough solutions for our customers, to create technologies that move us toward a better life and a better world.” This will include the company’s new 4K projector and 4K professional display portfolios, along with audiovisual solutions for ‘live’ events, museum exhibitions, houses of worship, higher education, corporate offices, control room and broadcast venues and more. • • •
Comments Off on Eric Nolfo joins 7thSense Design as Project Manager
Comments Off on Connect&GO launches Safeband physical distancing and contact tracing solution
Comments Off on Vietnam’s Hoiana Suncity employs HARMAN Professional for AV and background music
Comments Off on More than 23,000 attend first virtual InfoComm show
Jul 03, 2020 Comments Off on SEA LIFE Aquarium at LEGOLAND California Resort adds patriotic display to tanks
Jul 03, 2020 Comments Off on NBA and Major League Soccer prepare to play 2020 seasons at Walt Disney World
Jul 02, 2020 Comments Off on Soaky Mountain Waterpark opens in Tennessee featuring first of its kind watercoaster
Jul 01, 2020 Comments Off on Hydro Adventures remains closed for remainder of season, considering options for future
Jun 11, 2020 Comments Off on #81 – COVID-19 and beyond
Jun 11, 2020 Comments Off on Editorial: Finding paths forward during uncertain times
Jun 11, 2020 Comments Off on Editorial: Appreciation for Alf Heller, to whom I owe my career
Jun 11, 2020 Comments Off on Mack Rides: Through the generations
Jun 11, 2020 Comments Off on Connect&GO: Removing barriers
Jun 10, 2020 Comments Off on CAVU Designwerks: Self-Driving Vehicle
Jun 10, 2020 Comments Off on DreamCraft Attractions: Reality, but better
Jun 10, 2020 Comments Off on Around Disney’s Galaxy in 25 minutes
Jun 10, 2020 Comments Off on Inside the mouse house
May 19, 2020 Comments Off on Touch-free and other options for a new world of interactive exhibits
May 05, 2020 Comments Off on Inside the time machine
Apr 22, 2020 Comments Off on InPark exclusive: International participants in Dubai Expo 2020 share thoughts on the likely one-year postponement and the status of their pavilions
Apr 13, 2020 Comments Off on What should Themed Experience graduates know, say and do?
Apr 10, 2020 Comments Off on What will it mean to postpone Expo 2020 Dubai until 2021?
Apr 09, 2020 Comments Off on Sustaining the mission: Zoos and aquariums in the age of COVID-19
Jun 30, 2020 Comments Off on Right place, write timeHollywood screenwriter Bennett Yellin authors a new future...
May 18, 2020 Comments Off on Eleventh Hour: The rise of consultants since COVID-19 affords a vision of leadership for the Location Based and Themed Entertainment Industry.To help companies respond to industry-specific challenges,...
May 05, 2020 Comments Off on Inside the time machineCreative Principals’ Geoff Thatcher says now is the...
Apr 22, 2020 Comments Off on InPark exclusive: International participants in Dubai Expo 2020 share thoughts on the likely one-year postponement and the status of their pavilionsLeaders of several national pavilions being developed for...
Apr 03, 2020 Comments Off on Bingo Tso, ACE International, on the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on Asian companies and the attractions marketBingo Tso of ACE International shares his perspective from...
Mar 17, 2020 Comments Off on COVID-19: Reassurances from Beijing and Kelly Ryner (Thinkwell)"As for business here in China, there is a lot of positive...
Dec 25, 2019 Comments Off on California’s Great America WinterFest: Transforming a theme park into a holiday wonderland.With millions of lights and thousands of decorations, the...
Nov 16, 2019 Comments Off on #80 – IAAPA 2019Table of contents
Nov 15, 2019 Comments Off on Meet Amanda ThompsonIAAPA’s incoming chair has deep roots in the attractions...
Nov 15, 2019 Comments Off on TEA 2020A chat with Michael Blau - incoming TEA International Board...
Nov 14, 2019 Comments Off on IAAPA 2019 Chair David Rosenberg: The aqua-manRosenberg serves as the 2019 Chair of the IAAPA Board of...
Nov 14, 2019 Comments Off on CircusTrix CEO Fernando Eiroa: Leaps and boundsInPark spoke with Eiroa about the unique business of...
Nov 09, 2019 Comments Off on InPark exclusive: Interviews with Jeremy Railton and Scott Ault on the launch of their new company, Railton Entertainment Design (RED)Themed entertainment design veterans Jeremy Railton and...
Oct 22, 2019 Comments Off on ISE 2020The annual Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) trade show for...
Oct 21, 2019 Comments Off on IAAPA: “Wear comfortable shoes!”"If this is your first Expo, attend the First Time...
Sep 11, 2019 Comments Off on Netflix and thrill: Greg Lombardo joins the content streaming powerhouse as Head of ExperiencesLombardo brings with him more than a decade experience in...
Sep 10, 2019 Comments Off on Transitions: Leaps and boundsIndustry professionals are making moves and creating waves
Sep 09, 2019 Comments Off on Exploring IAAPA EuropeMeet recent additions to IAAPA’s European team
Aug 08, 2019 Comments Off on IPM Interview: Jennifer Lee Hackett, Sinking Ship EntertainmentGiant screen veteran Jennifer Lee Hackett has joined...
Jun 28, 2019 Comments Off on John Miceli and the new DE-ŹYN StudiosThroughout his career, John Miceli has worked in feature...
Jun 26, 2019 Comments Off on Meet Lionsgate Entertainment World’s new general manager: Selena MagillMeet the new GM of Lionsgate Entertainment World, scheduled...
May 08, 2019 Comments Off on ECA2: All eyes on LanzhouECA2's latest spectacle, a permanent installation in a...
May 06, 2019 Comments Off on IAAPA Expo Asia"Establishing a presence in both Hong Kong and Shanghai...
Apr 29, 2019 Comments Off on Vekoma: Coasting around AsiaInPark spoke to Jason Pan, Vekoma’s regional director of...
Mar 21, 2019 Comments Off on Lisa Passamonte GreenThe Thea Awards Nominating Committee annually reviews and...