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Theme park AV solutions help simulate aerial journeys

Shanghai/Shenzhen Dark Ride Setup

An electronics company has provided specialised AV solutions for two new dark ride attractions near Shanghai and in Shenzhen, north of Hong Kong.

Developer OCT is expanding its network of theme parks throughout China and chose Electrosonic to provide full projection screens, the main show control system, 4D effects, audio and lighting. Electrosonic worked in conjunction with Huss Attractions, which provided the complex ride system and brought in creative content producers Super 78 Studios.

Both attractions are movie based dark rides featuring complex curved screens and a quad projection system with custom lenses, dynamic audio reinforcement and 4D effects. In Shanghai, 'Flight of the Dragon' depicts an aerial journey over China, while in Shenzhen, 'Flying America' depicts US from its cities and landmarks to its national parks and diverse terrain. A fan, water sprits and scents are attached to each seat and are used, for example, to give the illusion of flying, to simulate the mist of Niagara Falls.

According to Thursby Pierce, Electrosonic project manager, the main challenge was that OCT had not previously built such an attraction. "Add to that the usual logistics of shipping equipment into China and clearing customs – both very time consuming processes," said Pierce. "We worked closely with the client and [ride-arm supplier] Huss Attractions to design the attractions to be as immersive as possible. We served as lead designer for the placement of the vehicles in relation to the screens and projection systems, supplying information on how to configure the rooms and where to locate equipment."

Pierce assembled a team to work on the Shanghai and Shenzhen projects. "Having Electrosonic offices in China was priceless," he said. "Gary Belshaw, from Electrosonic Hong Kong, was integral to the success of the attractions. Gary took on crew chief duties, was onsite driving the local subcontractors and handled the show programming with help from Electrosonic engineer Tony Peugh."

The rest of the Electrosonic team included John Notarnicola, responsible for projection design and set up and acted as projectionist; Stephen Scott, who provided 3D CAD models of the domed screens and projection systems; Tim Smith, who served as general engineer helping with audio design and the placement of the screens relative to the ride vehicles; and Nancy Liu, from Electrosonic's Shanghai office who served as the client sales liaison.

Chris Shaw

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