Flying Dragon28 September 2021
/ A new generation of flying theater is the newest addition to China’s biggest film studios /
You’ve surely heard of Hollywood, and of Bollywood – but have you ever heard of Chinawood? Spanning over 330ha, and with indoor areas for almost 500,000sqm, it is the largest film studio in the world. Its real name is Hengdian World Studios and it is located in the Zhejiang Province of China, more precisely in the town of Hengdian, in the city of Dongyang. More than 1,200 movies and TV shows have been filmed on the grounds, including Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning ‘Crouching Tiger’, Hidden Dragon and Disney’s recent 2020 live action remake of ‘Mulan’, as well as many more movies that helped d share China’s culture with the world.
The incredible part: use of the 13 sets (which include a real-size reproduction of the Chinese Imperial Palace Building built in the Qin and Han periods, 1800-2200 years ago) is free for the filming crews. The studio makes returns on the equipment and costumes, the many hotels and restaurants on site, as well as from the 20 million tourists it welcomes every year, because of course this is a great visitors attraction. Beside exploring the sets not in use, visitors can enjoy wonderful shows on par with Las Vegas’ Cirque du Soleil productions, but focusing on aspects of Chinese culture, like the philosophy and practice of Tai Chi in “Dreamlike Tai Chi” or Shanghai in the 1930s and 1940s in the “Water Dance Show.” And of course there are also more literal attractions.
The latest addition in this sense is a flying theater with a 25m full-dome screen. The project was developed by German company project:syntropy, a specialist in technology and display solutions for dome cinemas and immersive attractions. Making use of more than a decade of experience, for this project the company developed an entirely new generation of flying theater experiences: the flyDome. “The theater is a mix between a theme park ride and a cinema,” explained Christoph Bode, CTO of project:syntropy. “Users are suspended in ride seats in front of a 25m dome screen. The seats then lurch and move as though the users are in the film, creating a fully immersive experience.”
For a fully-immersive experience in such a big dome, the most crucial component is possibly the projection equipment. The projection needed to be flawless, with visitors directly facing it at all times. “We needed a projector that could provide a state-of-the-art visual result without needing maintenance frequently,” Bode confirmed. For that, project:syntropy chose 16 HIGHlite Laser II projectors by digital imaging pioneer and industry leader Digital Projection, a UK-based multinational company. At 13,000 lumens, the HIGHlite Laser II promises a breath-taking visual performance full of sharp, impactful colors with its 10,000:1 dynamic contrast. The projectors and calibration cameras were installed around the opening of the dome screen, ensuring full coverage for the visuals.
The dome’s visuals are supported by a sophisticated 20-plus multi-channel surround sound system located behind the screen, ensuring users are completely immersed into an environment that literally plunges them into a totally different world. “The visual result is magnificent, with an impressive uniformity for the full 4K dome screen. Brightness values were vital to the size of the dome screen, and the HIGHlite met them with ease,” Bode commented. “We also needed a company that was in close proximity, allowing for capable technicians at the site within a day’s notice – something Digital Projection China could provide.” Even with maintenance close-by, it helps that the system uses a solid-state illumination system, meaning that the projector requires no lamp replacements in more than 20,000 hours of illumination, further reducing costs.
“The end result matched what…
Continue reading Games & Parks Industry September 2021, page 66
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