Wednesday, June 23, 2010


West Sussex, UK – June 23, 2010 – Global Immersion, a leader in the field of digital immersive theater and planetarium experiences, has been awarded contract by Moscow Planetarium, Russia, to design and integrate six unique and state-of–the-art Fidelity™ and Intensity® digital displays into three theaters throughout the facility. The theaters are a key part of the large-scale modernization and expansion, and are scheduled for completion in April 2011 when the building will reopen to the public.

Since opening in 1929, Moscow Planetarium has been a center for thousands of Soviet schoolchildren to gaze at the stars and learn about our place in the Universe. The facility closed in 1994 when building modernization talks first began. The new team in Moscow has now finalized renovation plans that will see an expansion of the historic building from 32,000 square ft to 182,000 square ft – making way for a Museum of Astronomy and History of Space Travel, and the new theaters, facilities and exhibits within it.

Global Immersion has been contracted to design and install six display systems into three theaters, in addition to a central production suite and render farm.

The 25-meter/82-ft planetarium will house a seven-channel/fourteen-projector Fidelity Bright™ digital fulldome system. The dome periphery will feature a separate digital panoramic hybrid display - completely synchronized with a new optical star projector from Carl Zeiss. To expand upon the fulldome functionality, a third Fidelity 3D™ display employing the new Sony™ SRX-T420 4K projector will project a 17-meter giant screen 3D image from the rear of the theater. The planetarium will seat up to 364 visitors at a time, and will be managed entirely from the Fidelity Play™ media server and storage facility in the central server room.

Entirely new multi-dimensional experiences
In addition to the core planetarium facility, Global Immersion will be installing two multi-dimensional experiences for visitors. A 46-seat Intensity® 4D theater will be integrated with motion seating from D-BOX® Technologies, ambient sensory effects, and special effect lighting and audio systems. Separately, a 4.6-meter production dome will employ a fulldome display with LED-projection technology, and a further stereocopic 3D fulldome display system – complete with an additional D-BOX motion seat installation.

All of the new theaters will be supported by a range of high-specification real-time, playback and control solutions.

Speaking about the multiple contract award, Martin Howe, Chief Executive at Global Immersion said; “Our new partnership with Moscow Planetarium marks a true milestone in the continued expansion and development of our organization. We are delighted to be working with such an ambitious client who shares our ideals of pushing the boundaries of immersive theater, and envisage each of the new displays and experiences at the Moscow facility as being some of the very best in the world.”

About Global Immersion
Global Immersion is an award-winning organization, dedicated to the unique and innovative medium of immersive theater and specializing in the design and integration of world-class planetarium, giant screen, 3D and 4D environments.

With over thirteen years experience in the world of fulldome displays and scientific data visualization, Global Immersion combines a wide range of proven technologies to create enthralling and exciting immersive theater. As a full-service team, they pull together consultancy, design, technology, engineering, system integration, content and creativity – for world-class experiences that are built for the future.

Fidelity, Fidelity Bright, Fidelity Play and Fidelity 3D are trademarks of Global Immersion Limited
D-BOX is a registered trademark of D-BOX Technologies Inc.
Intensity is a registered trademark of Global Immersion Limited
Sony is a trademark of Sony Corporation

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

TEA’s SATE 2010 conference explores the making of breakthrough guest experiences at theme parks and museums

Orlando, USA 22 June 2010 – “The annual SATE Conference held Sept 30-Oct 1 by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) will be a meaningful and energizing gathering as our industry continues into economic recovery,” says TEA president Steve Thorburn of Thorburn Associates. “We will gather at Universal Orlando resort to discuss and explore new high-profile guest experiences with top creators at theme parks and museums including Universal Studios (Harry Potter), the new Fort Worth Museum of Science & History, the National World War II Museum in New Orleans (Beyond All Boundaries) and Walt Disney Imagineering.”

The four pillars of SATE are Storytelling, Architecture, Technology and Experience. SATE is a professional conference annually convened by TEA, an international alliance for the makers of compelling places and guest experiences. SATE offers two days of presentations and discussions of techniques and practices, examining projects that demonstrate the best application of both. The theme of SATE 2010 is “Telling the Inherited Story.”

Registration for SATE 2010 is now open at

Topics & Speakers
Rocking the storytelling world this summer is the opening of “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter”™ at Universal Orlando® Resort. Members of the team that brought this literary phenomenon to life will take the audience through the process of keeping the integrity of the story intact as it entered the immersive dimension.

Presenters from The Hettema Group, a design and masterplanning company, will talk about the creation of the award-winning “Beyond All Boundaries” 4-D theatrical multimedia experience, which has been drawing record attendance to the World War II Museum in New Orleans.

The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History has transformed itself for the 21st century with an expansion, new building, new exhibits and technology, praised by the public and the press and recognized by the industry. Van Romans, president of the museum and a former Disney executive, and Chick Russell of Chick Russell Communications will be two of the SATE presenters for this project.

A team of Walt Disney Imagineers will share philosophies and approaches in presenting “Keeping the Magic Fresh: Evolving the Legacy.”

Additional SATE presenters will be announced in coming weeks.

ETC Mosaic™ controls Choctaw Casino’s spectacular special effects

For vacationers on the road to the Choctaw Casino Resort, the guest experience begins on the approach to the hotel, with the series of LED-illuminated, color-changing pylons that flank the boulevard. Drawing up to the resort, motorists see a circle of nine obelisks around an entry fountain that incorporates not only dramatic water effects, but lighting and fire. These scenic elements point the way, provide a sense of arrival, and set the mood more distinctively than any signage could do.
Inside, guests are greeted with a second fountain -- a dazzling water-curtain programmed to change colors and water quantity as a kinetic backdrop to a buffalo sculpture. The synchronized magic of all these scenic effects – as well as the entire exterior LED wash lighting of the building -- is performed by ETC Unison® Mosaic show controllers. The Mosaic units control the architectural-lighting fixtures, fountain pumps, rain curtains, and underwater uplights. They are interconnected with an ETC SmartSwitch™ relay panel, an ETC Unison Smartlink® DRd Rack and are networked using the ETC Net3™ ACN-based control-protocol system.

Lighting-design and theater-consulting company Visual Terrain, under contract to FlintCo Inc. and WorthGroup Architects, specified the ETC products as part of their role in providing system design, lighting layout and programming for the suite of effects. “We programmed some 19 different looks that change out every five minutes, and had some 14 effect shows for predetermined holidays,” says Michael Mahlum, senior project designer at Visual Terrain, who along with colleague Jen Goldstein, programmed the six Mosaic controllers -- three primary and three backup, paired for redundancy.

The Mosaic units interface with the building, a digital music-playback unit, and other elements via RS-232 serial commands. They interface with the water pumps using a DMX-to-analog converter and employ an RIO 4/4 from the Mosaic line to control the start and stop times of the fire rings in the entry fountain. The operator interface is simplified to a single point of control. Visual Terrain configured a custom Web interface, for use on a computer, which allows the user to alter the regular programming or suspend it for special events.

“It was really pretty amazing how we were able to control the whole system via Mosaic,” says Mahlum. “You can turn the entire building on and off with the 48 relays, and they allow you to cycle the power on the LEDs and reset the system if necessary. They also give the client the ability to turn on individual elements if they want to, which provided the flexibility to program singular shows or looks that could be controlled independently using just components, or as a whole with all elements being active. Tying it all together with the ETC’s Net3 nodes allowed us to profile what DMX values went to which area, using Ethernet to distribute DMX to the entire building. Without the Mosaic as the controller for the system, we would have needed double the time to program many of the dynamic effects. And as always, ETC tech support was very helpful if we encountered any issues in the field.”

The elaborate fountains and scenic elements were part of the venue’s recent expansion. The Choctaw Nation invested $300 million to enlarge and upgrade the resort (the property originated as a bingo parlor in 1987), which now boasts 111,000 square feet of gaming space and 204,000 square feet of hospitality space and opened in February 2010. Visitors come from the primary market of the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area, and beyond.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Industry Leader and Friend to All Will Koch Passes Away

Indianapolis news outlets are reporting that Holiday World CEO Will Koch passed away in his home Sunday, June 13th. Will was much loved in the park industry, and particularly kind to the media. Despite his busy schedule, he was always willing to take time to answer questions for a story and provide information.

His zest and enthusiasm for this industry will be sorely missed.

-M Palicki