Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tokyo Disneyland updating its Star Tours attraction for 2013

URAYASU, CHIBA— Tokyo Disneyland® Park announced that its attraction Star Tours in Tomorrowland will be revamped, reopening with the new title, Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. The new version of the attraction will open in spring 2013.

The current Star Tours is an immersive motion-based adventure that lets guests experience the thrills of space travel in the world of the Star Wars film series. The attraction opened at Tokyo Disneyland in 1989, and now after more than 20 years, it still remains popular among guests of all ages.


The main feature of the revamped attraction is that guests can enjoy the thrills of a new and unpredictable experience with every ride. The ride is comprised of several scenes, each with multiple scenarios for each scene that are selected at random. This means that guests never know what they will encounter out of the more than 50 possible story combinations for every ride. The attraction will also feature 3-D images for the first time, allowing guests to feel like they’ve truly entered into the world of the Star Wars film series.


Attraction Facts

  • Opening date: Spring 2013
  • Duration: About 4 minutes 30 seconds
  • Capacity: 40 seats per cabin
  • Number of cabins: 6 cabins
  • Investment: About 7 billion yen
  • Note: In preparation for this renewal, Star Tours will close as of April 2, 2012.

Hong Kong Disney unveils new Toy Story Land (PICTURES!)

All images courtesy Hong Kong Disneyland
(Hong Kong) – On 17 November 2011, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort hosted the grand opening ceremony of Toy Story Land, a brand new themed area exclusive to Hong Kong within Asia, today. The opening of Toy Story Land marks a key milestone for the Resort, concluding the first phase of its expansion project. Inspired by the global blockbuster Toy Story trilogy, the new themed area contains imaginative, storytelling attractions that can be enjoyed by Guests from Hong Kong and around the world alike. 
The Honorable Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region met and took photo with Woody and Jessie.
In an opening ceremony staged in front of the 6-meter tall Woody at the entrance of Toy Story Land, Bill Ernest, President and Managing Director, Asia Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Andrew Kam, Managing Director of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Joe Lanzisero, Creative Senior Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering welcomed Guests and media to the historic event. The HonorableJohn Tsang, Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; Mr. Shao Qi Wei, Chairman of the National Tourism Administration of the People’s Republic of China; the HonorableGregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; and Mr. Philip Yung, Commissioner for Tourism of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region were present as Guests of Honor to help kick off the official launch of the first themed area of the Resort’s expansion project. 
Bill Ernest, President and Managing Director, Asia Walt Disney Parks and Resorts greeted Stephen Young, Ambassador, US Consulate General, Paul Tse, Legislative Council Member and Pamela Pak, District Council Member.
“Today we mark the beginning of another new and exciting chapter at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort with the opening of Toy Story Land, the first of three new themed areas of our expansion project,” said Bill Ernest. “For the first time ever, Hong Kong Disneyland Guests can experience the feeling of being shrunk to the size of a toy when they enter Andy’s backyard to play with their favorite Toy Story friends.” 

Subsequent to the opening of Toy Story Land, the second themed area of the expansion project, Grizzly Gulch, will be completed and opened to public in 2012, followed by the third, Mystic Point, in 2013. The whole expansion project will increase the Park’s physical footprint by 23% and bring the number of overall park attractions, entertainment facilities and shows to total more than 100. 


“The completion of this multi-phase expansion project will not only increase the Park’s physical footprint, it also demonstrates The Walt Disney Company’s commitment to the people of Hong Kong and the continued growth of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. This enhances Hong Kong’s overall competitiveness as Asia’s top tourist destination,” added Ernest. 

Ronny Tong, Legislative Council Member and Guests had a thrilled ride on RC Racer with Bill Ernest, President and Managing Director, Asia Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Andrew Kam, Managing Director of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Joe Lanzisero, Senior Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering – Creative.
“All of us here at the Resort are so proud and thrilled to be a part of this moment,” said Andrew Kam. “We’d like to thank everyone for their support in getting us to this point, including the over 20,000 guests – including trade partners, Magic Access members, alliance partners, media friends, celebrities and etc – who joined us for rehearsal days in early November, whose positive feedback has been greatly appreciated.
“Also, thank you to all those who have worked with us on our comprehensive marketing strategy, which has created tremendous buzz around Toy Story Land throughout the city,” added Kam. “We’re delighted to see the positive business overview that is resulting from the limitless imagination and extraordinary effort of our 5,000-plus Cast Members, partners and various lifestyle brands.” 

The Slinky Dog Spin
Bringing the cherished stories of the Toy Story movies to the real world, Toy Story Land provides an incredible, immersive experience for Guests of all ages and cultural backgrounds. Entering the themed area, Guests will feel like they’re being shrunk to the size of a toy as they are transported to the oversized world of Andy’s backyard. In addition to the three main new attractions – RC Racer, Slinky Dog Spin and Toy Soldier Parachute Drop – Guests will also be enthralled by all the new food and beverage options, entertainment, photo opportunities and merchandise offered in Toy Story Land. With the magic of toys coming to life through all its interactive and playful adventures, playtime at Toy Story Land will become a highlight of the Hong Kong tourism experience that is not to be missed. 

Also showcasing the spirit of imagination in action were 300 young talents from the community who participated in Disney ImagiNations Hong Kong, a design competition in which students from select education institutions in Hong Kong were invited to apply their technical, artistic and creative skills to developing hypothetical concepts for theme park attractions and experiences concepts. About 50 finalists gathered at the newly opened Toy Story Land today to witness this prime example of imagination being transformed into the reality. 

In addition, from November 18, 2011 to January 2, 2012, all Hong Kong residents and tourists can also come visit Andy’s backyard at Hong Kong Disneyland and also celebrate Christmas. This Christmas, to welcome Woody, Jessie and all the other new toys to Toy Story Land, Mickey has also invited all Guests to join in a whimsical celebration – Santa Mickey’s Toy-riffic Street Party. Toys will come to life, dancing down the snowy Main Street, U.S.A. Christmas Town amidst its many whimsical decorations and romantic atmosphere. Guests won’t be able to resist chiming in with calls of “Toy to the World!” 


To celebrate the opening of Toy Story Land, Corporate Alliances partners will launch a series of promotions to invite customers to the Park. one2free customers signing up to selected service plans are eligible for two complimentary park tickets or an exclusive Limited Edition “Toy Story” Pre-Paid SIM and Voucher Box Set. Citibank Visa Cardholders can enter lucky draw and have a chance to win a Magical Vacation at Hong Kong Disneyland by meeting designated spending and redeeming “$10 Redemption” Rewards at Harbour City. And Guests who present a Park Ticket dated from Dec 1 onwards and purchase over 60 prints via digital output service at selected Kodak Express outlets can enjoy discounts and get a Toy Story Land themed 5R border print for free.

Guests can also get a chance to win Park Tickets when they purchase a “Coca-Cola” Combo offer at MCL Cinemas, sing karaoke at Neway Karaoke Box or purchase Toy Story merchandise at Toys “R” Us.


Tickets are available at Hong Kong Disneyland Ticket Express in MTR Hong Kong Station, the Hong Kong Disneyland Main Entrance, The Magic of Hong Kong Disneyland at Hong Kong International Airport, All Circle K outlets in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Disneyland Ticketing Booth at Atrium I of Gateway Arcade, Harbour City (Available until January 01), Ave nue of Stars Kiosks in Tsim Sha Tsui, selected Travelex Hong Kong Store and selected travel agents. Visit www.hongkongdisneyland.com.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Themed Entertainment Association installs new International and Division Board members

Orlando, Florida, USA – “Every year, we have to thank the many Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) volunteers who commit to running for International and Division Board positions,” said Rick Rothschild of Far OUT! Creative Direction, President of the TEA’s International Board, speaking on 16 Nov 2011 from the IAAPA Attractions Expo. “Once again, an exceptional cadre of industry professionals have stepped forward and have been elected by their peers to provide leadership and governance to our alliance.”

Rothschild also thanked outgoing International Board Directors John Wood, Sally Corp. and Scott Mallwitz, Cuningham Group, for their years of service, and outgoing Presidents of the TEA’s Eastern and Western Division Boards respectively, Brian Morrow of SeaWorld and David Aion of AION Company. Additional thanks were given to outgoing Europe & Middle East Division directors Alan Wilkinson, Electrosonic Ltd. and Hester Kloosterboer, The Smile of Experience, and outgoing Western Division Director Adrian Fischer of SeaWorld.


TEA’s International and Division Board Directors serve three-year terms, with the possibility of being re-elected to one additional consecutive three-year term. Associate Member representatives to the boards serve two-year terms, with the possibility of being re-elected to a second consecutive two-year term. Terms began Nov. 16, 2011.


2011-2012 Election Results - International Board


  • President: Rick Rothschild, Far OUT! Creative Direction*
  • David Aion, AION Company
  • Scott Ault, BRC Imagination Arts*
  • Tommy Bridges, Alcorn McBride
  • Chris Conte, Electrosonic*
  • Kathy Golding, PTS* (Associate Representative)
  • Brian Leonard, Dillon Works!*
  • Peter McGrath, Walt Disney Imagineering*
  • Liz Terry, Attractions Management (Associate Representative)

Europe & Middle East Division


  • President: Philip Hartley, Philip Hartley Associates Ltd.*
  • David Camp, AECOM
  • Gerd Guegel, Moods in Pictures*
  • Klaus Sommer Paulsen, Creative Network Agency
  • Philip von Stratum, P&P Projects
  • David Willrich, DJ Willrich Ltd.*

Eastern Division


  • President: Joanna Del Moral, VOA Associates
  • Pete Carsillo, WDI
  • Yvette Whittaker, Falcon’s Treehouse
  • Kimberly Ridenour-Sims, Thorburn Associates

Western Division


  • President: Lynn Allmandinger, Dennis A. Murphy Drafting
  • Walter Brennan, exp.
  • Justin Brooks, USC (Associate Representative)
  • Jordan Coleman, JB Coleman LLC
  • Dave Crawford, WDI
  • Nancy Emerson, NBC Universal
  • Lenny Larsen, RGH*
  • Paul Osterhout, Contour Entertainment
  • David Price, VSI
  • Kristy Scanlon, Threshold Entertainment

*Indicates re-elected to a second term


About TEA

The TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) is an international nonprofit alliance founded in 1991 and based in Burbank, Calif. TEA represents some 7,000 creative specialists, from architects to designers, technical specialists to master planners, scenic fabricators to artists, and builders to feasibility analysts working in more than 650 firms in 30 US states and 40 different countries. TEA presents the annual Thea Awards and the TEA Summit and hosts the annual SATE Conference (Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, Experience). TEA also produces a variety of print and electronic publications, including the TEA/AECOM Theme Index, TEA Project Development Guidelines, TEA Annual & Directory and Thea Awards Program magazine.


Visit TEA on
Facebook and LinkedIn.

Changzhi, China emerges as a center of LED manufacturing

PRNewsFoto/City Channel of CRI Online
The government also plans to build the world's largest production base of sapphire and high-end lighting facilities.

CHANGZHI, China, Nov. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Changzhi, the home of many Chinese ancient legends, is creating a new legend of industry today. An original report by City Channel of CRI Online follows:

Sitting in southeastern Shanxi province, the city is where, according to folklore, the Chinese nation's ancestor Shen Nong tasted all herbs and taught local people to farm, and thus started a great civilization.

During the Second World War, Changzhi was the headquarters of the Eighth Route Army, who fought against the Japanese aggression.

Rich natural resources, convenient transportation, excellent ecological conditions and policies have made the Changzhi an ideal investment destination with a resources-based economy model. Its traditional key industries include coal, coke, electricity and metallurgy.

But emerging industries, such as LED, solar battery, new materials and deep processing of oil, are attracting increased attention from the local government.

The LED industry, in particular, is believed to be a new engine to boost the city's economy with the nation's only one full LED industrial chain established there.

The city's mayor Zhang Bao said the coal industry "has once contributed much to Changzhi, but over-dependence on the industry led to difficulties," so they "made a strategic choice to seek some new sources of development". The LED industry is one of the solutions.

With two years' effort, the city has built a large-scale LED industry cluster. It will become the world's first LED industry park with an integrated industrial chain.

The government also plans to build the world's largest production base of sapphire and high-end lighting facilities.

Universal Studios Hollywood & Universal CityWalk celebrate winter holidays

PRNewsFoto/Universal Studios Hollywood
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., Nov. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Universal Studios Hollywood(SM) and Universal CityWalk® unveiled a calendar of festive holiday activities.

The spirit of the holidays will transform Universal CityWalk beginning the day after Thanksgiving on November 25 through December 31, as the new high-tech, outdoor concert arena, "5 Towers" comes alive with the sights and sounds of cheerful holiday music, choreographed in unison to hundreds of thousands of twinkling LED lights illuminating the venue.

Inspired by the vibrancy of the holiday season, the venue's five soaring 42 ft. light tower sculptures will alternate from pulsing snow white strobe lights and giant twirling red and white colored candy canes, to ice blue glowing light pillars and a flashing white snow fall. Nightly tree-lightings at the gigantic 40 ft. tall Christmas tree, glistening with 100,000 LED lights, will also treat visitors to a multimedia holiday light show. Visits from a rock 'n' roll Santa, along with free concert performances, DJ appearances and an eclectic array of talented street performers will help make Universal CityWalk a holiday destination.

Beginning on December 10 and 11 and continuing daily from December 17 through January 1, 2012, a very, merry "Grinchmas"™ returns to Universal Studios Hollywood as the theme park rings in a jolly Who-liday season with the Grinch, his faithful dog Max, tons of fresh snow and nightly celebrity readings of the Dr. Seuss classic, "How The Grinch Stole Christmas."

A whimsical, curving "Grinchmas" tree will tower 60 feet above the center of a snow-covered winter wonderland and will be lit in nightly ceremonies that will feature a colorfully costumed Who-ville choir caroling and spreading holiday cheer. The Grinch and Max will star with the Whos in these enchanting Who-bilation performances.

Prior to select "Who-bilations" and tree-lightings, celebrities from the worlds of film, television and music will take the stage to help Universal Studios Hollywood celebrate "Grinchmas" as they share their entertaining interpretations of the heart-warming tale of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Throughout "Grinchmas," the Grinch, Max and the Who-ville Whos will be on hand and paw to meet fans and take memorable holiday photos, while families gather to enjoy traditional winter fun, romping together in a playground of real snow, made fresh daily, and building their own Southern Californian snowmen.

"Grinchmas" will also provide fans of the blockbuster movie a close-up view of the original Who-ville film sets, featured in the "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" movie, aboard the world-famous behind-the-scenes Studio Tour. As the tram rolls to a stop amid the fanciful Who-ville buildings, guests will experience a one-of-a-kind performance by a Whos Who of Who-ville re-enacting favorite scenes and songs from the film.

"Grinchmas" is included in the price of theme park admission.
 

Universal Studios Hollywood's "Buy A Day, Get 2012 Free" annual pass offers visits throughout 2012 for the price of a single day's admission. Guests who purchase the pass will be able to experience Universal Studios Hollywood's new cutting-edge thrill-ride, "Transformers™: The Ride 3D," when it opens next Spring.

Universal Studios Hollywood is a unit of the Universal Parks & Resorts division of NBCUniversal. NBCUniversal is one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake.

ABOUT DR. SEUSS ENTERPRISES, L.P. The primary focus of the Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. is to protect the integrity of the Dr. Seuss books while expanding beyond books into ancillary areas. This effort is a strategic part of the overall mission to nurture and protect the relationship consumers have with Dr. Seuss characters. Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) said he never wanted to license his characters to anyone who would "round out the edges." That is one of the guiding philosophies of Dr. Seuss Enterprises. Audrey S. Geisel, the widow of Dr. Seuss, heads Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

ExactFlat CAD software facilitates design & engineering workflow for industrial fabrics and digital texturing

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 29, 2011) - Tri-D Technologies, makers of ExactFlat CAD software, announced today that IMAGINiT Technologies, a division of Rand Worldwide (OTCBB:RWWI), is the latest organization to join their growing partner network. ExactFlat products enable customers to convert the most complex 3D CAD models into production-ready 2D flat patterns in just minutes. Integrated with Autodesk Inventor 3D CAD software, ExactFlat extends the power of Autodesk Inventor to solve the 3D flattening problem.

"ExactFlat's 3D-to-2D advanced flattening technology has been used by some of the largest, most demanding and advanced manufacturers for years", said Steven McLendon, Executive Vice President of ExactFlat. "Partnering with IMAGINiT, we're excited to bring our innovative products to a broader base of regional, national and global manufacturers working within the industrial fabrics space."

Working together, ExactFlat and IMAGINiT are demonstrating for customers how they can better leverage their existing technology to keep the entire design and engineering workflow on the desktop - eliminating expensive and slow manual processes that impact every manufacturer working with industrial fabrics.

"ExactFlat has solved a significant problem in the CAD market", said Bob Heeg, Senior Vice President of Sales at IMAGINiT. "We kept hearing from our customers that solid modeling and surface modeling were disconnected, necessitating a highly-manual, repetitious process that included modeling, draping and digitizing. With ExactFlat, our customers can instantly close this gap inside Autodesk Inventor and drive tremendous efficiencies from 3D CAD right through to the cutting table."


About ExactFlat
ExactFlat, developed by Tri-D Technologies Inc., develops products to save manufacturers time, money and effort when converting 3D CAD models into 2D cut patterns for manufacturers working with industrial fabrics, recognizing that faster time to market equates to more time in the market. ExactFlat, integrated with leading 3D CAD platforms, is an advanced 3D-to-2D automatic pattern part generation system for industrial fabrics and digital texturing. Engineers and designers across a wide range of industries - including automotive, marine, architecture, tent, awning, pool liners, furniture, and fashion - incorporate ExactFlat into their design to production workflow to get fast, accurate results every time. ExactFlat was founded in 2008 and is based in Toronto, Canada. For more information, visit www.exactflat.com.

About IMAGINiT Technologies
IMAGINiT Technologies, a division of Rand Worldwide, advances the way architects and engineers design, develop, and manage projects. Customers of this leading professional services and technology company include organizations in the building, infrastructure, manufacturing and facilities management industries. Fortune 500 and Engineering News Record's Top 100 organizations work with IMAGINiT Technologies to gain competitive advantages through expert technology consulting, implementation, training, and support services. As one of the world's largest integrators of Autodesk 3D design and engineering software, the team leverages unrivalled industry experience to design systems that accelerate innovation while improving project quality and profitability. For more information visit www.imaginit.com or www.rand.com.

Rand Worldwide is a trademark or registered trademark of Rand IMAGINiT Technologies Inc. and/or Rand A Technology Corporation in the US and/or other countries. Autodesk and Revit are registered trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries.

Disney Studios licenses Cap That™ image capture technology platform

AIN has signed an initial agreement with Disney Studios to allow consumers to use the Cap That™ technology and is currently negotiating agreements with several other entertainment, sports, music and lifestyle content producers to include their video offerings within the Cap That™ platform. Additionally, AIN is working to license its technology directly to apparel and branded program companies allowing them to use the patent pending technology for their own video imaging capture and print on demand programs. 

 TORONTO, CANADA--(Marketwire - Nov. 29, 2011) - Intertainment Media Inc. ("Intertainment" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:INT)(OTCQX:ITMTF)(FRANKFURT:I4T) is pleased to announce that it continues its strategy of investing in new and emerging enterprises, with an investment in Active ImageNation Inc. ("AIN"), a Los Angeles based developer of Cap That™, a patent pending technology platform that allows consumers, studios and professionals to capture and manipulate video, creating images that can be shared socially and commercially printed on demand on a wide variety of products directly through Cap That™, as well as proprietary channel partners and licensees. Closed beta trials of the platform are currently underway and users will able to access the technology shortly at www.capthat.com.

The print on demand industry is a dynamic growing business sector which includes Zazzle.com and Cafepress.com whose users create over 186 Million unique products per year. In June 2011, Cafepress filed an S-1 to raise as much as US $80 Million in its IPO, divulging that 2010 revenues were US $128 Million.

Cap That's™ patent pending technology empowers users to stop time and capture the most desired moments in film, television, music, sports, home videos and exclusive VideoShoots™ in order to create one of a kind posters, canvas prints, photo prints, apparel as well as virtual creations that can be easily shared across social networks.

As part of the Company's investment in AIN, Intertainment will convert a Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars (US $500,000) promissory note already issued in favor of Intertainment. Additionally, Intertainment will invest an additional One Million Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars (US $1,500,000) into AIN for up to 33% ownership of Active ImageNation Inc. This deal is subject to all board and regulatory approvals and the negotiation of definitive documentation between the parties.

Under the terms of the investment, Intertainment's graphic services division, Magnum, will be afforded Rights of First Refusal to develop AIN's product programs allowing consumers and commercial clients to purchase custom printed products directly from Magnum using the Cap That™ technology.

"AIN's patent pending Cap That™ technology gives users, from consumers to commercial partners, the ability to expand their social sharing and print on demand opportunities using dynamic video content," said David Lucatch, President of Ortsbo / CEO Intertainment Media Inc. "AIN is strategically aligned with Intertainment's investment principles, as it adds value to our other divisions and potentially stands alone as a tremendous opportunity for global success."

The Company will provide further details as they become available.

About Active ImageNation Inc. - Cap That™
Cap That's™ patent pending technology empowers users to stop time and capture the most desired moments in film, television, music, sports, home videos and exclusive VideoShoots™ in order to create one of a kind posters, canvas prints, photo prints, apparel as well as virtual creations that can be easily shared across social networks.

CapThat™ is an application and website devoted to unlocking images from video giving rise to a revolutionary consumer proposition and promotional tool.

About Intertainment Media Inc.

Connecting people with brands, Intertainment Media Inc. is a Rich Media Applications leader, focused on delivering leading edge technology and marketing solutions enabling clients to power enhanced branding, loyalty initiatives and consumer engagement.

Selected as a Microsoft Global Agency Initiative partner, Intertainment has joined an elite group of interactive agencies worldwide that Microsoft recommends to its Partners and Customers. Intertainment owns a number of key properties including Ortsbo, Ad Taffy, itiBiti and Magnum Fine Commercial Printing Limited.

Intertainment Media owns and operates a number of key properties including Ad Taffy, itiBiti, Ortsbo and Magnum. For more information on the Company and its properties, please visit www.intertainmentmedia.com.

Headquartered in the Toronto, Canada region, with offices in New York, Los Angeles and San Mateo, CA, Intertainment Media Inc. is listed on the Toronto Venture Exchange under the symbol "INT" (TSX VENTURE:INT) and in the US on the OTCQX Exchange under the symbol "ITMTF". Intertainment is also traded in Europe, on the XETRA Exchange under the symbol "I4T".

Acer introduces 27-inch monitor that converts 2D to 3D in real time

This release positions the technology for the home market, but what of the potential for museums and other visitor attractions? - IPM

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - Nov 29, 2011) - Acer America Corp., today introduced the Acer HR274H, a 27-inch 3D monitor featuring new advances in 3D technology. Featuring Acer's innovative chip-based solution, the new monitor is said to be able to convert any 2D content to 3D.

Through a single HDMI cable connection, the HR274H monitor connects to any 3D-enabled PC, Blu-ray™ player, game console, cable set top box or camera. 3D enthusiasts can then enjoy a broad selection of high-quality 3D content, including more than 550 full-HD 1080p 3D games, more than 100 Blu-ray 3D movies and thousands of 3D videos and photos from YouTube and 3DVisionLive.com.

3D for Everyone
Acer's chip based solution converts 2D content to 3D in real time. There is no extra software required; the feature only needs to be enabled via the on-screen-display. This allows regular movies and traditional photos and videos to be enjoyed in a completely new way. In addition, it works with any graphics card, so popular PC games can now be viewed in eye-popping 3D.

Acer includes a set of polarized glasses that deliver 3D imagery and do not require batteries. The Acer HR274H monitor uses LED backlight technology.  It is also RoHS compliant, ENERGY STAR® certified and is packaged in recyclable materials.

Pricing and Availability
The 27-inch Acer HR274H 3D LCD is available for U.S. customers at leading retailers with an MSRP of $599. It includes a three-year parts and labor limited warranty(2).

Visit www.acer-group.com.

Electrosonic provides AV systems and support to AT&T Dolphin Tales show at Georgia Aquarium

Dolphin Tales image courtesy Electrosonic
Burbank, Calif. USA – An inspiring theatrical production starring Atlantic bottlenose dolphins is thrilling and amazing visitors at the newly-expanded Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. Electrosonic played a major role designing, supplying and installing all the audio and video equipment the show required. In addition, the Design Consulting team at Electrosonic took on the production’s complex AV and show control systems design.

Electrosonic’s work supported Clermont, Florida-based entertainment design and production company WOW!Works which crafted AT&T Dolphin Tales, a sweeping 25-minute musical tribute to the beauty and grace of dolphins. The indoor show is staged in the new multi-function auditorium that seats 1,800 people and houses 1.8 million gallons of water in four pools. Five tall organic shapes evocative of upright dolphins’ tails rise above the performance pool. The tails are actually complex, curved aluminum structures that cover an area about 80-feet wide and 40-feet tall, and serve as innovative projection surfaces for video, graphics and lighting effects that create different moods and enhance the audience experience. Screen Goo, a specially formatted line of waterproof acrylic paint designed for projection, was used to enhance the surface.

“The show needed to be a hybrid of show-controlled equipment and events, pre-recorded multitrack audio and video playback with a layer of live performance mixed in,” says

Electrosonic design consultant, Steve Coe. “We wanted to meld a live theatrical show with dolphin behaviors and, at the same time, tap into the gamut of theatrical technology available, especially digitally-projected sets and backdrops and a high-quality theatrical multi-channel audio system.”

The spectacular AT&T Dolphin Tales story is narrated by the StarSpinner, a mysterious seafaring adventurer who leads the way through an interactive journey across the oceans. The timeless tale of good and evil is marked by exhilarating performances that highlight the strong emotional bond between humans and dolphins, and deliver a powerful message of the importance of caring for and about aquatic creatures.

Electrosonic coordinated with Atlanta-based program manager, Heery International; St. Louis-based architect, PGAV; and Atlanta builder, Brasfield & Gorrie to accommodate the show into the new building design. “Alongside Lighting Designer, David Agress, we helped design catwalk systems for them and advised on areas such as backstage dressing rooms and routes for performers across the stage,” Coe says. “We also did a study for them to help specify the control room glass, which needed to be angled for projection and follow-spot use.”

One of the biggest decisions the team made was to locate as much AV equipment as possible in the control room to protect it from the saline atmosphere of the dolphins’ salt-water pool. The architect allocated a control room that almost spans the width of the theater, and which was divided into an audio booth, amplifier room, projection booth and lighting booth with extra room for stage management. The only AV equipment not in the control room are the speakers and antennae.

For the video system, the team selected Green Hippo Hippotizer HD media servers connected via DVI to seven Christie Digital S+20K projectors edge-blended in two stacks of three, plus one on center. The center projector forms a flat image on a screen that drops down over the pool in front of the main set. The other screens are the complex curved aluminum structures shaped like dolphins’ tails.

The Hippotizers handle media playback and content masking on independent video layers, as well as pre-show in-house advertising content and audio playback. They receive the LTC master clock from a Medialon show control system and sit on their own HippoNet with a single network bridge to the main AV network.

The audio system is wired for 7.1 surround sound and features an L-Acoustics speaker system with KUDO and ARCS arrays. Coe opted for a Digidesign D-Show Profile mixing console with onboard snapshot automation that stores audio information on the different actors who rotate into the show. During the show, Sennheiser handheld wireless and wired mics are mixed live with prerecorded music tracks, which Coe mixed onsite in the theater. He also specified waterproof VHF wireless mics for the dolphin trainers and Clear-Com Encore theatrical intercoms.

Electrosonic was also contracted by the architect to design the AV systems for the dolphin gallery lobby. They include a background music system, a nine-screen LCD videowall and circular rear-projection screens above visitors’ heads, which dispense educational content provided by the aquarium.

“I linked the lobby system to the AT&T Dolphin Tales control booth system for audio and control,” notes Coe. “This function is now used at the end of the dolphin show: The show playout music is sent to the lobby system, minus the vocal tracks, so it accompanies the audience as they walk out of the theater and back to the lobby. All show producers hope that the audience walks out humming the theme tune. We wanted to go one better and provide them with an orchestral backing track so that they can also sing it!”

Tim Wilson served as project manager for Electrosonic and Toni Losier was the sales executive.

About Electrosonic
Electrosonic is an international AV company with a strong reputation for working on complex projects, both large and small, and has through its 47 year history developed lasting partnerships with customers and suppliers. Beyond complete integrated systems, Electrosonic can provide a wide range of services including technical design, maintenance and operational support. Visit www.electrosonic.com

Alcorn McBride provides AV equipment to Portal 31 Mine Exhibition in Kentucky

Photo courtesy Alcorn McBride
Orlando, USA – Alcorn McBride’s Digital Binloop HD multi-track video player went deep underground to service AV needs at the Portal 31 Mine Exhibition Tour in Lynch, Kentucky.  The two-year old attraction shows visitors what it’s like to venture into an actual working coal mine, teaches them the history of mining in the community and outlines advances in the industry through the decades.

“It’s a remarkable site: The Mine set records for coal production in a 10-hour shift and was the industry leader in safety,” says Bob Ernspiker, managing partner of Louisville-based Communications Electronic Design, Inc., which designed the exhibition.  “The mine was big in the war effort because the type of coal extracted was critical to steel production in World War II.”

The Portal 31 Tour presents the history of the Kentucky Coal Museum as it shuttles visitors through the mine on a narrow-gauge track.  Eight stops take them from the opening of the mine in 1917 to its closure in 1960.

“Stop eight has a seamless three-screen projection on the mine walls,” Ernspiker explains.  “The space is a big cavern with surround sound played in sync off the Digital Binloop HD; one Binloop channel is dedicated to each screen.  With the lights off, it’s very dark and dramatic, and people get a really big kick out of it.  It’s very cool.”

He notes that equipment must be robust to keep running in the hostile environment of an underground coal mine.  “The Alcorn gear has performed flawlessly in a very abrasive environment with constant moisture and huge humidity shifts.  We have a lot of problems keeping everything working despite equipment being housed in environmental enclosures.  The mine is extremely hard on equipment, but the Binloops have never broken down.”

About Alcorn McBride: 
Founded in 1986, Alcorn McBride is a leading manufacturer of show control, audio and video equipment for the themed entertainment industry, and a rapidly growing provider of audio and video systems for retail environments and transportation applications. For more information, visit www.alcorn.com.

Action Innovators honored with Brass Ring Award by IAAPA, for its Fly Seat product display


Photos: Action Innovators
Message from Action Innovators of Heemstede, Netherlands:

"We were a first time exhibitor at IAAPA Orlando and won the Brass Ring Award for best exhibit in Orlando!

"Gerard Wielenga, CEO at Action Innovators, expressed his surprise and pleasure. ‘We did put a lot of effort into our presentation, since we had to ship a container from the Netherlands to Orlando and build up the booth ourselves. But we never thought we could win this award.  IAAPA was an exciting exhibition for us; we presented our new product, FLY SEAT, for the first time to the international community of professionals, and were not quite sure what they would think of this product. We knew that in the Netherlands the Fly Seat has been very successful but you never know how a new product will be received by the industry as a whole. The award will certainly help to get Action Innovators underway in the international amusement industry.'

"From the start of the show, Action Innovators received a lot of traffic in the booth and at the end of the 4 days had sold a couple of units in addition to collecting more than 150 leads."

More information: www.actioninnovators.com
 

Skateboard legend Tony Hawk lights Christmas tree at LegoLand California

CARLSBAD, Calif. USA – LEGOLAND® California’s created 50 new LEGO® skateboard ornaments for its 30-foot tall LEGO Christmas tree in honor of skateboarding legend Tony Hawk. Hawk and two of his children pulled the switch that lit the world’s largest LEGO® Christmas tree tonight after he was presented with $10,000 for the Tony Hawk Foundation by LEGOLAND General Manager Peter Ronchetti. 

“I really want to thank LEGOLAND California for their support,” said Hawk. “I’m really excited to be here doing this today because I was one of the first Ambassador pass members here at LEGOLAND and my family and I come here probably more than I care to admit…so if anyone needs directions or recommendations here…I got you.” 

Hawk was also appreciative of the newest ornaments added to the tree in honor of his Foundation. It took five Master Model Builders more than two weeks to build the LEGO skateboards and each one is created out of 250 LEGO bricks. When the Park’s Holiday Snow Days come to an end on Jan. 2, Hawk is going to sign each skateboard and each will be put up for auction with the proceeds going to the Stand up for Skateparks benefit in 2012. 

“The Tony Hawk Foundation aims to help the growing need of skateparks especially in lower income areas,” continued Hawk. TheTony Hawk Foundation has created 493 skateparks and awarded $3.9 million servicing 3.5 million youth annually across the nation. Before presenting the donation to Hawk, Ronchetti recapped 2011 and hinted at things to come in 2012. “I’m happy to say it’s been another record year at LEGOLAND California Resort,” said Ronchetti. “In 2011 we introduced the popular Star Wars Miniland and we added Splash Zoo to the world’s first LEGO themed Water Park. We have great surprises in store for 2012 but you’ll have to wait until our January press conference for those details – tonight, it’s all about lighting this beautiful LEGO tree!” 

Hawk and his sons Spencer (12) and Keegan (10) joined Santa on stage as they pulled the switch setting off hundreds of lights and a twinkling LEGO star, followed by snow showering Park guests and fireworks from above. The tree is made of more than 245,000 forest green DUPLO® bricks, adorned with more than 240 LEGO ornaments and surrounded by packages and LEGO friends the whole family can enjoy. This is the first time the tree has been “rooted” in Fun Town. In fact, the entire Fun Town area has been transformed for LEGOLAND California’s Holiday Snow Days presented by Western Dental which run through Jan. 2, 2012. 

MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS is a leader in location-based, family entertainment. By the end of 2011 Merlin will operate 78 attractions, six hotels/two holiday villages in 17 countries and across four continents. The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its 43.6 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and more than 16,000 employees. Merlin Entertainments operates the following attractions - SEA LIFE, Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND, The EDF Energy London Eye, Dungeons, Gardaland, LEGOLAND Discovery Centres, Alton Towers Resort, Warwick Castle, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Blackpool Tower, Heide Park, Earth Explorer, Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney, Sydney Tower Eye and SKYWALK, Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter Underwater World, Oceanworld Manly and Hamilton Island Wildlife Park. Visit www.merlinentertainments.biz.



The Tony Hawk Foundation was established by a gift from Tony Hawk. Its directors raise additional funds through events, industry donations, and continuing contributions from Tony and other entities. In addition to skateparks, the Foundation also makes donations to other children- related charities, as chosen by its Board Of Directors. For more information or to make a donation, visit the Foundation’s Web site at www.tonyhawkfoundation.org.

Pittsburgh Zoo boosts online sales dramatically with Paciolan software

IRVINE, CA and PITTSBURGH, PA--(Marketwire) - Paciolan, a leading provider of ticketing, marketing, and fundraising solutions for museums and arts organizations, today announced that the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium ("Pittsburgh Zoo") has renewed its partnership with the company and will be implementing the company's Membership Access Scanning system. Leveraging Paciolan's eVenue software, Pittsburgh Zoo has increased online sales approximately 600 percent. The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium strives to foster positive, lifelong connections between animals and people. Whether through its exhibitry, educational programs, or many conservation projects, its goal is to make certain the earth remains a suitable home for all life by its discovery of the interconnectedness of the natural world.

"The Paciolan system is very unique and offers the only seamlessly integrated ticketing, marketing and fund development solution that is PCI compliant, a big selling point for us," said Doug Jones, manager of information systems for the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. "The company's customer support staff is by far some of the best people I've worked with. With a very small IT staff, I'm able to rely on them 24/7 and keep costs down."

Paciolan's Membership Access Scanning system will enable Pittsburgh Zoo members to have their membership cards scanned for easy and fast access, an important time-saving benefit. It also accurately tracks attendance by date and time.

"We'll now know how many people are in the park so we can control our staffing levels, while providing our members and visitors with better service at the gate," added Jones.

Leveraging Paciolan's eVenue online ticketing solution, which powers its ecommerce site, the Pittsburgh Zoo has already achieved significant success with its online ticket sales, which have increased 600 percent over the last three years. The site allows them to efficiently sell tickets in real-time, while managing their brand and enhancing the customer experience.

"Working closely with our Paciolan client partner to manage our eVenue enabled site we've been able to increase our online sales and generate additional revenue," added Jones. "Our Paciolan client partner also regularly introduces us to new ideas and industry best practices, which have helped us surpass our goals."

The Pittsburgh Zoo also offers online membership entitlements to its 25,000 member households. These entitlements provide members with special offers and discounted pricing on events.

"It's wonderful to be continuing our partnership with the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium," said Dave Butler, chief executive officer of Paciolan. "Leveraging our industry-leading general admission solutions, they've achieved tremendous success. We look forward to adding our Membership Access Scanning system to their technology portfolio, which will allow them to more efficiently streamline their entry processes, track attendance and create tailored member programs."

About Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium strives to foster positive, lifelong connections between animals and people. Whether through our exhibitry, educational programs, or our many conservation projects, our goal is to make certain the earth remains a suitable home for all life by our discovery of the interconnectedness of the natural world.

About Paciolan
Founded in 1980, Paciolan is the leader in venue enablement, powering ticketing, fundraising and marketing technology solutions for leading organizations across North America. Collectively, Paciolan powers over 500 live entertainment organizations that sell over 100 million tickets annually. Primary markets include college athletics, professional sports, performing arts, arenas and museums. Paciolan is a wholly owned subsidiary of Comcast-Spectacor. Visit www.paciolan.com.

Monday, November 28, 2011

iPlay America Promotes Gary Foley to Chief Operating Officer

Freehold, N.J. – iPlay America and Encore Event Center, a one-of-a-kind, indoor family amusement park located in Freehold, N.J., announced the promotion of Gary Foley as chief operating officer. Foley, who previously served as General Manager at iPlay America and Encore Event Center, has more than 28 years of experience in the entertainment industry and has played a vital role in the development and grand opening of the entertainment center.

Prior to joining iPlay America, Foley served as general manager at Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor Water Park in West Berlin, N.J., where he oversaw the daily operations and prepared for the grand opening of the park. Earlier in his career, he held the role of director of human resources, marketing and operations at Gillian’s Island Water Park & Gillian’s Wonderland Pier in Ocean City, N.J. During his tenure at Gillian’s Island Water Park & Gillian’s Wonderland Pier, his responsibilities included recruiting and training employees, developing policies for the company, managing daily operations and marketing all aspects of the amusement park.

In addition, Foley served as Chairman of the Personnel Committee for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. In 1994, he was recognized with the Best Workshop Award for “Motivate Me,” a workshop he facilitated at the IAAPA Trade Show and Convention.

“Gary is an incredible asset to iPlay America and Encore Event Center and was a driving force in preparation to open iPlay America and Encore Event Center,” said Bob McDaid, Founder of iPlay America and Encore Event Center. “I look forward to our facility’s continued growth under Gary’s strong leadership and management capabilities.”

A resident of Cherry Hill, NJ, Foley has extensive training in amusement park management and has attended courses at Disney University and industry workshops with the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.

For more information about iPlay America and Encore, visit
www.iPlayAmerica.com, or call 732-577-8200.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Atempo Named Winner of the "Best Product" Award at 2011 SATIS Media & Entertainment Conference

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Photo: Salon SATIS

The SATIS Conference, held by Reed Expositions France, is a  multi-sector business event for the French entertainment industry with a  focus on best practices in broadcast and audiovisual/sound technology.  The trade show exhibits the latest products and brings together more  than 16,600 attendees across several professional markets, including:  broadcast TV and cinema, creation & post production, corporate A/V  solutions, audio and radio. The SATIS Trophée Awards recognize  innovative products in the categories of production, post production,  broadcast and playback.

Atempo Digital Archive Honored as "Best Product" in Post Production Category
          
PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwire - Nov 23, 2011) -  Atempo, Inc., a leading provider of cross-platform data protection and archiving solutions, today announced that the company won the Innovation Award at the recent 2011 SATIS Conference  in Paris, France. A panel of industry experts chose Atempo Digital  Archive, Atempo's comprehensive digital archiving platform, from a pool  of twelve nominees as winner of the "Best Product" award in the Post  Production category.

Providing an open, centrally managed and secure archive, Atempo Digital Archive (ADA)  addresses long-term data retention requirements and optimizes capacity  for broadcast and post production markets, ensuring that specific  content is readily available and accessible from the archive at any  point in the digital workflow. Atempo continues to expand its  application integrations and supports of Apple Final Cut Pro and Final  Cut Server, Avid Interplay and Avid Media Composer, Building4Media FORK,  SquareBox CatDV, ProConsultant Informatique LOUISE, MediaBeacon  R3volution DAM, Vidispine. Billed as an ideal storage solution for video and multimedia files, Atempo also recently announced Atempo Digital Archive support for LTFS.

"The vendors nominated at the SATIS Conference are incredibly  distinguished, and Atempo is honored to be named a winner of the 2011  Best Product Award for Atempo Digital Archive," said Christophe Darras,  director Broadcast & Media Market EMEA at Atempo. "Today's media and  entertainment businesses worldwide are faced with challenging and  increasing storage demands. The Atempo Digital Archive solution keeps  expanding quantities of digital data available over the long-term, while  keeping storage costs down across unique and quickly changing digital  workflows, providing continued value for businesses."

About Atempo Atempo enables organizations to preserve and protect  digital information simply and effectively, across any infrastructure,  on any platform, over long periods of time. Atempo's comprehensive  archiving solutions deliver policy-based and workflow-driven management  of rich media files, e-mail and other high-value digital assets to  maximize the efficiency and performance of storage systems and reduce  long-term storage costs. Atempo's fully-integrated software portfolio  also includes backup and recovery of heterogeneous servers, workstations  and laptops throughout the enterprise -- from the data center to remote  offices. Atempo serves thousands of customers around the world through a  sales and support network of over 200 resellers and partners. Learn  more about Atempo at www.atempo.com.

Orlando Fun Spot to add waterpark

Orlando, Florida - Fun Spot Attractions Owner and President John Arie recently decided—along with his family and team— to take his family entertainment venue to the next level by adding a waterpark component to the Orlando location. Arie selected SplashTacular and Water Technology, Inc. to help create the new waterpark.

“Waterparks have become so commonplace that differentiation between facilities and their respective experiences has become harder for guests to perceive, and that they are becoming acclimated to the norm in that they have simply become a commodity with a different theme,” said Steve Levine, SplashTacular CEO.

“Fun Spot Attractions & SplashTacular are the perfect combination, the perfect team. I have no doubt that together we will have the most exciting facility and rides in the area. We are looking forward to entering the waterpark industry with SplashTacular as our supplier and partner,” stated John Arie.

“Our best work comes from collaboration with specialists who are the best in theindustry, which is the reason Water Technology, Inc. was selected by John Arie to create a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art, signature waterpark, that satisfies their financial and demographic objectives,” explains Levine.

“When meeting with John and his son, John Jr. they shared with me their true passion and love for people, which is infectious and is the heart and soul of their company culture. They further explained that their waterpark should appeal to their current client base of more than 500,000 annual visitors, promote American made products and services by incorporating SplashTacular rides, all of which are dynamic attractions and features that push the guest experience to new levels, and finally integrating energy conservation and sustainability measures as much as possible,” said Doug Whiteaker, President of Water Technology.

About SplashTacular
SplashTacular, Inc. is the largest waterslide manufacturer in the U.S. and winner of the World Waterpark Association’s prestigious Innovation Award. Since 1994, the company has built more than 1,000 waterpark attractions, including 3,000 waterslides, in destinations throughout the world.

SplashTacular designs, engineers, manufactures, and installs signature waterpark attractions that maximize attendance and throughput. The award-winning 360Rush™ is a patented, 58-foot-tall dual waterslide that delivers two riders simultaneously into a 45 ft. diameter bowl at speeds of up to 40 mph. The Double BowlsEye™ is an interactive raft experience that allows four friends to “race” each other down two towering 60 ft. tall enclosed slides in dueling rafts.

SplashTacular prides itself on delivering waterpark experiences that create unforgettable memories for families and generate revenue for park managers. Corporate offices are located in California, with operations facilities in Kansas and Texas. For more information, call (800) 844-5334 or visit www.SplashTacular.com.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Splendour of the Seas Cruise Ship to Feature iPads in All Staterooms

MIAMI, USA /PRNewswire/ -- Royal Caribbean International will introduce iPad mobile digital devices in every stateroom onboard the newly revitalized Splendour of the Seas.  The tablet empowers guests with an additional medium by which to receive, retrieve and use information on their cruise vacation.  With a touch of the screen, guests will be able to access the daily Cruise Compass of events and activities; personal daily itineraries, including shore excursions; monitor their onboard account; order room service; view restaurant menus; access the internet; and watch movies.  The iPads will be available beginning mid-February 2012 on Splendour of the Seas before being extended to all Vision-class ships when each undergoes revitalization in the following two years.

"Based on consumer research, we added the iPads to greatly enhance guest communication, interactivity and to continue to offer industry leading technology that helps enhance the guest experience," said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International.  "This is just one of the many exciting ways that Royal Caribbean continues to provide our guests with the ultimate cruise experience."

The iPads, which will feature English and Portuguese when they debut on Splendour of the Seas, will offer guests the opportunity to access all of their information not only from the comfort of their staterooms, but through the pervasive WIFI also being installed throughout the ship, will enable guests to enjoy the iPads wherever they go onboard.

In addition to the iPads, Splendour of the Seas, which emerges from dry dock on Nov. 25, 2011, also will have an array of new stateroom amenities such as flat screen televisions, new bathrooms, and completely remodeled interiors, including luxurious new linens and furniture, as well as an additional 124 balconies.  The ship also will be outfitted with the award-winning digital wayfinding technology that can be found on the line's acclaimed Oasis-class ships.

Upon completion of the refurbishments, Splendour of the Seas will sail a trans-Atlantic voyage on November 25 from Lisbon, Portugal to her seasonal homeport of Sao Paulo (Santos), Brazil. From there, she will offer a variety of South American itineraries that take advantage of the summer season in Brazil.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 22 innovative ships, calling on more than 270 destinations in 72 countries across six continents. The line also offers unique cruise tour land packages in Alaska, Canada, Dubai, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand.
Royal Caribbean provides a world-class vacation experience with a wide range of signature onboard amenities, entertainment, and award-winning family programming. Royal Caribbean has been voted "Best Cruise Line Overall" for eight consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers' Choice Awards. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit www.RoyalCaribbean.com.

"Wildest Weather in the Solar System" produced by National Geographic specifically for digital dome exhibition

All images courtesy National Geographic Entertainment
"We are excited to take theater audiences on a unique voyage to our neighbors in the solar system," said Lisa Truitt, president of NGCV. "'Wildest Weather' is a perfect combination of computer graphics, ever-developing technology and science, all of which allow us to tell a story like never before."

Show Is National Geographic's First Original Production Made Specifically for Fulldome and Digital Planetarium Theaters


WASHINGTON (Nov. 22, 2011)—This month
National Geographic Cinema Ventures (NGCV) launches "Wildest Weather in the Solar System," a show produced for fulldome and digital planetarium screens. It takes audiences on a spectacular journey to witness beautiful, powerful and mysterious weather phenomena on our neighboring planets. The 25-minute show, available in both 2D and 3D, was created in partnership with Lockheed Martin and produced and distributed by NGCV. Evans & Sutherland (and its Spitz subsidiary), Global Immersion and Sky-Skan are distributing it to fulldome theaters worldwide.

Extreme weather on Earth is relatively mild compared to the other planets circling the Sun. In "Wildest Weather," audiences will experience these weather extremes through jaw-dropping visuals and state-of-the-art CGI while traveling alongside a fictitious planetary spacecraft. Their journey begins at the sun, where the surface is nearly six times hotter than Earth's and solar flares can release high-energy particles at a million miles an hour. 



The show takes us to Mercury, where temperatures can vary as much as a thousand degrees between night and day, and then on to Venus, whose thick, dense atmosphere traps the sun's heat, making it even hotter than Mercury, its neighbor closest to the sun. Moving past Earth, audiences will be whirled about by 5-mile-high dust devils on Mars; drop inside the 400-year-long raging storm on Jupiter; and flinch from giant electrical storms in Saturn's "Storm Alley," where lightning strikes are 10,000 times stronger than those on Earth. By the time audiences reach the final planet, beautiful blue-gas-giant Neptune, where winds reach twice the speed of sound, they will be happy they live on Earth. The show also explores weather on Titan — one of Saturn's moons — and on dwarf planet Pluto.

To complement 'Wildest Weather,' National Geographic has created an array of educator resources to bring the production to life in classrooms for students in grades two through eight. An online game challenges users to build space probes that will withstand the extreme weather conditions on each planet. The educator resources, game and more can be found on the show's website at www.wildestweathershow.com.

"Wildest Weather in the Solar System" will premiere at several planetariums and museum theaters in the United States and internationally in the first few months of its release. The first venues to exhibit it are:

-Carter Observatory (Wellington, New Zealand)
-Denver Museum of Nature & Science (Denver)
-Exploration Place (Wichita, Kan.)
-'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai'i (Hilo, Hawaii)
-Louisiana Art & Science Museum (Baton Rouge, La.)
-Mayborn Planetarium, Central Texas College (Killeen, Texas)
-Natural Science Center of (Greensboro, N.C.)
-The Children's Museum (West Hartford, Conn.)
-The Franklin Institute (Philadelphia)
-The Swedish Museum of Natural History / Cosmonova (Stockholm, Sweden)
-UNC Morehead Planetarium and Science Center (Chapel Hill, N.C.)

All images courtesy National Geographic Entertainment

National Geographic Cinema Ventures
NGCV is part of National Geographic Entertainment, a division of the National Geographic Society. Founded in 1888, the National Geographic Society is one of the world's largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Its mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. Building on its global reputation for remarkable visuals and compelling stories, NGCV produces and distributes 2D and 3D productions for the special venue and theatrical screens worldwide.

National Geographic's portfolio of nearly 25 films includes six National Geographic giant-screen films — "Flying Monsters 3D," "Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure," "Forces of Nature," "Roar," "Lewis and Clark" and the blockbuster "Mysteries of Egypt," which, at $102 million, is one of the highest-grossing films in the industry. The National Geographic distribution portfolio also includes "Whales," "Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets," "The Human Body," "Wired to Win: Surviving the Tour de France" and Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure."

IAAPA 2011 Expo "results exceeded expectations"; 2012 event is 12-16 Nov

Roland Mack, center, attends TEA 20th anniversary kickoff and Thea Awards announcement at the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2011 in Orlando. Also pictured: Marco Renteria of ETI (far left), and from right, TEA past presidents Steve Thorburn (Thorburn Associates), Keith James (Jack Rouse Associates), Nick Farmer (Farmer Attraction Development) and Peter Chernack (next to Mack). Photo: IPM (Judith Rubin).
"Building on the success of the 2011 Expo and based on the strong advance exhibit sales for the 2012 show, we look forward to creating an even more spectacular event for next year," said Roland Mack, 2012 IAAPA Chairman and Managing Partner of Europa-Park in Rust/Baden, Germany.

“The results for IAAPA Attractions Expo 2011 surpassed our expectations on several fronts,” said IAAPA President and CEO Chip Cleary. “Exhibit sales, buyer attendance, education program participation, and total registration are all up from 2010.” 

IAAPA Attractions Expo is the world’s largest conference and trade show for the $24 billion global attractions industry and serves as the primary marketplace event for leaders, decision makers, and visionaries, who gather to learn, discuss the current trends and hot topics, test the latest innovations, and dream up new experiences for the future. The event is owned and produced by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). The five-day Expo took place at the Orange County Convention Center and had an estimated $47.7 million economic impact on the Orlando area.

Buyer Attendance Up 5 Percent
Approximately 15,300 executives and buyers from 6,975 amusement parks, waterparks, family entertainment centers (FECs), zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, resorts, and roadside attractions from around the world participated in IAAPA Attractions Expo 2011. In 2010, 14,600 buyers participated in the event.

Conference Program Offers Range of Education Topics and Experiences for Industry Professionals
Attendance at the Expo’s 123 education programs was 8,850. Highlights of this year’s conference included presentations from industry CEOs, a panel discussion featuring some of the brightest young designers in the business, a pre-dawn behind-the-scenes tour at Walt Disney World Resort, tours of Legoland Florida and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and a half-day symposium on mobile marketing and communications in the industry.

1,106 Companies Showcase Innovations, Products, and Services
The North/South building of the Orange County Convention Center was packed with exhibits from 1,106 companies that displayed their innovative new products and services on 477,474 net square feet of space on the trade show floor. The outdoor exhibit area measured 49,074 net square feet, the largest at the Expo in almost a decade. The exhibitors hailed from 32 countries and included immersive and interactive rides and attractions, innovative water rides and slides, stage productions, mobile ticketing systems, new food and beverage treats, inflatable devices, arcade games, and much more.

Prestigious Industry Awards Presented at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2011
The following awards were presented at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2011:

  • IAAPA Hall of Fame Awards (worldwide industry leaders)
  • IAAPA Service Awards (service to IAAPA and the industry)
  • IAAPA Brass Ring Awards (marketing, retail, live entertainment, Human Resources, top family entertainment centers, new products, best exhibits)

Some participation numbers   

  • 1,400 people attended the Kickoff Event for an update on IAAPA; to see the exciting new attractions introduced around the world in 2011; and to preview new developments for 2012. 
  • 1,000 Expo participants met, socialized, and shared ideas at the Opening Reception. 
  • 440 industry leaders enjoyed the keynote address by Jim Atchison, CEO SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, at the GM and Owners’ Breakfast.
  • 1,650 people enjoyed the newly reimagined “Star Tours” attraction and “The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights” during IAAPA Celebrates at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • 200 young professionals attended a reception at B.B. King’s Blues Club at Pointe Orlando.
  • Fundraising events held in conjunction with the Expo raised $81,455 for Give Kids The World, the Kissimmee, Fla., resort for children with life-threatening illnesses. (www.GKTW.org
  • 152 golfers, 29 riders, and sponsors raised $66,215 in the 9th Annual IAAPA International Charity Golf Tournament and the 2nd Annual Motorcycle Run. 
  • 135 runners and walkers raised $8,670 in the IAAPA 5K Fun Run & 1K Walk. [Note: ...including IPM's editor Martin Palicki and five winners from InPark Magazine's 5k Race Raffle].
  • Expo participants donated $6,570 through a raffle for a 7-night Royal Caribbean International cruise for two. Tom Sheehan of The Sheehan Firm won the cruise.

IAAPA Attractions Expo 2012
IAAPA Attractions Expo 2012 will take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Nov. 12-16. More than 130 companies have already reserved their booths on the trade show floor. Information about exhibiting or attending is available at www.IAAPA.org/expos/attractions/2012.

About IAAPA
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) is the premier trade association for the attractions industry worldwide. Founded in 1918, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities and attractions and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the attractions industry. IAAPA represents more than 4,000 facility, supplier, and individual members from more than 90 countries. Member facilities include amusement/theme parks, water parks, attractions, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, resorts, and casinos. IAAPA is a nonprofit organization. Revenue generated for the association by its involvement in trade shows and other activities are returned to the association to fund services for its members and the industry. The association’s global headquarters is in Alexandria, Virginia, United States. The association maintains regional offices in Brussels, Mexico City, and Hong Kong. www.IAAPA.org


According to IAAPA, all numbers given here are preliminary estimates.