Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year from InPark Magazine! Top 10+10 for 2011

Fireworks at Kings Dominion Eiffel Tower
Please enjoy our year-end wrap-up:
IPM's Top 10 News Themes and Top 10 feature articles of 2011, at this link.

Wishing you a happy, creative and successful 2012!
  • Martin Palicki, editor and publisher
  • Judith Rubin, co-editor
  • and welcoming Joe Kleiman as online news editor
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Sept 11 museum in NYC opening date hampered by financial dispute

"The Port Authority, which owned the trade center and is building the Museum, claims that the foundation owes it $300 million. The foundation claims that the authority actually owes it $140 million, because of delays in the project...."

Read the AP story in the Washington Post at this link.

Design firms on the project include Thinc Design, Michael Arad and Peter Walker, Davis Brody Bond and Snøhetta.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

GSCA Named as Steward of NSF-funded Digital Immersive Giant Screen Specifications (DIGSS)

EDITOR'S NOTE: For those wishing to discuss DIGSS in person, representatives of the GSCA, as well as many of the experts and advisers involved in its development, will be in attendance at the Moody Gardens Digital Cinema Symposium, Jan 9-10, Galveston, TX, USA; 2012 IMERSA Summit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Feb 3-5, Denver, CO, USA; and the 2012 GSCA European Film Expo at Parc Futuroscope, Poitiers and La Geode, Paris, France, March 20-22.  Registration is now open for all three events. - J.K.

Lake Anna, VA, USA (December 29, 2011)—The White Oak Institute and the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) announce GSCA’s stewardship of the NSF-funded Digital Immersive Giant Screen Specifications (DIGSS 1.0). By a unanimous Board vote on September 22, 2011, the GSCA accepted the role of stewardship of DIGSS 1.0 with a goal of further developing the recommendations, announced Tammy Thurmon, Executive Director of GSCA. John Jacobsen, principal investigator of the Digital Immersive Screen Colloquium for Unified Standards and Specifications (DISCUSS NSF-ISE 0946691) said, “GSCA’s stewardship will enable the refinement and administration of DIGSS 1.0+, its screen testing and its global buy-in.”

DIGSS 1.0 is already serving as the goal for the new Peoria Riverfront Museum’s GS digital theater (Peoria, IL – opening on October 20, 2012), with plans to operate in both 2D and 3D and in both 16:9 and 4:3 image on a 70’ x 52’ screen, coming as close as possible to achieving DIGSS 1.0 specifications. The Museum selected of Global Immersion as the GS system provider and RealD for the 3D cinema system.
 
DIGSS 1.0 are a field-based, open access family of specifications for theater geometry, projection, audio playback, and digital distribution specifications for 2D, 3D, flat and dome theaters. DIGSS support a museum’s needs for immersive learning that are distinct from Hollywood cinemas, particularly with regard to screen size and image aspect ratio (4:3, +/-) that most clearly differentiate the current global giant-screen (GS) network from conventional movie theaters.
 
 “The GSCA represents the giant-screen field; as such, the GSCA is both the logical and necessary organization to oversee open standards that reflect the needs of its member museum theaters,” says John Jacobsen. “GSCA’s stewardship of DIGSS 1.0 will pave the way for innovation by suppliers and innovators.”
  
DIGSS 1.0 is the result of the NSF-funded DISCUSS Colloquium, where 20 science museum leaders and technical experts met for a successful 3-day conference in Marblehead, MA from June 14 to 16, 2010, and where they reached consensus on the first draft of specifications for digital giant-screen (GS) theaters in the international museum market. The results of the NSF-funded project (NSF-ISE 0946691) are available free at http://whiteoakinstitute.org/ and http://www.giantscreencinema.com/.
 
 
 
About the White Oak Institute: The mission of the White Oak Institute is to further innovation in the museum field through research, analysis, and dissemination of data-based findings drawn from museum operations. The White Oak Institute bridges research and museum management by convening experts and museum managers to develop draft resources that are then opened to field-wide review before a 1.0 version is issued and then transferred to a sustainable partner. The DISCUSS Initiative and DIGSS 1.0 are part of several such projects developed and managed by the White Oak Institute. The White Oak Institute is a non-profit formed by the owner/principals of White Oak Associates, Inc.
 
About GSCA: The core purpose of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA®) is to advance the business of producing and presenting educational giant screen and immersive cinema experiences globally. GSCA's membership includes more than 250 organizations in nearly 30 countries. Member organizations include giant screen filmmakers, distributors, theaters, suppliers, manufacturers, and students from around the world.


Premier Exhibitions Prepares to Auction Off Titanic Artifact Collection

 
AUCTION TIMED TO COINCIDE WITH 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF SHIP'S VOYAGE
 
From Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. Courtesy Luxor Las Vegas.
Atlanta, GA, USA -- On December 20, 2011, Premier Exhibitions, Inc. and its subsidiary RMS Titanic, Inc. entered into an agreement with Guernsey’s auction house to conduct a sale of the Company’s Titanic artifact collection and related intellectual property.

The artifacts--coupled with the work product, intellectual property and certain undertakings of the Company including the costs of salvage, lab operations and exhibition rights--were appraised in 2007at a total value of approximately $189 million. The appraised value of $189 million has not been updated in the last several years and does not include the intellectual property acquired from the 2010 expedition. In addition, this appraisal does not ascribe any value to the Company’s salvor-in-possession rights.

Pursuant to the agreement, the results of the auction will be announced on or about April 15, 2012 in New York City.
 
The Company’s collection includes over five thousand artifacts recovered in expeditions to the wreck site in 1987, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2004.

Christopher Davino, President of RMS Titanic, said, “We expect to identify a buyer capable of serving as a proper steward of the collection and the wreck site, while continuing to build upon the work that RMST and its partners in the oceanographic and archaeological communities have accomplished.

Mark Sellers, Chairman of the Board, stated that, “The Company is pleased to be working with Guernsey’s to identify worthy stewards of the Titanic artifact collection while helping our shareholders realize the value of these one-of-a-kind assets. We are fully committed to complying with the covenants and conditions imposed by the Court and will seek buyers we believe the court will view as an acceptable steward of the collection and the wreck site.”

Guernsey’s and the Company intend to make a formal announcement of the auction providing additional details about the process and about the collection following the first of the year.
 
About RMS Titanic, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Premier Exhibitions, Inc.
RMS Titanic, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Premier Exhibitions, Inc., is the only company permitted by law to recover objects from the wreck of Titanic. The Company was granted Salvor-In-Possession rights to the wreck of Titanic by the Court in 1994 and has conducted seven research and recovery expeditions to Titanic recovering more than 5,500 artifacts. In the summer of 2010, RMS Titanic, Inc. conducted a ground-breaking expedition to Titanic 25 years after its discovery, to undertake innovative 3D video recording, data gathering and other technical measures so as to virtually raise Titanic, preserving the legacy of the Ship for all time.
 
About Premier Exhibitions, Inc.
Premier Exhibitions, Inc. (Nasdaq: PRXI), located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a leading presenter of museum quality exhibitions throughout the world. Premier is a recognized leader in developing and displaying unique exhibitions for education and entertainment including "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition", "BODIES...The Exhibition" and "Dialog in the Dark". Additional information about Premier Exhibitions, Inc. is available at the Company's web site www.prxi.com.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Zealand's Fjordland Link Proposal Opens to Public Feedback

The Monorail Society reports:

"Queenstown, New Zealand. The proposal has been around for a long time, but one more hurdle in the process to get it built has recently been achieved by backers. The New Zealand Department of Conservations (DOC) has granted the proposal approval in principal. The $175 million proposal would speed up transportation for tourists from Queenstown to Milford Sound, New Zealand's spectacular fjord. If built, tourists would be able to take a catamaran from Queenstown to Mt. Nicholas Station. From there they would be shuttled to a monorail station. At that point they would board a 41-km monorail line. The monorail would travel through the scenery of the Snowden forest. The final leg of their journey to Milford Sound would be by coach from Te Anau Downs. The Department of Conservation has invited the public to comment on the proposal and whether it should be granted a concession. After February 27, 2012, the DOC will hold public hearings before making a final decision."

Source: The Monorail Society


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Deadliest of Arachnids Finds Home at Kennywood

West Mifflin, PA – With the start of the summer season a short five months away, Kennywood has announced Black Widow as their newest ride for 2012.

“Black Widow will have a combination of height, airtime and thrill factor,” explains Kennywood General Manager Jerome Gibas. “Kennywood offers a great variety of ride experiences and Black Widow will provide our guests with a new dimension of thrill.”


The Black Widow experience starts with riders sitting in outward-facing suspended seats that form a giant circle with a total of 40 riders. With legs dangling freely, each rider is secured with a shoulder restraint. Then the thrill begins.


The giant circle begins to swing in a pendulum motion while rotating counterclockwise. At the peak of the swing riders will reach a height of 146 feet above the ground and experience that feeling of weightlessness coveted by thrill seekers.


The counterclockwise rotation and pendulum motion creates a variety of different sensations depending on a rider’s specific position. The combination of both elements results in a unique ride experience every time!


Black Widow will stand at 90 feet tall but will reach a height of 146 feet in full swing with an angle of 120 degrees from the center. The pendulum motion propels riders back and forth at 68 miles per hour.


While riding Black Widow, guests experience a one of a kind perspective of Lost Kennywood.


Black Widow is a Giant Discovery ride manufactured by Zamperla.

ABOUT KENNYWOOD
 
Kennywood is one of the oldest and most beloved amusement park in America. Founded in 1898, it has thrilled and delighted both young and young-at-heart visitors for more than 110 years. Kennywood is part of the Palace Entertainment family of parks.  Palace Entertainment owns and operates 40 parks nationwide, including water parks, family entertainment centers, theme parks and animal parks. Palace entertains millions of guests annually and is one of the largest park operators in the nation.

Green Lantern Soars to the Skies at Movie World Australia

Courtesy WB Movie World Australia
OXENFORD, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA -- "A shining new light has dawned upon Movie World" this Christmas weekend with the opening of the new Green Lantern rollercoaster. Guests experience "fun and thrills of a galactic proportion" as they take on the steepest drop in the Southern Hemisphere.

“This exciting new ride will reach speeds of up to 66kmh and pull 3.5Gs on hairpin bends and a crazy inverted spin,” said Warner Bros. Movie World General Manager Bob White. “This amazing Green Lantern rollercoaster is like no other coaster experience at Warner Bros. Movie World and is sure to be a hit with families and thrill seekers alike.”


The Green Lantern coaster features 488 meters of electric green track and a drop of 120 degrees, well beyond vertical.


The Green Lantern Coaster was manufactured by S&S Power.

ABOUT WARNER BROS. MOVIE WORLD 
Based on Warner Bros. successful movies and movie characters, Warner Bros. Movie World (part of the Village Roadshow family) is Australia’s leading entertainment based tourist attraction. Conveniently situated just north of Australia's Gold Coast, the park covers over 100 hectares (252 acres) and with the addition of the 'Star Pavilion', a 4000sqm roof, Warner Bros. Movie World is now the only all-weather theme park on the Gold Coast .

Employing approximately 900 staff the park contains a number of rides and attractions including behind the scenes movie action, comedy stunts and animatronics from Warner Bros. movies and cartoons and an array of rides for the toddler up to the serious thrill seeker.

Village Roadshow is Australia's largest theme park operator with its Gold Coast based theme parks, Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild Water World, Paradise Country and Australian Outback Spectacular. The group is also the owner of Sea World Resort and Water Park, a 405 room hotel adjacent to Sea World. Collectively these Village Roadshow Theme Parks enjoy around 4 million guests per annum.

 http://movieworld.myfun.com.au/

Monday, December 26, 2011

Audubon Nature Institute Home to the Soaked and the Slimed this Spring

New Orleans, LA, USA -- The Audubon Institute will be bringing two unique attractions to the Crescent City this Spring, "Cool Zoo" and "Animal Grossology."  

At the Audubon Zoo, "Cool Zoo," opening March 31, is splash park that includes jumping water spouts, a 28 foot alligator water slide, a spider monkey soaker, bubbling fountains, water-spitting snakes and more. The attraction, returning for a second year, includes three different splash zones, with one area set aside especially for toddlers and younger kids.

"Cool Zoo" was designed in-house by the Audubon Nature Institute, with custom fixtures manufactured by WET Engineering.

At the Audubon Aquarium, visitors will experience some of the "stinkiest, slimiest and downright yukkiest creatures on Earth" in the new interactive exhibit "Animal Groosology," which takes a slightly different view of the animal kingdom. Visitors will learn why cows chew cud, how snail slime could help treat cystic fibrosis, and why the dung beetle is nature’s original pooper scooper. This limited engagement exhibit opens February 28.

"Animal Grossology" was designed and constructed by Advanced Animations.

ABOUT THE AUDUBON NATURE INSTITUTE
Audubon Nature Institute, a New Orleans-based not-for-profit which operates Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy IMAX® Theatre, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, Audubon Park, Audubon Insectarium, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Wilderness Park, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center (currently closed) and Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species. www.auduboninstitute.org


Barco to Introduce Auro-3D Sound System at Moody Gardens Digital Cinema Event

Rancho Cordova, CA, USA -- Auro-3D, powered by Barco and Auro Technologies, a newly developed sound system designed along three spatial axes (width, depth and height) rather than the two axes as found in traditional surround sound, will be unveiled at the Moody Gardens Digital Cinema Symposium, January 9-10 in Galveston, TX. Auro-3D turns conventional cinema audio into a fully immersive 3D sound experience, with sounds coming from all around and above the listener.

While traditional surround sound has only two spatial axes and is missing height and top sound, Auro-3D uses three layers (surround, height and top) to achieve natural 3D sound reproduction. An immersive sound experience is created through the system’s unique processing and the addition of speakers in a third dimension (height). The two layers of speakers in the Auro-3D setup make it possible to introduce the height dimension in sound, something that is impossible in surround sound. For example: surround sound processes an airplane flying overhead and a car driving by in the same way. Auro-3D differentiates these sounds to make the experience more natural.


The full Auro-3D speaker layout is defined for up to 13.1 channels, with 11.1 being the current ideal solution for environment for most cinemas. As Auro-3D technology is compatible with existing formats, standards and distribution mechanisms, only a minimal hardware and installation investment is required to upgrade from traditional 5.1 to the Auro-3D 11.1 audio format.
 

Auro-3D can easily be installed in new-built or existing theaters, in most cases utilizing components from current audio systems. According to speaker layout, simply adding height speakers can bring real 3D audio to a theater. Moreover, Auro-3D sound processing is similar to, and compatible with, existing set-ups.

When combined with visual 3D, Auro-3D offers audiences a spectacular and immersive movie experience.

For more information on the Moody Gardens Digital Cinema Symposium, visit
http://digitalcinemasymposium.wordpress.com


  
ABOUT AURO TECHNOLOGIES
Auro Technologies (www.auro-3d.com; www.auro-technologies.com) is a spin-off of the Galaxy Studios Group and owner of the Auro-3D® Technology Suite. The Auro-3D® system (technical concept and listening format) is designed by Wilfried Van Baelen, founder of Galaxy Studios. Galaxy Studios is worldwide renowned for its state-of-the-art leadership in audio innovation for music and film sound. The Auro-3D® suite offers ground-breaking, easy-to-use and unprecedented levels of sound reproduction capabilities to the professional, automotive, broadcast and consumer electronics (such as gaming, smart phones, multimedia PC, notebooks, tablets, audio players, digital TV, media libraries and packaged media) markets.

ABOUT BARCO
Barco (www.barco.com), a global technology company, designs and develops visualization products for a variety of selected professional markets. Barco has its own facilities for Sales & Marketing, Customer Support, R&D and Manufacturing in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. Barco (NYSE Euronext Brussels: BAR) is active in more than 90 countries with about 3,500 employees worldwide. Barco posted sales of 897 million euro in 2010.



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Giant Screen Cinema Assocation Names Officers, Committee Members and Chairs


The Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) 2012 board of directors has unanimously elected officers, executive and governance committee members, as well as committee chairs and co-chairs.
Jeffrey Kirsch (Reuben H. Fleet Science Center) will serve a one-year term as chair of the association. Berend Reijnhoudt (Omniversum) will serve a two-year term as treasurer. Don Kempf (Giant Screen Films, D3D Cinema) will serve a two-year term as secretary. The position of co-chair is yet to be determined.

The GSCA board accepted the resignation of board member Glenn Newland (Technicolor), effective immediately. The board unanimously agreed to appoint Mike Lutz (IMAX Corporation) to fill his spot on the board.


GSCA’s bylaws require the executive committee to be made up of the four officers, plus three other individuals representing specific segments of the industry. In addition to officers Jeff Kirsch, Berend Reijnhoudt, Don Kempf, and the yet-to-be-determined vice chair, the executive committee will include John Wickstrom (National Geographic) representing production/distribution; Michele Canto (Canadian Museum of Civilization) representing institutional and commercial theaters, and Mary Nucci (Rutgers University) representing manufacturers/suppliers/other related businesses.


GSCA’s bylaws also require the board to appoint a governance committee will consist of John Wickstrom (National Geographic), who will chair the committee; Jeffrey Kirsch (Reuben H. Fleet Science Center); Laurent Dondey (La Geode); and Paul Fraser (Blaze Digital Cinema Works).


Per GSCA’s bylaws, committees must have at least one co-chair who is a board member. Committee chairs, co-chairs, and staff liaison are as follows. Technical committee co-chairs: Tim Hazlehurst (Marbles Kids Museum) and Andrew Oran (FotoKem), with Tammy Thurmon as staff liaison. Marketing and Member Services co-chairs: Jackie Mollet (Saint Louis Science Center) and Berend Reijnhoudt (Omniversum), with Kelly Germain as staff liaison. Conference committee co-chairs: Glenn Shaver (Ontario Science Centre) and Tammy Thurmon (GSCA). Lifelong Learning committee chair: Mary Nucci (Rutgers University), with Kelly Germain as staff liaison. Professional Development committee co-chairs: Daniel Ferguson (Cosmic Picture) and Paul Fraser (Blaze Digital Cinema Works), with Tammy Thurmon as staff liaison.


As previously announced in November, the full 2012 board consists of:


Representing Institutional Theaters:


  • Steve Bishop, Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts
  • Jeffrey Kirsch, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
  • Michele Canto, Canadian Museum of Civilization
  • Tim Hazlehurst, Marbles Kids Museum
Representing Commercial Theaters:
  • Gil Perez, Destination Cinema
  • Laurent Dondey, La Géode
Representing Distributors:
  • Bob Harman, MacGillivray Freeman Films
  • Don Kempf, Giant Screen Films
Representing Manufacturers/Suppliers/Other Related Businesses:
  • Paul Fraser, Blaze Digital Cinema Works
Representing Producers:
  • Lisa Truitt, National Geographic Cinema Ventures
  • Shaun MacGillivray, MacGilivray Freeman Films
Representing Euromax:
  • Dennis Laws will represent Euromax in an ex-officio board position
They will join the following board members, who still have one year left on their board term:
  • Mark Bretherton, World's Biggest Screens
  • Charlotte Brohi, Houston Museum of Natural Science
  • Daniel Ferguson, Cosmic Picture
  • Jackie Mollet, Saint Louis Science Center
  • Mary Nucci, Rutgers University
  • Berend Reijnhoudt, Omniversum
  • Glenn Shaver, Ontario Science Centre
  • John Wickstrom, National Geographic and Museum of Science and Industry
  • Andy Wood, Giant Screen Films
ABOUT THE GSCA
Founded in 2006, the GSCA boasts membership of more than 250 organizations in 30 countries engaged in the production, distribution, and exhibition of giant screen film experiences. Member organizations include giant screen filmmakers, distributors, theaters, suppliers, manufacturers, and students from around the world. www.giantscreencinema.com

Art and Technology Challenge Perceptions of Sky at Ringling Museum

Skyspace Installation at Pomona College, CA. Courtesy Rice University
Sarasota, FL, USA – On December 22nd, the Winter Solstice, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art opened its Skyspace, created by the internationally renowned artist, James Turrell. At more than 3,000 sq. ft. it is the largest Skyspace yet created, featuring a 24 ft. square aperture in the canopy 35 ft. above and a central colonnade composed of columns 20 ft. high. Located in the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation Courtyard of the Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing of the Ringling Museum of Art, this is the only Skyspace in Florida and one of only two public Skyspaces on the East Coast.

“The Skyspace created by James Turrell is one of the most important acquisitions in the Ringling Museum’s history,” said Steven High, executive director of The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. “It changes all of your notions of the museum experience, placing you in what feels like your own private world. In today’s digital age, where we are bombarded with emails, tweets, photos and Facebook messages, James Turrell’s Skyspace transports us to a contemplative place where we feel a deepened connection to the very essence of our being and the environment.”

Sitting on precisely angled benches constructed of reclaimed cypress, the viewer’s attention is subtly lifted to the 24 foot square aperture in the center of the canopy. So precise is the ‘razor edge’ of the aperture that the sky overhead becomes, in Turrell’s words a, “plane in the sky.” Through the use of LED, synchronized with the changing seasons, James Turrell is able to manipulate the viewer’s optical response to the sky as seen through the aperture. At dawn or dusk, a program of changing colored light, bathing the interior of the space, shifts the viewer’s perception of the sky from space, to void, to “solid” as the artist “changes” the color of the sky. The Skyspace seats 56 people and also includes creeping jasmine and fig so that over time it will become a lush, tropical environment mirroring its Florida locale.

“It is symbolic that as 2011 comes to a close, the 100 year anniversary of John and Mable purchasing property on what are today the grounds of The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, that their Museum houses the work of one of the leading artists of the 21st century, to be enjoyed and studied by this and future generations,” added High. 


Watch Spirituality on PBS. See more from ART:21.

Born in Los Angeles, James Turrell is one of the most influential contemporary artists at work today. James Turrell was born in 1943 in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in experimental psychology at Pomona College at Claremont, California in 1965, followed by a Master’s degree in Art from Claremont Graduate School in 1973. His work is represented in numerous public collections, including the Tate Modern, London; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and the Israel Museum Jerusalem. The James Turrell Museum opened in Colomé, Argentina in 2009. His solo exhibitions include Stedlijk Museum (1976); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1980); Israel Museum (1982); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1984); MAK, Vienna (1998-1999); Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh (2002-2003); and “The Wolfsburg Project” (2009-2010), Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany. The concept of Skyspaces is closely connected to the creation of the Roden Crater Project in the Arizona desert. Since 1974, Turrell has been converting the Roden Crater – an extinct volcano on the edge of the Painted Desert, near Flagstaff, where Turrell has lived since 1979 – into an observatory. Visitors, students and faculty are invited to browse books about James Turrell’s work in The Ringling Museum of Art Library, located in the Johnson-Blalock Education Center on the Ringling estate.

The Skyspace is the foundation for the Ringling’s Art of Our Time initiative, which reflects the Museum’s efforts to promote understanding of and appreciation for the contemporary visual and performing arts by showcasing works from artists, such as James Turrell, that are profoundly influencing our culture. The Skyspace was made possible through the generous support of Peter and Pam Vogt, Dick and Betty Nimtz and Bev Koski and her late husband Bob Koski.


ABOUT THE RINGLING MUSEUM OF ART
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Florida State University, is one of the largest museum/university complexes in the nation.  It preserves the legacy of John and Mable Ringling, educating and enabling a large and diverse audience to experience and take delight in a world-renowned collection of fine art; Ca' d’Zan, the Ringling historic mansion; the Circus Museums; the Original Asolo Theater; and historic architecture, courtyard, gardens and grounds overlooking Sarasota Bay.  www.ringling.org

360 Play Opens Second UK FEC Location With Larger Footprint

Courtesy DP Leisure
Milton Keynes, UK (December 23, 2011) -- Following the success of its first venue in Milton Keynes, UK, DP Leisure (DPL), operator of the 360 Play family entertainment centre brand, has opened a second venue in Stevenage, Herts., also in the UK.
 

The opening of the second venue marks the commencement of the roll out of the extremely successful FEC brand following its initial launch and development in Milton Keynes. The new centre, situated on Stevenage Leisure Park, opened on December 12th. and at 24,000 sq. ft. is approximately a third larger than the original location.
 

The bigger venue has also allowed DPL’s sister company, DP Associates (DPA), to further develop the 360 Play concept, with its design and master plan bringing in a number of new attractions and creating specific zones which provide a theme park style layout, albeit on a much smaller scale, allowing visitors to ‘discover’ different areas as they move around the building.
 

The new location features the familiar blend of creative play and amusement which has proved so successful at the company’s Milton Keynes site. All accommodated at ground floor level, with the exception of party suites on the first floor, the offer includes the familiar 360 Play blend of children’s and family orientated activities and attractions, with three main zones offering different types of experience.
 

These cover physical play, creative play and skills play and include at the centre of the building a major three storey play structure incorporating a wide range of slides, climbing elements, crawl through tubes, ball zones and other familiar soft play offerings. In the same central area and beneath much of the play structure, a floor pick-up bumper car track featuring mid-size vehicles suitable for both children and adults forms part of the ‘skills zone’ which also features a carousel ride and various hands-on activities. Among these are a selection of family sports games and a climbing area made up of a series of climbing panels that children can climb along, rather than up.
 

Another area of the building incorporates a second, smaller play structure, this being specifically for children under four, along with a play garden and junior carousel, while adjacent to this is 360 Street housing the ‘creative play’ zone. Here visitors can find a host of different units offering a variety of interactive play elements such as Luigi’s Pizza Parlour, Vets and Pets, a dressing up shop, a fire station, Twizzle’s car body shop and more. This key area is designed to stimulate the creativity in young minds while also providing an opportunity for parents to get involved too.
 

Also to be found in this section of the building is a café and a large seating area, one of several areas offering places for visitors to relax and ‘base’ themselves before moving on to another part of the venue. Additional facilities elsewhere include a bespoke classroom, a private hire suite, the aforementioned party zone and an outdoor zone, Club 360, which is set to open in June 2012 and will feature sand and water play, outdoor soft play and an events area.
 

“We are delighted to have opened our second 360 Play venue and in an incredibly short space of time since coming on site,” said Managing Director Duncan Phillips. “We completed the build in under three months and have created what we believe to be an engaging, entertaining and inspiring family orientated facility that I am sure will enjoy the great success we have witnessed at our Milton Keynes site.
 

“With a larger location we’ve been able to take the 360 Play concept even further to enhance the experience and have incorporated additional design elements and features which I know will be well received. It’s also a great site to be on with an excellent catchment area so we are looking forward to a successful future here in Stevenage to follow the success we continue to enjoy in Milton Keynes.”
 
ABOUT DP ASSOCIATES
DP Associates is a strategic leisure company providing a multi-disciplinary service to leisure venue operators, developers and investors.

The founding of DPA by Duncan Phillips followed over 20 years of operational experience within the theme park industry, coupled to the design and creation, on green field sites, of highly successful attraction venues.

A wide range of expertise and services is available to clients. From initial concept design and master planning through architect and supplier briefings to implementing and opening an attraction or venue, DPA’s experience allows the company to conceive imaginative, entertaining and immersive project solutions which bring to life the client’s vision.

Additionally, DPA’s expertise extends throughout all operational aspects of a project, including visitor flows, guest demographics, attraction choice and operation, staff training and more. DPA also provides solutions for existing venues, be it in relation to individual ride based attractions, both old and new, other elements of the entertainment and facility offering or visitor numbers.

And now the company has extended its range of knowledge, expertise and services to cater to the health and fitness industry and the requirements of operators within that sector.

For further information please contact DP Associates on 01908 608577, email mail@dpassociates.uk.com or visit www.dpassociates.uk.com

Friday, December 23, 2011

ProSlide SuperLOOP Takes on the Indoors at Kalahari Resort

Courtesy ProSlide
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada -- The Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, WI is the newest home to the world's smartest looping waterslide, the ProSlide SuperLOOP™. This brand new indoor complex houses three of ProSlide's SkyBox™ launching systems, two of which drop riders into the Duelling SuperLOOP™and the third drops riders straight down a ProSlide FreeFALL™. While the SuperLOOP™ has been seen 15 installations since its introduction 24 months ago, this complex at Kalahari Resort represents the first indoor installation worldwide.   

Unlike other looping water slides, the ProSlide SuperLOOP™ does not require the additional cost of expensive monitoring systems or escape hatches. The design allows a greater range of rider weights and there is no chance of riders getting stuck mid-loop.  "They're pretty intense," Travis Nelson, the resort's spokesman and "Chief Slide Officer" said of the new looping slides. "But you want to go back and ride them again, and again."

ABOUT PROSLIDE TECHNOLOGY
For 25 Years ProSlide Technology has created the world's most award-winning, fiberglass water rides for the waterpark, theme park and resort industries. ProSlide is uniquely focused on product development and innovation, producing visionary designs and inventive water rides. ProSlide has the industry's best planning, design, engineering and installation expertise, creating the highest caliber rider experience. Located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, with multiple international offices, ProSlide has thousands of installations in over 45 countries worldwide. Visit www.proslide.com for further information.

National Geographic Society Reorganizes Film Units

Washington, DC, USA -- National Geographic Entertainment is undergoing reorganization.

National Geographic Films, now part of a new partnership between Hyde Park Entertainment and ImageNation, which co-presented the box-office success and 2005 Academy Award-winning film March of the Penguins, is undergoing a reorganization which will see new financing, production, and management in place.

National Geographic Cinema Ventures (NGCV), now a division of National Geographic Television & Film, will continue as a division of National Geographic Society and will develop, produce, acquire and distribute large format, digital, speciality and 3D films under the leadership of NGCV president, Lisa Truitt. Mark Katz will also continue to report to Truitt as president of distribution. NGCV's latest productions include the giant screen and digital 3D film Flying Monsters 3D and the full dome digital presentation Wildest Weather in the Solar System.  The division also offers a digital cinema partnership plan for museums.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888, the Society’s mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 400 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; live events; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise.

National Geographic Films co-presented the box-office success and 2005 Academy Award-winning film March of the Penguins. In 2008 it formed an international film fund with ImageNation, a partnership that produced Academy Award nominee Peter Weir’s The Way Back. National Geographic Cinema Ventures distributed the 2011 critically acclaimed, Academy Award-nominated Restrepo. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.

Holographic Performance Controlled from iPad with Medialon Software

Courtesy Medialon
Paris, France -- The Gaya Theatre in Seoul, South Korea, recently hosted a holographic performance called VR BreakOut.

Zenex Wave a Korean design and production company used Medialon Manager Show and Media Control Software with an iPad to give a chance for the audience to enjoy and experience a 3D world of virtual reality on stage.


The performance is a story told through music and dance about prisoners who lead a routine life, isolated from the outside world, and dream of freedom through a mysterious Bi-guep (a book with supernatural power), which happens to fall from the sky.


In VR BreakOut, selected as the 2010 Virtual Reality Content Support Project of the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA), Zenex Wave applies holograms to a commercial stage for the first time in Korea, realizing virtual reality on the stage by combining technologies like 3D projection mapping, interactive sound and state of the art show control.


Actors perform free-style, following the main story of the production, while the holographic technology happens around them. A highlight is the holographic car in the background flying and rotates in the sky in real time.


For the holograms, 3D projection mapping, and interactive sound, Zenex Wave used various equipment and systems as Dataton Watchout media players and 5 video projectors fit with shutters to block light from the projectors.


A single operator controls the entire show from an iPad through Medialon's Manager Show Control Software, including all audio, video, and lighting.

 

"We made the performance become much more perfect by using a show control system so that a single operator could control these systems effectively from the video console," declared Sin Kim Ji Hun from Zenex Wave.


The video cue menu and the projector control menu were automatically converted according to the rotation of the iPad, allowing a more efficient and easier control panel.


For the holograms, videos come from two projectors installed at the top behind the stage set out, and is reflected on the mat screen on the floor and then projected on the foil screen (optical film) mounted at a 45 degree angle.


For further information, please visit:
www.zenex.co.kr, www.medialon.com
 

ABOUT MEDIALON 
Medialon designs user friendly yet powerful, IT based audiovisual control solutions, for simple to mission critical applications such as Museum Media Control, Theme Park Wide and Attraction Control, Live Entertainment Show Control and Corporate Showrooms to name just a few.

Our products range includes Show & Media Control Software, Embedded Controllers, Digital Audio Servers, Scheduling Software, and Redundant Control Servers.


With offices in the USA and Europe and international distributors, Medialon solutions are available worldwide.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Comcast to Sponsor New Entertainment District Adjacent to Philadelphia Sports Venues

Courtesy XFINITY Live!
Philadelphia, PA, USA -- Comcast-Spectacor and The Cordish Companies announced a long-term partnership with Comcast Corporation which includes naming the new entertainment district under construction on the former site of the Spectrum, as XFINITY Live! Philadelphia.

In addition, the companies announced full details of the venue and local businesses’ participation with the project.

"We are very excited to announce our wonderful partnership with Comcast and it is with great anticipation that we look toward celebrating the grand opening of XFINITY Live! Philadelphia on April 5, 2012," said Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider. "This magnificent facility, which now includes the NBC Sports Arena with one of the largest and most incredible indoor TV screens in the nation, will provide an unbelievable, state-of-the-art fan experience for our guests. There will be nothing like it anywhere!"

"XFINITY Live! Philadelphia is going to be the ultimate entertainment and dining destination for fans, residents and visitors of all ages," said Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko. "Comcast is a terrific promotional partner and we're excited to finally unveil the spectacular dining options we will have at XFINITY Live! Philadelphia."

"Live! districts are synonymous around the country with incredible dining, entertainment, and energy," said The Cordish Companies Vice President Reed Cordish. "By combining this approach with great local Philly operators as well the incredible power of Comcast, NBC Sports, and Comcast SportsNet, we are certain that XFINITY Live! Philadelphia will become the premier district in the country and a showpiece for Philadelphia."

The partnership and involvement with Comcast has brought the originally planned concept to new heights, including state-of-the-art experiences at the newly created XFINITY On Demand Theater, an outdoor viewing experience that will feature everything from sports games to family movies; the NBC Sports Arena, featuring an indoor 32-foot diagonal, 6 mm, million-dollar Sony LED screen; the NBC Sports Field, which will play host to numerous outdoor activities and sports leagues; NBC Sports Fantasy Board, to ensure all visitors at XFINITY Live! Philadelphia have up-to-the-minute stats for their fantasy sports leagues; NBC Sports Game Experience, located in the Broad Street Bullies Pub, featuring the latest video games to challenge your family and friends; the Comcast SportsNet Ticker, over 100-feet of LED ribbon in the Philly MarketPlace showing live sports scores and top news; and the Comcast SportsNet Interactive Zone, featuring fan camera, photo green screen, and interactive games.

“Philadelphia has been Comcast’s home for decades, and we’re invested in its growth. We are thrilled to work with Comcast-Spectacor and The Cordish Companies to bring together the Comcast and NBCUniversal brands in a new entertainment and sports district that will build upon the vibrancy and history of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex,” said Dave Watson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Comcast Cable. “XFINITY Live! Philadelphia will create 750 jobs for the City and will be a top destination for residents and families across the area.”
 

A full list of restaurants and attractions is available at www.xfinitylive.com
 

About Comcast-Spectacor
Comcast-Spectacor (comcast-spectacor.com) is the Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment company which owns the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL), the home arena for both the Flyers and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, the Wells Fargo Center, and four Flyers Skate Zone community ice skating and hockey rinks. In addition, Comcast-Spectacor is also the principal owner of Global Spectrum, the fastest growing firm in the public assembly management field with more than 100 facilities throughout the United States and Canada; Ovations Food Services, a food and beverage service provider; New Era Tickets, a ticketing and marketing company for public assembly facilities; Front Row Marketing Services, a commercial rights sales company; FanOne, a digital fan marketing company; and Paciolan, the leading provider of venue enablement, ticketing, fundraising and marketing technology solutions.

About The Cordish Companies

The Cordish Companies (www.cordish.com), now in its fourth generation of family ownership, is an international conglomerate of businesses including one of the leading real estate development companies, entertainment and gaming companies in the United States. The Company has diverse development expertise with divisions focused on Entertainment & Mixed-Use, Gaming & Lodging, Sports Anchored Districts, Shopping & Lifestyle Retail, Office and Residential. The Cordish Companies also owns and manages a diverse group of operating businesses, ranging from gaming, restaurants/clubs to live music promotion and film/media distribution. The Company values itself on the quality of its operations, its long-term relationships, and high level of integrity in all of its endeavors.

The Cordish Companies is the largest and most successful developer of entertainment districts and concepts in the United States. In particular, the company has unparalleled experience in creating and revitalizing high-profile destinations in urban core locations. Many of The Cordish Companies’ projects involve public/private partnerships and are of unique significance to the cities in which they are located. Prime examples are the company's prominent role in the redevelopment of Baltimore's world-famous Inner Harbor; Atlantic City, NJ; Hollywood, FL; Charleston, SC; Houston, TX; Louisville, KY; Tampa, FL, Kansas City, MO; and Towson, MD. Hogan Real Estate is The Cordish Companies’ local partner in Louisville.


The Cordish Companies has received the highest possible national awards in its various areas of expertise. In real estate, The Cordish Companies has received an unprecedented seven Urban Land Institute Awards of Excellence.


About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (www.comcast.com) is one of the world’s leading media, entertainment and communications companies. Comcast is principally involved in the operation of cable systems through Comcast Cable and in the development, production and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and other content for global audiences through NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential and business customers. Comcast is the majority owner and manager of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates entertainment and news cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, local television station groups, television production operations, a major motion picture company and theme parks.



Source: Comcast

Hollyer Projects to Oversee Two-Year Makeover of Madame Tussauds Las Vegas


Bucks, UK /PRWEB UK/ -- The thirteen year old Madame Tussauds Las Vegas attraction is to be brought up to date with the look and feel of the current Madame Tussauds brand, as well as given new features.

Rosita Chapman, General Manager of Madame Tussauds Las Vegas sets out the benefits: “Guests will be able to experience a more fully immersive Madame Tussauds experience, while repeat customers get to see new rooms and figures they haven't seen before. One of the great attributes of Madame Tussauds worldwide is the ability to stay current and fresh in the eyes of our customers, and this project will help our attraction do just that.”

The work will be split into two phases over two years. The first phase will include a refurbishment of the Box Office/Front Entry, the re-theming of the current SPEED room to a new FILM room and the expansion of the current SPORTS room. The Box Office/Front Entry will have a red carpet feel to give guests the impression of entering a star studded celebrity event. The FILM room, a cornerstone of the Madame Tussauds brand, is to get a Vegas flavour by showcasing movies either based on or filmed in Las Vegas.

The second phase will include an update of the attraction's MUSIC room and the introduction of a Madame Tussauds HISTORICAL room, combined with a BEHIND the SCENES area that will detail the creation process of the Madame Tussauds waxworks.

The most challenging aspect of the project will be to fit the work around the guests, causing the minimum amount of disruption to the attraction which is open 365 days a year. This will require very careful planning, with each section to be completed within limited time frames based on non-peak business periods throughout the year.

Richard Hollyer, MD of Hollyer Projects says, “I am delighted to be working with Madame Tussauds Las Vegas. Having started my career at Tussauds Group Studios, coming back to work with the Las Vegas attraction is really exciting. The changes we’re making will allow the guest to become more involved within the newly themed areas, enjoying engaging interactive features as well as getting close to their favourite celebrity figures.”

Hollyer Projects’ previous work with Merlin attractions worldwide was a significant factor in their appointment. Chapman says, “Hollyer Projects was chosen to lead the Las Vegas renovation projects because of the company's long-standing experience within attraction-based refurbishments and construction. They have shown their ability to manage efficiently with limited time frames and budget, they provide great flexibility when a project demands it, and they display a sincere passion in delivering their customer a successful product. It is for these reasons we couldn't be happier to have them managing these large-scale projects for us. We couldn't possibly risk having them in the hands of anyone else less qualified.”


ABOUT HOLLYER PROJECTS 

Following a sculptural grounding in the 80s, Richard Hollyer was employed by Merlin Studios (formerly Tussauds Group Studios) for nearly 18 years. He became one of the Studio’s project managers in 2003, delivering increasingly complex projects for the ever-growing portfolio of Merlin attractions.

Hollyer Projects manage creative installations from start to finish, providing a personal service, which includes project management, design, theme work and signage. Richard is always keen to meet with clients at the earliest opportunity to discuss their requirement and to offer ideas and possible solutions for achieving their ultimate objective.  www.hollyer projects.com

ABOUT MADAME TUSSAUDS LAS VEGAS
Madame Tussauds Las Vegas offers guests the unique opportunity to “interact” with incredibly life-like iconic figures from the celebrity worlds of film, TV, music, sports and politics. Only at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas can you “grab hold” of your favorite stars, with our many interactive experiences. With more than 100 wax figures, Madame Tussauds Las Vegas allows you to take pictures, touch and get up close and personal in a themed setting. Madame Tussauds Las Vegas is located on the Las Vegas Strip at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. The attraction is open 365 days a year. Visit online at http://www.madametussauds.com/lasvegas.

Madame Tussauds is part of MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS GROUP, a leader in location-based, family entertainment said to be the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator.

Registration Now Open for GSCA/Euromax European Film Expo

Registration has opened for the European Film Expo, to be jointly held in France by the Giant Screen Cinema Association and Euromax.  The event, showcasing the latest in giant screen and immersive digital films, will take place at Parc du Futuroscope in Poitiers March 20-21 with a dome day at La Geode in Paris on March 22.

Further information is available on this earlier news piece from IPM.  For event schedule and registration, please visit the Giant Screen Cinema Association.

New Ropes Course Offers Interactive Adventures at Miami Seaquarium

MIAMI, FL, USA (December 21, 2011) /PRNewswire/ -- Sharky's Sky Trail® – a ropes course adventure, is the newest interactive attraction to be introduced at Miami Seaquarium. Opened December 20, the multi-level aerial obstacle course is an experience for the whole family to enjoy during the Holidays in Miami. Park guests will be able to climb three stories in the air to face 18 challenges, while safely harnessed in an overhead track.

"This is a thrilling new interactive adventure that can be enjoyed by young and old alike," commented Andrew Hertz, General Manager at Miami Seaquarium. "It's an experience unlike any other as you attempt to cross a rope ladder or walk a tightrope two or three stories in the air."

Hertz also said the company invested $400,000 in the new attraction and that Sharky's Sky Trail® will provide local companies and organizations a new team-building activity.

There will be a $5 fee for park guests to experience Sharky's Sky Trail®. Certain physical and footwear requirements will apply.

ABOUT MIAMI SEAQUARIUM

Miami Seaquarium is a family-oriented marine-life park open to the public 365 days a year. The park provides visitors with a greater understanding and appreciation for marine life through shows, presentations and marine-life exhibits. More information on Miami Seaquarium is available at www.miamiseaquarium.com. Become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/miamiseaquarium.
 

Early Registration Extended to Dec 23 for 2nd Annual Moody Gardens Digital Cinema Symposium

Evanston, IL, USA -- Museum cinema integrator D3D Cinema will team with Moody Gardens and Barco to host an exclusive preview of new digital projection technology, providing a glimpse into the future of the movie going experience. The event will take place January 9-10, 2012 on the 80-foot wide screen of Moody Garden's giant screen 3D theater in Galveston,TX.

Barco says the event will feature a series of noteworthy milestones in the digital cinema revolution, including the first demonstration of their laser light engine on a giant screen, the first demonstration of true DLP 4K resolution 3D on a giant screen, the first 4K 3D comparison of 48 frames-per-second and 60 frames-per-second content, the first giant 3D 500 mbps comparison, nearly double the current cinema bit rate standard, and the introduction of the recently announced Auro-3D 11.1 surround sound system.


"Barco and our technology partners continue to raise the bar and redefine the forefront of cinema technology innovation," says Don Kempf, president of D3D. "We are confident that this event will demonstrate to the museum and giant screen communities that the future of experiential digital 3D cinema is now. Last year's first Moody Digital Symposium was a truly groundbreaking event, enabling our industry to move past talk and theory for the first time. This year we intend to further the digital 3D revolution with another provocative display."


Art Mercurio, vice president of technology at D3D Cinema says, "As a 3D system integrator, we're particularly excited about the light levels that lasers can achieve. As they do with all of their technology, Barco has approached the laser lamp house design to be fully modular so that all of their current 4K projectors may be upgraded simply and easily. And no more xenon lamp costs."


"We're fully committed to providing the highest quality solutions for giant screen theaters," says Todd Hoddick, vice president of Barco's entertainment division in North America. "D3D is helping to guide this industry in an electrifying direction and we're pleased to be helping them lead the way."


For more information on the Moody Gardens Digital Cinema Symposium and registration, visit:
http://digitalcinemasymposium.wordpress.com
 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mirage Resort in Las Vegas Offers Unique "Yoga Among the Dolphins"

Courtesy MGM Resorts International
LAS VEGAS, NV, USA /PRNewswire/ -- The Spa at The Mirage Hotel & Casino is taking downward-facing dog to the dolphins with a new, one-of-a-kind class, Yoga Among the Dolphins, offered in an underwater viewing area within Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat.

"Guests from all over the world cherish the dolphins at The Mirage," said The Mirage Spa Director Stephanie Doud. "When I looked at adding yoga to our spa menu, it only made sense to take advantage of the property's exotic, wondrous dolphin world and the atmosphere of relaxation provided by the animals."

Access to the space gives participants in Yoga Among the Dolphins a unique yoga experience. While seaside yoga retreats offer only the possibility of a glimpse, The Mirage is the only location of its kind offering classes that guarantee sightings of these charismatic creatures.

Starting at The Spa, yoga guests are greeted by the class instructor and escorted to a quiet and private room within the Dolphin Habitat. The underwater location features multiple windows, providing an opportunity to view the resort's family of bottlenose dolphins while flowing from pose to pose. After class, spa representatives present rejuvenating smoothies and guide participants past the dolphin pools as they return to the spa. The 60-minute classes are open to the public and can be customized to accommodate all skill levels.


ABOUT THE MIRAGE HOTEL AND CASINO
Ideally located, The Mirage is the place to stay and play. From the iconic Volcano to the lush tropical atrium and pool, guests experience an exotic world-class destination unlike any other. The resort features contemporary AAA Four Diamond accommodations, dynamic entertainment including The Beatles™ LOVE™ by Cirque du Soleil®, tantalizing restaurants, Kim Vo Salon and Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat.

Radio City Kicks Into Christmas Season With Help From 7thSense Design

Courtesy 7th Sense Design
Small Dole, West Sussex, UK (December 21, 2011) -- Large-scale multimedia server specialist 7thSense Design announces their project involvement with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, starring the world-famous Radio City Rockettes for the 2011 edition of this beloved production. 

For this project, 7thSense Design worked with Madison Square Garden Entertainment, producers of the Christmas Spectacular, batwin+robin productions, a New York-based multimedia design company, and Visual Acuity, an independent media and technology consultancy.


Two racks of Delta Media Servers were able to produce a ‘pixel map’ of the show’s entire laser-scanned 3D display surface for the production’s new digital mapping technology. This enabled batwin+robin’s content creators to place media exactly where they needed it inside the theatre, without having to work in a 3D modeling environment.


Ian Macpherson, Managing Director, 7thSense Design, explains: “This year’s Christmas Spectacular will showcase the extensive use of true 3D mesh-based projection mapping on an architectural scale, with multiple, high-power projectors from Digital Projection blending images onto the art deco ceiling and proscenium arch of Radio City Music Hall. Through this display, the surface will be further extended by the 2D and 3D LED walls.


7th Sense Design supplied seven Delta Media Servers in all. The first serves content to the three projectors projecting onto the main proscenium arch and the second feeds the eight projectors used for the arches either side of the stage. Two additional servers handle the content for LED walls serving as backdrops on the stage and two serve as backup projectors.


“As well as serving 4k uncompressed video content to the proscenium arches through the internal 3D representation of the theatre's walls and ceiling, the servers are all synchronized with the main audio system in the theatre, which sends Locate and Play commands to the Delta Media Server. Real-time commands are also received from the house lighting desk using ArtNet data – which alters the color and transparency of the proscenium arch. The projector shutters are also controlled for when the show requires a dark stage,” explained Macpherson.


In speaking about the technology required for this challenging and exciting installation, Magnus Kemp, Lead Consultant at Visual Acuity explains: “Visual Acuity began the consulting, testing and design of projection technology tocover the art deco interior of Radio City Music Hall for this year’s Christmas Spectacular more than a year ago. We supported the efforts of 7thSense Design to coordinate the content from batwin+robin productions and to perfectly work with the design and layout of Digital Projection projectors.”


Linda Batwin O’Donovan, Partner, batwin+robin, adds: “In terms of multimedia design, we had to find creative ways to project imageryonto the art-deco arches of Radio City’s theater. Through 7thSense’s assistance we were able to implement new geometry controls which, in addition to the Mesh Mode, allowed us to feed our 3D models of the arches directly into the Delta Media Server and project the Christmas imagery.”


The process of fine-tuning the Christmas Spectacular continued into rehearsals, with 7thSense Design’s Delta Media Server working with batwin+robin and Visual Acuity to enhance the media such as placing and sizing ‘Dancing Santa’ shadows, and moving media frame-by-frame in time to match the world-famous eye high kicks of the Rockettes.


Ian Macpherson concludes: “This year’s Christmas Spectacular will be the most dynamic production to grace the Great Stage of Radio City, It has been a privilege for 7thSense Design to be associated with the technology companies involved in planning, design and production for a show that has such rich history and tradition. The Christmas Spectacular and the Rockettes have been a New York City holiday staple for 79 years!”

 
ABOUT 7THSENSE DESIGN 
7thSense Design is a creative design house with expertise in high-end media serving and projection onto any surface, whether flat, curved, full dome or even non-standard shapes. The company markets their own Delta Media Server product family which provides real-time uncompressed video serving, show creation and display matching for a variety of markets including 3D theatres, Visitor attractions, Live Events and Planetariums. 7thSense Design foundershave created several patented real-time products in the audio-visual field, often used in many of the world’s most interesting and challenging of video and audio environments. www.7thsensedesign.com

Merlin Poised to Acquire Aquariums and Other Attractions in Asia, Australia, and Dubai with Bid for Living and Leisure Australia

POOLE, England -- Merlin Entertainments Group announced that Merlin Australia has executed an Implementation Deed with LLA pursuant to which Merlin Australia will make a recommended off-market takeover offer for all the stapled securities in LLA at 5.14 cents cash per LLA Security.

The Offer implies an enterprise value for LLA of approximately A$244 million3, which represents a multiple of 7.2x operating FY11 EBITDA of A$34.0 million5. The price offered per LLA Security represents a 157% premium to the closing price of LLA Securities on 20 October 2011, the day prior to LLA’s announcement that it was conducting a review of strategic initiatives aimed at reducing the discount between the listed price of LLA Securities and fair value. The LLA Board has stated that no superior proposal has emerged as at the date of this announcement.  


The LLA Directors unanimously recommend the Offer, in the absence of a superior proposal, and subject to the Independent Expert opining that the Offer is fair and reasonable. Each LLA Director who has an interest in LLA Securities has stated that they intend to accept the Offer in respect of LLA Securities which they own or control, in the absence of a superior proposal, and subject to the Independent Expert opining that the Offer is fair and reasonable.

In addition, Merlin Australia has entered into a pre-bid agreement with LLA’s largest security holder, Arctic LES (Ireland) Limited, to acquire a stake giving Merlin a relevant interest in 19.99% of the LLA Securities on issue.

Merlin Australia has also agreed to acquire Living and Leisure Australia Management Limited (“LLAM”), the responsible entity of Living and Leisure Australia Trust, from Arctic Capital Limited if Merlin Australia obtains effective control of LLA, for a purchase price based on the net tangible assets of LLAM.

The Offer to acquire LLA, should it complete, offers an opportunity for Merlin to significantly increase its network of international attractions in Asia and Australia, successfully building on the acquisition of the Sydney Attractions Group earlier this year.

Merlin’s current attractions in the Asia Pacific region include: in Australia and New Zealand, Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney, Sydney Tower Eye and SKYWALK at the Sydney Tower Eye, WILD LIFE Hamilton Island, Oceanworld Manly, and Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World in Auckland; and Madame Tussauds attractions in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Bangkok. Attractions under development in the region – both of which are planned to open in 2012 – are a major LEGOLAND theme park in Malaysia and a Madame Tussauds in Sydney.

LLA owns and operates nine leisure attractions in the Asia Pacific region as well as a management contract in Dubai, through three divisions: Oceanis Group aquariums; Australia Alpine Enterprises ski fields; and Australian Treetop Adventures attractions. The addition of LLA’s attractions will mean that, post completion, Merlin will have almost 90 world class attractions across North America, Western Europe, Asia and Australasia.

Regarding the proposal, Nick Varney, Chief Executive Officer of Merlin, issued the following statement:

“This is a unique opportunity for Merlin to acquire not just a group of high quality attractions which complement our existing portfolio of iconic global attraction brands, but which also increases our interests and exposure to Asia and Australia. Completion of this deal, together with our existing ongoing development, would represent an important step in our growth strategy for the region which we believe is full of opportunities and prospects for those with the right attractions and expertise.

“Merlin also has a strong track record of growing the assets it buys. The acquisition of LLA would open up new markets to us and facilitate the continuing roll out of the SEA LIFE, Madame Tussauds, Eye and LEGOLAND brands in the Asia Pacific region, complementing our existing strength in Western Europe and North America.”
 

ABOUT MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS
MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS is an international leader in location-based, family entertainment, with dynamic growth over the last eight years. Merlin now operates nearly 80 attractions, six hotels and two holiday villages in 17 countries across four continents. The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its 44 million visitors worldwide through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and more than 17,000 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 at the Sydney Tower Eye, Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World, Oceanworld Manly, and WILD LIFE Hamilton Island. Visit www.merlinentertainments.biz. Merlin Entertainments is a privately-owned company. Its primary shareholders are the Blackstone Group, KIRKBI A/S, CVC Capital Partners, and members of the management team.


ABOUT LLA

LLA owns and operates nine leisure attractions in the Asia Pacific region, as well as a management contract in Dubai, through three award winning businesses:
  • Oceanis Group, which is one of the world’s largest owners and operators of aquariums by number of customers and volume of displays, has two sites in Australia and one each in Bangkok, Shanghai, South Korea along with a management contract in Dubai
  • Australian Alpine Enterprises which is the owner and operator of ski fields at the premier Victorian ski resorts Hotham and Falls Creek which account for approximately 26% of the Australian skier market (based on 2011 Australian skier days)
  • Australian Treetop Adventures which is a tree top walks business comprising the Otway Fly and Zipline in Victoria and the Illawarra Fly in New South Wales.
 http://www.livingandleisure.com.au/