Thursday, August 13, 2009

Would You See A 4D Movie? How About THE FINAL DESTINATION?

Jim here. I have intentionally stayed away from posting about several new technologies that are coming on stream for audiences that are all connected to adding more sensory input to our brain during a viewing experience. I am talking about what some people call 4D, or even 5D, 6D or more.

Gimmick right? Not so fast. Well for the most part we were talking about rides in amusement and theme parks - 3D intentionally jacked up on steroids through the use of water mist, smells and motion to name a few. I give these theme parks a wide berth because they really seem to be the primordial ooze that creates superior technologies once they percolate for awhile there. It separates what can work and what can't in many cases. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE these rides. But they are 5-15 minute rides and not entire 2 hour movies.

I am now seeing some very interesting movement on the horizon for motion: Viewers treated to having their seat move with the action taking place on screen. Whether or not adoption of motion is the next step in the evolution of the audiences experience is anyone's guess. But I will say that it is interesting. Any given movie can be integrated with the chair motion technology by pairing the action on screen with all the possible movements of the seat. These translations have already been done for many, many movies. While the technology is new, the idea has been around quite awhile.

Of note is a company out of Longueuil, Quebec (Just outside of Montreal) called D-BOX. These guys build moving theatrical chairs, gaming chairs, home theater chairs and the software to articulate them all (D-BOX Motion Code). Why bring this up now? Many would argue that 3D is still not widely adopted yet (but is clearly on its way) and focus should remain on the target - the option of showing a 3D movie on every screen. I agree with that statement of course. But we also watch future developments and this looks to have some traction - not 3D traction mind you, but certainly of note.

Here is why. Hollywood is starting to adopt them. There are Blu-ray releases that have the D-BOX motion code embedded right in with the movie already (complete with D-BOX logo on the back of the case). Further, there are almost 6000 movies that are already D-BOX ready. And at the box office, several first run movies in theaters are now being shown with the technology. In fact, Ultra Star Cinemas in Phoenix, AZ and Apple Valley, CA; Galaxy Theatres in Austin, TX and Las Vegas, NV; Mann Theatres in Los Angeles, CA; Cineplex Odeon Queensway, Toronto, ON; and the Theatres at Mall Of America, Bloomington, MN all have adopted D-BOX technology for selected screens.

Now here is where it gets exciting to me. For the first time in public theaters, a 3D movie will be screened with D-BOX, New Line's THE FINAL DESTINATION on August 28.

"We are truly excited to offer moviegoers the ultimate cinema experience by combining for the first time ever 3-D and D-BOX Motion technology," said Claude Mc Master, President and Chief Executive Officer of D-BOX Technologies. "Our technology is such a great complement to 3-D to provide an incomparable immersive movie-going experience".

So what do I think of the technology? I haven't seen it yet, but I plan on doing so very soon. I remember as a child seeing a movie at Disney World with seats that inflated and deflated with the action - and I was entralled. However, as an adult the jury is still out on whether I will enjoy it or not. You will be the first to know.

I must say their D-BOX gaming equipment LOOKS remarkable. It connects through USB to your computer and uses 3 motion actuators and a racecar like seat to bring you into the action. I think if you combined this with nVidia's 3D Vision (more on this cool tech very soon) and perhaps even TRACK IR, the immersive factor would be mind blowing. Seriously mind blowing.

One thing is certain though: Change. The evolution of Hollywood will continue long past 3D and you can count on MarketSaw to be on the leading edge with you. We will NEVER sit on our hands while a cinematic revolution is taking place (like some sites I know now with 3D!) and will always be showing you exciting developments. Like D-BOX. Check out their theatrical motion seats below...

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Jim Dorey
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