Beyond the Lens! is an interactive, family-friendly attraction where technology and entertainment collide for "Techno-Tainment". With locations in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Branson, Missouri, its attractions are designed to immerse guests in unique experiences and technology, including augmented reality games, virtual reality, and a ‘human kaleidoscope’ – a 20-foot long sensory experience – the perfect backdrop for an Instagram post or story.
Branson, Missouri is in the Ozark Mountains, and is a popular destination for vacationers. 76 Country Boulevard, which runs through Branson, is known for its range of attractions. Amongst the excitement is Beyond the Lens!, which recently upgraded an existing theater to a FlyRide® immersive attraction.
The new FlyRide takes guests on a cinematic, flying adventure above more than twenty of America’s national landmarks, complete with full motion seats, wind, and scents. FlyRide was designed and installed by SimEx-Iwerks, which specializes in branded cinematic experiences, including FlyRide flying theaters, 4D theaters and motion rides, with over 300 sites and locations worldwide.
The FlyRide accommodates 40 guests, and once they’re buckled into their seats, the doors open and riders surge forward revealing a 4-story curved screen that creates the illusion of flying. To help create this illusion, SimEx-Iwerks selected four Christie® Crimson 25,000 lumen 3DLP® laser projectors.
“The screen is unique to this FlyRide,” says Brian Ferguson, senior vice-president, Technology and Operations, SimEx-Iwerks, “It is a single, curved soft screen. An important part of a flying attraction is that guests have the image below them, and the sense that they are elevated. Dome screens are expensive, so we came up with the concept of a single curve – and curving it vertically.” He notes that, “Because of the location of the guests and the screen, we required four projectors to blend the image properly.”
Christie Crimson projectors are designed to meet the specific demands of large venues and high-usage environments. They feature built-in Christie Twist® for warping and blending to easily create and maintain a perfectly blended, seamless image, and BoldColor Technology for enhanced color and saturation.
Doug Wildeboer, A/V engineering manager, SimEx-Iwerks, adds, “The screen surface is close to the viewer to create a fully immersive scenario. It’s almost like you’re sitting in the sixth row of a movie theater with the screen all around you. It was critical that the pixels are clear, and the blending is good.” As guests soar over National landmarks and dip into whitewater rafting, the seats move in time with the content on the screen, dipping, turning and soaring, completing the immersive experience.
While COVID-19 caused delays with installation, the installation was completed without issue. “We had Christie support on-site,” says Wildeboer. “The project came together as we expected.” Wildeboer also notes the close partnership with Christie, which ensures a successful project: “It’s not just that Christie has acted as a supplier for us, but as a partner in the project. Through inception, design and implementation, Christie walks with us, and partners with our other partners to make a phenomenal product. That’s one of the big draws for us.”
With plans to open a second FlyRide at Beyond the Lens! in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, it’s evident that the new attraction has been a hit.