Blooloop’s latest Innovation Session, presented in partnership with Barco, looked at trends and insights for theme parks and immersive dark rides. Barco also launched two new projectors, the XDM and XDX.
Richard Marples and Koen Van Belle from Barco were joined by Oliver Cully, CEO and Founder of Scallywag Entertainment and Thomas Gellermann, Head of Special Projects at Kraftwerk Living Technologies.
Oliver spoke about the results of a survey that Barco commissioned to explore trends in LBE and Barco’s position in the projection market.
Scallywag surveyed Directors at companies within the LBE market, from aquariums to FECs to ride suppliers from around the world. They identified several trends for AV experiences. These included cutting-edge technology, that can be remotely maintained and easily adapted.
After the COVID pandemic, smaller groups, touchless technology and no queuing were trends that many companies were experiencing.
No trend that was identified was solely related to the pandemic. For example, touchless technology was already happening, but COVID accelerated it. Although there is now more willingness from guests to touch and interact again, the convenient improvements made with touchless technology, for example, are still in place.
Oliver emphasised that the outlook for dark rides and digital attractions is positive. Media remains a key part of attractions.
Technology in themed entertainment
Thomas then explored what type of technology is important in the themed entertainment industry and why it is important.
For Thomas, technology is vital in bringing people back to the theme park time and time again. However, the technology needs to work with a good story. You must start with the story and then find the right media to tell that story.
It is also important for the audience to be immersed in the experience. Hyper-reality and photorealism is also extremely important as it has to be believable for the audience.
When using a projector, the resolution and colour reproduction is very important in making the attraction believable. Thomas noted that the audience is already used to a high resolution on consumer devices, and so the attraction must compete at the same level or higher.
He then explained that using 4K Native is extremely important, especially when using large screens; every pixel counts when the audience is so close to a screen.
New Barco projectors
Richard and Koen then introduced the new Barco projectors, the XDM and XDX. The new products have evolved from Barco’s market leading technology in cinema projection, with over 100,000 Barco cinema projectors worldwide.
Koen explained that the needs of the cinema market and the LBE market are very similar. As cinemas have moved away from 35mm film to digital technology, they are looking for operating efficiencies, just like in LBE venues.
The XDM and XDX use RGB and Native 4K technology to increase the overall contrast impression and give more vibrant colours. The new projectors achieve greater than 98% of the rec. 2020 colour space to create striking colours and contrast levels without losing brightness.
The XDM-4K25 and XDX-4K40 are available in 25K and 40K lumens. Koen explained that Barco has been able to limit speckle to ensure uniform images on all screen types. Barco Active Image Management allows for a consistent image quality over time.
The projectors also operate for more than 40,000 hours. This means an operator can count on at least 10 years of cost-effective service lifetime. Furthermore, Koen explained that both models feature the Barco EcoPure technology that has smart power options to produce 10 l/W.
Both projectors have been designed with maintenance and efficiency as key values. For example, Koen said that individual laser plates can be replaced to restore brightness levels. Operators can also choose to use Barco’s Projector Management Suite that allows them to proactively monitor the health of their projectors and plan for maintenance cycles.
Watch the full discussion for free on-demand below:
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