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Audiovisual technology: Tejix and New 4D Theaters for Walibi parks

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The Walibi name, and it’s orange kangaroo mascot, is well known and appreciated by the public, particularly in Belgium and the Netherlands.

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Modernizing the brand image, primarily with the aim of attracting a more adult audience, was therefore something that had to be handled delicately.

The creative department of Compagnie des Alpes, the owner of the park, worked with a team of designers to devise a new visual and sound environment where different characters team up with a new, revamped version of the Walibi mascot: The WAB, the band in which he stars, and those of the enemy band, the "skunks" led by Walibi’s brother.

The parks have played on the contrast between the two groups by creating "Wab" and "skunk" areas, each with different colors and moods. Visitors can meet the new characters in the parks and see them performing in live shows.

A 4D movie, specially produced by Cube, a French production company, was introduced in three of the four Walibi parks. Tejix undertook the design and installation of the three attractions. Two of them, Walibi Aquitaine and Walibi Rhone-Alpes, are ab initio creations; the third attraction in Walibi Belgium is a retrofit of an existing 4D Theater. "The biggest technical challenge was Walabi Belgium where the existing systems had to be modernized and simplified so that the audio and video quality met our standards, " said Henry Corrado from Tejix.

After the Walibi Belgium upgrade, all theaters are based on Alcorn McBride Show Control and AV players, MediaMatrix audio processors, JBL speakers and Christie projectors. "All our designs are based on a concept which we know is reliable and provides outstanding audio and video performance. Moreover, this approach is consistent with the other 4D Theaters we have already installed for the Compagnie des Alpes, such as Bellewarde or Parc Asterix " adds Henry Corrado.

For Tejix, simultaneously building three identical attractions was a first, and a real challenge. Installation teams circulated between parks to complete the different installation phases on time. The final mix of the attraction’s thundering soundtrack was made in the theater. "The acoustic environment of these attractions is often quite different from that of a movie theater: the reverberation time is often longer, and the sounds generated by special effects must be masked by the soundtrack" commented Henry Corrado. Thierry Henriotte, the chief sound engineer, fully integrated these constraints in his work. The result is powerful, without being aggressive, and always perfectly intelligible.

Tejix’s FX Programmers worked on the integration of special effects with film director Remi Chapoteau Frank Ruisch, who oversaw the special effects programming, explains: " the programmers often tend to go overboard with special effects. The story can be polluted, and "mauvais gout" is never far away. We prefer focusing on parts of the film where the special effects enhance the story”

An interesting aspect of the project was to deliver the same attraction to park members of the same group, but each with its own operational habits.  "Understanding these nuances and adapting to them is really interesting, " Henry Corrado tells us "This helps us to understand the perception of parks, and we are proud to know that operators fully appropriate our work."

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