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Mousetrappe’s WWII 4-D giant screen cinematic film “Beyond All Boundaries” was recognized by the Visual Effects Society (VES) with a nomination for a VES Award for “Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project, ” it was announced this week by the VES. The nominees for this award are the film’s Visual Effects Supervisor and Media Designer Daren Ulmer, Lead Compositor Cedar Conner and Visual Effects Producer Susan Beth Smith.
Avatar leads this year’s overall nominations, but other nominees in the feature film category include Star Trek, Transformers 2, District 9, Sherlock Holmes, Angels & Demons, 2012, and Up. Broadcast Television nominations include Battlestar Galactica, Flash Forward, V, CSI, and Lost. James Cameron will be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Ed Catmull (Pixar co-founder and Presdient) is receiving a Pioneering award. Nominees were chosen by various panels made up of VES members and the awards will be voted on by the membership. The awards will be presented on February 28 at a ceremony in Beverly Hills.
“Beyond All Boundaries” is a 4-D cinematic experience that premiered to critical acclaim on November 6th, 2009 in New Orleans, as a permanent installation at The National World War II Museum’s new Solomon Victory Theater. Executive-produced and narrated by actor Tom Hanks, “Beyond All Boundaries” is a 37-minute immersive journey from Pearl Harbor to VJ Day featuring breathtaking effects, rare archival footage and images, CGI animation and multi-layered projection. Executive Producer Tom Hanks, Creative Director Phil Hettema, celebrated historians Donald L. Miller and Hugh Ambrose, and the Museum’s research team came together to create an experience that is emotional, visceral, engaging and, most importantly, historically accurate.
Seating 250, the Solomon Victory Theater features a 120-foot-wide, 30-foot-tall screen that curves nearly 180 degrees around the audience. Images on the screen interact with physical set pieces lifted hydraulically from a pit or dropped down from the 75-foot ceiling. Motion is incorporated into the seats, allowing them to rumble when a tank comes through, or react to explosions. Viewers also experience gentle falling snow along with a lone soldier in the Belgian forest, and see the piercing glare of a searchlight from the concentration camp guard tower.
Media Designer, Daren Ulmer, President and Chief Creative Officer at Mousetrappe, explains, “Normally a screen this size is big enough for 1, 000 to 1, 200 people. There is an intimacy in this theater where this screen is overwhelming, but it’s overwhelming in a way that makes you feel immersed.
“This is a three-dimensional experience, truly, ” he continues. “It’s not about putting glasses on and watching a 3-D film, but you are in a three-dimensional space. We have a big widescreen, but we also have almost as much depth as there is width to the screen.”
In addition to the multi-sensory effects and 3-D set pieces, there are three layers of projection utilizing nine Digital Cinema DLP Projectors across three planes of projection. The main screen alone is presented at a resolution equivalent to “4K” (4, 000 pixels of horizontal resolution) and is actually a scrim screen – a transparent screen that allows the audience to see through it when lit from behind. Video images are also projected on a cyclorama behind the scrim and on three moveable projection panel screens that appear from the orchestra pit at key emotional points in the show.
To tell the story of America’s passage through World War II, the main film features the voices of some of Hollywood’s biggest names, portraying, in their own words, the everyday soldiers and servicemen who fought to preserve America’s and our allies’ freedom as well as the journalists who covered the war.
The film’s director, David Briggs of Mousetrappe explains, “Tom Hanks gave us an offer we couldn’t refuse. He said, ’Why don’t you come up with a wish list of who you would like to have voice the speaking parts of the main show?’ And we ended up with an all-star cast that includes internationally-recognized actors such as Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Garner, John Goodman, Emile Hirsch, Tobey Maguire, Brad Pitt, James Cromwell, Gary Sinise, Elijah Wood and many others.”
“Beyond All Boundaries” is executive produced and narrated by Tom Hanks. Phil Hettema, President and Creative Executive, The Hettema Group, served as Show Producer and Creative Director and led the project’s concept, design and production. The film is produced by Mousetrappe and was directed by David Briggs and media designed by Daren Ulmer.
Pasadena, California based Mousetrappe provides Media Creative, Design, Production and Installation services to experiential design and production firms for attractions, shows, and exhibits. Mousetrappe’s team are recognized leaders in designing and producing video and other media in large screen, multi-screen, synchronized, 3D, and non-standard playback aspects and formats. Mousetrappe has produced, creative directed, and designed media for major shows and attractions at Disney Theme Parks worldwide, all Universal Studios parks, Busch Entertainment properties, major resort/casinos, and for museums such as MSI in Chicago and the National WIII Museum in New Orleans. www.mousetrappe.com
Images: kind permission Mousetrappe.