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Europe’s largest interactive 3D cinema, a trip to the seaside, modern versions of classic stories and interactive upgrades are among the latest 3D innovations, as we report

Blackpool Tower’s new 4D fi lm takes visitors on a trip around the British resort and includes bird’s eye views of the tower at sunset SHARP COOKIES

after a £20m (22.9m, $31.6m) refur- bishment. The iconic UK attraction now features a 4D theatre built by Kraftwerk, featuring Sharp Cookie’s 4D fi lm, complete with large screen 3D visuals, 7.1 surround sound, and physical effects, including snow, rain, wind, smell and a vibrating fl oor. Merlin Entertainments Group, which


owns the tower (see interview with CEO Nick Varney on p22), had a specifi c vision for the fi lm, which visitors watch before taking a fl ight on the observation wheel the Blackpool Eye. “The brief was to create a sophisticated, fun 4D fi lm that captures the essence of Blackpool and the northern coastline through aerial views and creative storytelling,” says Merlin’s creative director

harp Cookies has created a 4D experience for Blackpool Tower, which reopened on 1st September

and project designer for the tower, Craig Sciba. “We wanted to take the success of the London Eye 4D fi lm and build on it to create an enhanced 4D visitor experience.” The resulting 4D fi lm, which visitors can

experience when they reach the top of the tower, was based around a theme of fl ight – linking the fi lm to the views from the top of the tower, which have been enhanced by the addition of SkyWalk, a fl oor-to-ceiling glass observation platform which was fi tted during the recent renovations. The story takes the audience through

the sights of Blackpool, centring around the narrative of a fl ight-obsessed boy who comes to Blackpool on a day trip with his family. Key 3D moments are scripted into the story, such as the opening sequence, which shows the camera falling into the top of the tower from the sky and the tower jut- ting straight out into the audience in 3D.

Sharp Cookies faced a number of chal-

lenges in producing the fi lm, according to director Michael Hall. “Being second only to Disney in size worldwide, Merlin’s expec- tation for quality is beyond negotiation. Apart from the underlying challenge of cre- ating a piece of world-class entertainment, the refurbishment works being carried out in Blackpool meant that we couldn’t fi lm the tower, the building it rises from, the promenade or the trams, as they were all covered in scaffolding or being re-mod- elled,” he says. “Also, we couldn’t rely on the weather until much later in the year and our delivery deadline was August 2011. “The team dealt with these challenges

by fi lming some scenes at a green screen shoot in London, and using CGI to create the parts of the tower and promenade we couldn’t access,” he says. “For example, the characters of the boy and his family couldn’t be fi lmed on SkyWalk, as it hadn’t been completed. Instead, the actors were fi lmed against a green screen, and the SkyWalk scenery added afterwards in CGI. To get views of Blackpool unaffected by

poor weather, the team scheduled their aerial sequences, involving a 3D stereo rig attached to a helicopter, for summer. The shoot took place just a short time before the public re-opening of the tower. The fi nal fi lm has a historical sequence

The fi lm includes a historical sequence about how Blackpool Tower was built 70 Read Attractions Management online

on how the tower was built. A “time warp” dance sequence fi lmed at the tower shows dancers from the 1920s through the war years to the present day. It also shows jug- glers, clowns, acrobats and trapeze artists performing at the Blackpool Tower Circus.

AM 4 2011 ©cybertrek 2011

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