Finding Nemo – 3D Theatrical Trailer

After The Lion King 3D did $95 million at the box office, Disney announced that more films would be converted forthwith. First was Beauty & The Beast, which pulled in a respectable $47 million, and up next is Pixar’s Finding Nemo. A new theatrical trailer… Read More »Finding Nemo – 3D Theatrical Trailer

Virtual Reality, just one of Imagineering’s many story telling tools

This article should really be titled ‘Walt Disney Imagineering builds Star Trek Holodeck and refuses to share it with anybody.’ For a few years now WDI has used a Digital Immersive Showroom (aka The DISH) to assist in developing attractions, buildings, and even whole lands to make sure all the story details are right even before the first coat of paint is applied.

The DISH involves ultra high definition display walls combined with high precision motion capture systems and a system of goggles you wear to give you an overlay effect on the environment. Haptic feedback, markup and notation is also possible.

If you listen carefully, you can hear Imagineer Dr. Mark Mine mention that The DISH uses CAVE technology. That is the same technology that 12+ years ago Tony Baxter was rumored to be developing a new type of theme park with a virtual reality holodeck at its core. Alas, the technology wasn’t quite there yet at the turn of the millennium. I wonder if WDI considers it there now. It looks like it as Mine is now the head of the Creative Technology Group, charged with creating more uses for these technologies.

If you look at this video you can see the practical applications for simulation testing. Indeed WDI works with a number of military scale simulation technologies similar to The DISH and Central Florida is the center of the simulation industry. Can you conceive of an attraction that would use this technology to tell a story and complete the ride experience?

Anyone who wants to work for Walt Disney Imagineering could do worse that follow Mark Mine’s path. In 1997 he published a dissertation on what it means to work in a virtual world. “Exploiting Proprioception in Virtual-Environment Interaction” is not lite reading, to say the least, but it is a fascinating look at the state of the art 15 years ago.

More about Mark Mine:

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The Avengers – Featurette

The Avengers - Marvel

While I was on board the Disney Fantasy, I saw a terrific 3D trailer for The Avengers. Afterward, I was the most excited I’ve ever been to see the movie. The 3D was fantastic, the villains actually seem capable of putting our heroes in peril and the heroes still manage to look and act cool. Everything I want in a superhero movie.

That said, a few of you may need some additional convincing.

To help with that Marvel has released a new featurette that includes interviews director Joss Whedon and some of the film’s producers.

“What we’re doing here is completely unprecedented,” Whedon says. “Marvel is taking the characters that they’re putting in their movies and bringing them all together in a team franchise movie experience, which really has never been done before.”

That trailer, if you haven’t seen it, is below the cut:

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Universal Orlando Makes Big Improvements on Upgraded Spider-Man Attraction

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Long one of the favorite attractions in Orlando, the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, languished at the woefully under attended Islands of Adventure (IOA) theme park. However, thanks to some deft wand work from Harry Potter, IOA is seeing huge crowds and money for attraction upgrades seems to be flowing.

Spider-Man has just returned from a short down period where they installed a number of upgrades. But the biggest, and most spectacular, is the new High Definition 3D Projection and accompanying new animation. The attraction relies giant screens and a mix of real world sets to make the each guest feel like they’re in the movie with the web-slinger as he saves you from an assortment of baddies.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

The attraction still suffers from its abrupt start and sometimes out of sync special effects, but all in all it remains one of Orlando’s best and, with these revisions, might again vie for best attraction overall (it’s close cousin Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is tough competition).

Of course, there remains the oddity that Disney now owns the Marvel brand, and yet Universal Orlando has the rights to 12 or so of the main Marvel characters in Orlando. It seems obvious Univeral has no intention of letting Disney get back these rights anytime soon. But I have to wonder if Disney’s lawyers aren’t working ferociously somewhere to route around that.

A very short ceremony was held to mark the attractions return to operations.

As they reanimated the attraction film, the creative team added hundreds of new details and effects.  Guests will see moss swaying in the wind, rats scurrying through the streets and hear electricity arching so close it will raise the hair on the back of their necks.  And for the first time ever, Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee will make a cameo appearance inside the attraction.  Lee was meticulously animated in 3-D and placed in more than one scene inside the new animation.

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Stan Lee talks The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

As you read this I’m probably at Islands of Adventure in Universal Orlando Resort getting to experience the rejuvenated hi-def version of The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. But one man, a man very close to Spider-Man, has already seen the work done on the attraction… Read More »Stan Lee talks The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Universal Orlando set to Re-Open March 8th with New High Def 3-D Film

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is set re-open on Thursday, March 8 at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure. The attraction has received some major upgrades including all-new stunning 4K digital high-definition animation, a new musical score and all-new 3-D “Spider-Vision” glasses. This is one of… Read More »Universal Orlando set to Re-Open March 8th with New High Def 3-D Film